The Acadians were descendants of French settlers that resided in North America from the 1600’s. Mostly they emigrated from the west part of France and settled in a part of Nova Scotia which was then called Acadie. They lived, farmed and raised livestock and brought their unique culture to this New World.
These Acadians moved on from Nova Scotia and settled in other areas with the Joie de Vie look on a very difficult way of life. It is said that the definition of a true Cajun is close to that of the early Acadians, and it is somebody who celebrates life through the culture of music, dancing and hard work. Cajun people love friendship and the community spirit and keep their beliefs true to their historical past. The many food and music festivals in Louisiana are a testament to how strong the Cajun culture still is and how much its people value it.
Depending on where you are in Louisiana, Cajun food is varied in its ingredients and style. New Orleans city Cajun dishes will be slightly different to those found in rural swamp areas where local produce is caught and used. Some of the most favorite Cajun dishes in New Orleans are: Boudin, Gumbo, Dirty Rice, Jambalaya, Crawfish Boil, Blackened Fish and Crawfish Etouffee.
Everybody loves sausages, and one of the joys of traveling is to sample regional sausages from different countries. And in the past, before refrigeration, Cajun’s loved to slaughter a whole hog and every piece of the animal would be consumed. Boudin sausage was created during one such boucherie as a way of preserving the meat. It is made with the pork, salad onions, parsley and rice. It is usually served in a traditional manner, but can be in deep fried balls.
The classic Cajun Gumbo has a history that dates back to the slaves of the 18th Century. It also has many classic French cooking techniques such as using a roux of flour and bacon fat to flavor and thicken this hearty stew. There are so many different ways of making this complicated pot of goodness that it is impossible to describe, let’s just say that normally it is laden with shellfish, oysters, shrimp, and sometimes andouille sausage and chicken.
Another one pot sensation of Cajun blissfulness that differs greatly from the Creole dish of the same name. You will not find any tomatoes in a Cajun Jambalaya, just a delicious stew using disregarded ingredients. Some form of browned meat forms the base (rabbit, alligator, shrimp, chicken) and then the holy trinity of onion, celery and green peppers. To the pot, stock is added with a generous heap of spices. Quite often rice is also included later in the cooking, but it can also be served on the side.
These dishes are all delicious and they can change where you decide to eat them. A fancy restaurant in New Orleans may serve you a Jambalaya using many elite ingredients, whereas a pot of Jambalaya in the rural countryside may be little more than a stew of leftovers with rabbit. Nevertheless, both will taste absolutely magnificent.