South Louisiana is known for producing some really interesting and absolutely delicious food products. And while most of us New Orleanians are quick to try just about anything put in front of us, people outside the area are not so eager. Moving to North Georgia and entertaining new friends was a testament to that. But although guarded, my new buddies were genuinely interested in and enamored by our food and food culture. They just didn’t know how the heck to cook or eat half of it! Through years of entertaining New Orleans style, we’ve enjoyed teaching our “Georgia Peaches” how to suck heads and pinch tails (of boiled crawfish), bite and pull succulently stuffed leaves from whole artichokes and rip into deep fried turkeys as soon as they’re yanked out from vats of hot oil.
Last year during a Saints party, I decided it was time to acquaint them with boudin. I just had to come up with an enticing way to prepare it. For the uninitiated, boudin is a deliciously rustic Cajun sausage made of highly seasoned pork and rice. It can be found at just about every restaurant, convenience store and gas station in Acadiana (coastal Louisiana running just west of New Orleans to the Texas border). It’s also widely available in many New Orleans grocery stores. The links are traditionally poached and eaten by pulling the filling out of the casing with your teeth. While it tastes delicious cooked that way, it’s not visually or texturally appealing (especially the milky white casings–which no one eats poached). In order to win over my crowd of cautious eaters, I decided to borrow a trick from my brother-in-law Armand and roast the boudin in the oven until the skin turned crispy brown and inviting. I also thought it would be more appealing if I offered something to dip the roasted links in. Since I had the ingredients on hand, I ended up making the sweet and tangy sauce I serve with my Cajun Egg Rolls. I’m proud to say that my house full of non-Louisianians polished off three pounds of Oven Roasted Boudin before halftime!
One day, I hope to develop my own recipe for boudin. But until I find the time, patience, gizmos and gadgets to make that happen, I’ll continue to the enjoy the flavors and convenience of Cajun Country’s best by having it delivered straight to my door. Fortunately for all of us, there are plenty of South Louisiana markets that will ship their wonderful products. A couple worth considering are Jacob’s (I’ve mentioned them before on the andouille front) and Poche’s.
And finally, for today’s boozy accompaniment? Well, … it’s been said that a Cajun’s seven course meal consists of a pound of boudin and a six-pack of beer. If that’s true, then the hubby and I should have no problem immersing ourselves in Cajun culture this evening. We’ll enjoy our own seven course meal on this Finger Food Friday with a pound of Oven Roasted Boudin, three Miller Lites (for him) and three Abita Turbo Dogs (for me). Can’t wait!
Until next week …
Oven Roasted Boudin Recipe
1 pound boudin
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place boudin on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil; rub evenly with olive oil. Bake uncovered, until skin becomes crispy and brown, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Using a serrated knife, slice links into 1-inch rounds. Serve with Sweet and Tangy Dipping Sauce on the side. Makes 4-6 appetizer servings.
Sweet and Tangy Dipping Sauce Recipe
1 12-ounce jar orange marmalade
4 tablespoons Creole or brown, grainy mustard
4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Combine ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Recipe for sauce adapted from Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen.