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Cajun Cooking Terms

Ever wonder what the terms mean in Cajun cooking? These terms will help you figiure it out

Amandine; (ar-man-deen) - Fish or seafood served with a lemon butter sauce topped with toasted, slivered almonds.

Andouille (ahn-doo-wee) – A lean, spicy, smoked Cajun pork sausage that adds great flavor to several dishes.

Au gratin (oh GROT ten or oh GRAH tan) - A topping for casseroles made with cheesy breadcrumbs that are browned and bubbling.

Beignets - Square, deep fried sweetened dough, that is sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Bisque (bisk) – A rich, thick creamy soup made from seafood, usually made with crawfish or shrimp.

Blackened - Blackening is a method of cooking for normally fish or meat, that is coated with spice and quickly seared in butter in a cast iron skillet to achieve a crunchy coating. Blackened does not mean burned!

Boucherie - Families get together to butcher a calf or a pig and divide the meats among the people who attend. This is normally a big party!

Boudin: (boo-dan) A pork sausage casing that is stuffed traditionally with pork, rice and spices. There are several different types of boudin, including shrimp and crawfish.

Boulettes (boo-lets) – Ground seafood, usually fish, crawfish, or shrimp, mixed with seasonings and breadcrumbs, then deep-fried in oil.

Bread Pudding: A New Orleans dessert, normally made from day old French bread. Just break up the bread, soak it in custard, and bake until golden brown. Normally served with whiskey sauce.

Ça c'est bon! (SAH-say-bohn) – That's so good!

Cafe au Lait: (caf-ay-oh-ley) A strong coffee made with hot milk or cream, and chicory coffee.

Cane Syrup: A rich sweet syrup extracted from Sugar Cane. It wonderful on pancakes and waffles, and it's one of the main ingredient in Louisiana style pecan pie and lots of other Southern favorites.

Cayenne (ky-yen): A hot pepper that is dried and used to season many Louisiana dishes. A little goes a long way.

Chaurice (sha REESE) is a spicy South Louisiana sausage used often in gumbo and other dishes seeking a depth of flavor and heat.

Chicory: Herb that is ground, roasted and used to in many New Orleans coffee's.

Cochon de Lait: (coo-shon duh lay) An event where a suckling pig is roasted over a blistering hickory fire until the inside is tender and juicy and the outside brittle as well-cooked bacon. Often, Cajun's make a party out of this.

Couche-Couche (koosh-koosh) – Fried cornmeal topped with milk, coffee milk or cane syrup. A traditional Louisiana breakfast.

Courtbouillon (coo-boo-yon) – A spicy Louisiana stew made with fish, tomatoes, onions and vegetables, and typically thickened with roux.

Crawfish: Small, tasty freshwater crustaceans, locally known as "crawdads" or "mudbugs". They are used in crawfish boils and also in gumbo and etouffee.

Crème Brûlée: (French for "burnt cream") A rich custard dessert that is topped with a layer of hard caramel, created by burning sugar.  Normally served cold in individual ramekins. The custard base is normally flavored with just vanilla, but you can add chocolate, liqueur, fruit, etc. to enhance the flavor. The hardened sugar on top can caramelized by igniting a layer of liqueur sprinkled over the top.

Creole Mustard: Spicy version of mustard made with select mustard seeds that are marinated before processing.

Debris (day-bree) Gravy– A delicious gravy made up of the bits of roast beef and char in the bottom of the pan when cooking a beef roast.

Deglaze or Déglacer (dee-glace) Deglaze-ing is the term for pouring wine into the bottom of a pan after sautéing, stirring to get the bits and pieces that are left, greatly improving the flavor of the sauce.

Dirty Rice - Rice dish sautéed with green peppers, onions, celery and different type meats. Normally made with liver, which makes the rice a brown color. That is where the name dirty rice came from.

Dressing: In Louisiana, dressing is a lot like what others call stuffing, or a side dish for a meal.

Dressed A po’boy or hamburger served with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. Roast beef po'boys normally come with debris gravy, especially in New Orleans.

Étouffée (eh-too-FAY) A French word for smothered. It is a spicy Cajun stew prepared with normally shrimp or crawfish, and served over rice. Filé (FEE-lay) - Ground sassafras leaves used to season and thicken gumbo. Normally passed around the table so each person can add it to their own dish to their own taste.

Fricasee (FREAK-ah-say) A style of preparing a type of stew by browning seasoned meat. The meat is then removed and a roux is made from the pan drippings. The meat is then added back in the pot and simmered until it is cooked down and tender.

Fried Turkey - Cajun practice of cooking a turkey by seasoning it, and immersing it in hot cooking oil. Be careful when frying a turkey. Most people use peanut oil as it does not burn as easily as other oils.

