Cajun cuisine

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Cajun cuisine (in French: Cuisine Acadienne) is the style of cooking named for the French-speaking Acadian or "Cajun" immigrants deported by the British from Acadia in Canada to the Acadiana region of Louisiana, USA. It is what could be called a rustic cuisine — locally available ingredients predominate, and preparation is simple. An authentic Cajun meal is usually a three-pot affair, with one pot dedicated to the main dish, one dedicated to steamed rice, skillet cornbread, or some other grain dish, and the third containing whatever vegetable is plentiful or available.

The aromatic vegetables bell pepper, onion, and celery are called by some chefs the holy trinity of Creole and Cajun cuisines. Finely diced and combined in cooking, the method is similar to the use of the mire poix in traditional French cuisine — which blends finely diced onion, celery, and carrot. Characteristic seasonings include parsley, bay leaf, green onions, and dried cayenne pepper.

Acadian refugees, who largely came from what is now modern-day New Brunswick and Nova Scotia adapted their French rustic cuisine to local ingredients such as rice, crawfish, sugar cane, and sassafrass. Cajun cuisine heavily relied on game meats supplemented with rice or corn. Other than African and Native American cuisines, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and South Asian Indian culinary influences can also be detected in Cajun food. Another feature of the cuisine was the frequent use of smoked meats. Smoked meats are a common aspect of many Cajun dishes.

  • Barbecueing - similar to "slow and low" Texas barbecue traditions, but with Cajun seasoning.
    • Baking - direct and indirect dry heat in a furnace or oven, faster than smoking but slower than grilling.
    • Grilling - direct heat on a shallow surface, fastest of all variants; sub-variants include:
      • Charbroiling - direct dry heat on a solid surface with wide raised ridges.
      • Gridironing - direct dry heat on a solid or hollow surface with narrow raised ridges.
      • Griddling - direct dry or moist heat along with the use of oils and butter on a flat surface.
    • Braising - combining a direct dry heat charbroil-grill or gridiron-grill with a pot filled with broth for direct moist heat, faster than smoking but slower than regular grilling and baking; time starts fast, slows down, then speeds up again to finish.
  • Boiling - as in boiling of crabs, crawfish, or shrimp, in seasoned liquid.
  • Deep frying
  • Étouffée - cooking a vegetable or meat in its own juices, similar to braising or what in New Orleans is called "smothering".
  • Frying, also known as pan-frying.
  • Injecting - using a large syringe-type setup to place seasoning deep inside large cuts of meat. This technique is much newer than the others on this list, but very common in Cajun Country
  • Stewing, also known as fricassée.

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