It’s Cold! Favorite Cajun Foods When The Temps Drop
The best thing about cold weather in south Louisiana is the food! Gumbo is the go-to favorite, but that's just the beginning. We Cajuns know a lot, and we know even more about what tastes good and warms us up when the temps drop.
Of course, it has to be number one! At my house, we eat the roux-based pot of deliciousness year round. But my husband knows that the first time the nightly low dips under 60 degrees, he's getting chicken and sausage gumbo. For those of you who aren't from around here, there are no tomatoes in a Cajun gumbo. I prefer no okra. My husband loves it. Serve it with potato salad, and step out of the way. The only thing we argue about is who makes it better.
Disclaimer: If you aren't from South Louisiana (and I mean west of Baton Rouge and south of Alexandria), not all gumbos are the same and not all Louisiana gumbos are the same. The recipe at the top is one for south central and southwest Louisiana, a Cajun gumbo.
Brown four or five pound of ground meat or cubed beef, add some Rotel tomatoes, a little tomato sauce, and some chili seasoning. I like kidney beans, too. I've even used ground beef, pork, turkey, chicken, deer, or a combination of any of these. Let that simmer for a long while, then throw some shredded sharp cheddar on top. If you'd like, add a dollop of sour cream. I like mine with either crackers or Fritos. Heck! I'm hungry just writing about it. A delicious bowl of chili warms a body up just right.
You start by browning your beef stew meat and then add whatever veggies you choose! I, personally, add stewed tomatoes, green beans, corn, and carrots. I even throw in some cabbage. Of course, it includes the "Cajun Trinity" of onions, bell peppers, and celery. Throw in some tomato sauce. The great thing about vegetable soup is that you can add whatever veggies you want! The end result is delicious and always warm. Isn't that the point?
I owe this idea to a dear family friend. I must admit that I only knew chicken noodle soup from a can until a few years ago. He treated us to his version once when I was sick, and I'll never go back to canned again. And it's so easy! All it takes is cubed chicken (white or dark meat or both), chicken stock, wide egg noodles, onions, and carrots. If you don't like the carrots, you can certainly leave them out. Season to taste and voila! It's simply amazing.
Although my family enjoys this dish year-round, I find myself cooking it more in the colder months because it's more of a stick-to-your-ribs meal that leaves you feeling very warm and cozy. It's a dish my Cajun grandmother cooked often, although mine never tastes as good as hers ever did. You simply brown the sausage with the onions, then throw in cubed potatoes and cover with water. Let it all simmer together. Season to taste, of course. Allow those potatoes to get nice and soft, almost to the point where you could mash them. Make sure the "gravy" isn't too thick. You may need to add some water. You can ladle it into a bowl like a soup or serve it over rice. Either way, it is delicious!