Gateau de sirop (gat-tow d seer-up) – A ‘syrup cake,’ a moist cake made with cane syrup. Steen's brand syrup is a Cajun favorite.

Gumbo (Gom-bo) – A deep rich Cajun stew often thickened with okra or filé. Gumbo can be made with several types of meat, poultry or seafood.

Gratons (grat-TOHNZ) - Cajun word for cracklin's, which is deep fried pig skins. A lot of folks love to eat these with Boudin and crackers.

Grillades (GRIH-ahdz) - Beef or veal round steak that is simmered in a browned tomato sauce. Normally served over rice or grits. Hush Puppies - A cornbread batter rolled into balls and deep fried. Some people use onions or green onions and seasonings in the cornmeal. Others just like it plain.

Jambalaya (jum-buh-LIE-uh) - A spicy dish made with rice, peppers, onions garlic and celery. Made with meat or seafood, or a combination of any or all.

King Cake - A ring-shaped oval pastry decorated in colored sugar in the traditional Mardi Gras colors purple, green and gold, which represent justice, faith and power. A small oven proof plastic baby, is cooked inside. Traditionally the person who gets the baby, has to make the next King Cake.

Lagniappe (LAN-yap) - A little something extra. Like a meal that is served with a little something extra on the side.

Maque Choux (MOCK-shoo) - A dish of young corn scraped off the cob and smothered in tomatoes, onions, peppers and spices. A very popular dish among Cajuns.

Meunière (MEN-yere) – A French term that means “miller’s wife” . A method of cooking that involves dredging in flour and sautéing in butter, lemon, and herbs.

Mirliton (MEER-lee-tawn) - Also called chayote is a favorite south Louisiana vegetable that is cooked similarly to squash, and can be used in desserts and pastries.

Muffaletta A popular New Orleans French Quarter sandwich, originating in New Orleans. Ham, salami and cheese along with Muffuletta olive salad is stacked inside a round Italian bread. Normally served hot.

Okra (OH-kruh) - An African vegetable used to flavor and thicken gumbo. It can also be eaten fried, boiled, or smothered as a side dish.

Panéed (PA nayed) Simply means a pan sautéed dish, normally thinly sliced chicken, veal or pork with a delicious sauce.

Pain Perdu (pan pare-DOO) - A breakfast dish meaning “lost bread'. Stale bread is used, as it would have been "lost" if thrown away. It is similar to French toast as it is soaked in egg batter, fried and topped with syrup or sugar.

Pistolette (pistol-let) – A small French bread that is cut and the middle scooped out so that it can be filled with crawfish étouffée, or cold cuts such as sliced roast beef with gravy.

Po’boy - (or poor boy), is long French bread usually stuffed with oysters, shrimp or roast beef, although they can be stuffed with other types of meat.

Ponce (pawnce) or Chaudin (show-DAN) - A sausage-stuffed pig’s stomach, made by browning and smothering it in a dark gravy.

Praline (prah-LEEN) - A candy that is made of sugar, cream and pecans, and dropped in spoonful's on wax paper. Can be made plain or can make them with chocolate.

Prayer Beads - Garlic braids that hang in the French Market stalls of New Orleans.

Red Beans and Rice - A New Orleans traditional dish with red kidney beans cooked with seasonings, and the Cajun trinity with sausage and served over rice, traditionally served on Mondays, as Monday's were "wash day" and the beans could simmer for hours.

Remoulade (RAHM-uh-lod) - A cold spicy mayonnaise-based sauce, flavored with herbs, chopped pickles, capers, mustard, parsley, chervile and tarragon. Normally served with shrimp and other seafood.

Roux (ROO) - A flour and oil mixture used in many Louisiana dishes such as gumbos, and bisques.

Sauce Piquante (sos-pee-KAWNT) A tomato based sauce that is made with a roux, deliciously seasoned, and cooked on a very low heat for hours.

Tasso (TAH-so) - Spicy cured pork strips that are used to add flavor to many Louisiana dishes.

Trinity - Celery, onions and bell peppers. Also called the Cajun Holy Trinity by Catholic French Cajuns as a sign of respect. It is the seasoning used primarily in Cajun and Creole dishes.

Turducken (tur-DUH-kin) - A Cajun dish of a seasoned turkey stuffed with a duck that is stuffed with a chicken and dressing.

Ya-ka-mein ('ya k? me) n- A soup found almost exclusively in New Orleans. typically consisting of beef brisket or pork, a hard-boiled egg, green onions and spaghetti noodles.

Yam – Similar to the sweet potato, but usually sweeter. Used to makes pies, and casseroles.

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