Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Organic Cajun!?!

      On first blush, "organic" and "cajun" in the same sentence feels a bit oxymoron-ish and to some it likely borders on heresy...but I have been in the mood for going back to my roots today -not to mention several folks clamoring for a good ol' recipe remade... so here goes!
      I've said previously- I am a cajun girl whose culinary heritage, albeit tasty, is frocked with delectable dishes that merit no health benefit whatsoever, but they hold such a strong place in my heart that I have decided to revisit them from my new perspective.
     The hard part about the cajun tradition is the "tool box" itself! The ingredients column of the most beloved recipes read like the "foods to avoid list" in every "How to do Healthy" nutrition book around. Case in point-pork & shellfish...both of which are staples in the good Cajun's diet but, are classified as "bottom feeders" on the healthy nutrition scale- biblically deemed as "unclean" and known to be the trash collectors of land and sea and even if they were to be farmed or cultivated in a "clean" manner -they are being fed grain in that process -which is not what they were created to eat and that turns toxic in their systems and in turn rancid in ours - NOT GOOD!
     That being said, I will ask the tried and true to bare with me -this is an evolutionary culinary feat and a process at that...some substitutions and alterations have been made but, I think the end result will be pleasing and even be the judge!

Here is the step by step:

Organic Chicken & Okra Gumbo
From Kristi's Kitchen

Every good gumbo starts out with a roux (pronounced roo as in Kanga)
Roux is a combination of oil and flour that is cooked in a cast iron skillet or pot until a rich peanut butter color is achieved. Traditionally, it is vegetable oil and AP flour that make up this combination -both of which are ABSOLUTELY NOTs in healthy nutrition so, we will substitute fresh milled whole soft wheat flour and grapeseed oil...these do the job very nicely and there is no flavor profile difference at all!


3/4 c. grapeseed oil
1 1/4 c. fresh milled soft whole wheat flour (sprouted is best)

-Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet
-Slowly whisk flour into hot oil
-Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture turns a nice rich peanut butter color (about 15-20 minutes)

Whatever you do -DO NOT walk away from this and DON'T stop stirring -commit the time and it will turn out beautifully! This step can be done several days in advance -it keeps fantastically in the refrigerator...this recipe makes about 3/4 cup of roux


Combine 1 medium onion, 1/2 organic green bell pepper, 2 organic celery stalks, and 2 green onions in a food processor and process until minced (this is the "Trinity" -the center piece of all cajun recipes)

Place minced veggies in a large dutch oven or 6-8 quart pot with 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil and 1/2 -1 c. fresh or frozen chopped okra.

Stew veggies down until they are translucent and okra is tender and broken down a bit...

At this point add in 1/4 c. + 1 tbsp. of your roux and stir into your cooked veggies


2 quarts organic chicken stock
1 tbsp. creole seasoning mix (my favorite is John Besh's combination -see link below)
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried basil
2 1/4 tsp. sea salt (depending on your stock and your taste you may need a bit less or more so start out with one teaspoon and add up in small increments)

Taste for seasoning and adjust at this point...

Once seasoned to your liking, stir in 1 1/2 lb. of bone-in organic chicken (I like dark meat here -I typically use legs but, it would work just as well with breast meat)

Simmer for 20-30 minutes on medium-low heat; until chicken is falling of the bone
Remove the bones, taste for seasoning-adjust if needed and serve over a small scoop of brown rice, YES- I said brown (and I'm not talking about dirty!)

SIDE NOTE: white rice is the traditional side of just about every cajun meal, so to ask a true blooded cajun to deviate to brown rice... well, is like putting "Organic" and "Cajun" in the same sentence!


If this cajun can do it -you can too, Sha!

Let me know what you think and if anyone has a source for ORGANIC BEEF andouille style sausage please let me know...

Happy Eating!

John Besh's Creole Seasoning Spice Blend:

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