Thursday, February 1, 2007

Where to find good andouille

So I spent some time in Cajun country last year (one week in July and one week in Oct helping w/ Katrina recovery). I fell in love with the Gulf Coast. It's in terrible shape and the recovery will be slow so everyone should go help out!

Anyway, the food down there was fantastic. I'd never had crawfish etouffee until I went down there. I also saw shrimp the size of small lobsters! Apparently because so few fishermen are back the shrimp is getting huge. I don't know if this is true or not but it sounded like a good story that a fishmonger told me.

Another key ingrediet for Cajun cooking, and even just to buy and cook on the grill, is andouille. I decided to make gumbo for a fundraiser last summer. I needed great, authentic andouille so I turned to the Cajun Grocer at

I bought some traditional andouille from Savoie. I also bought file and Cajun blackening seasoning. File powder is made from sassafrass leaves and is used to thicken soups. It has a distinct flavor that reminds me of bay leaf. I also bought some alligator which I sprinkled w/ blackening seasoning and grilled w/ veggies on skewers.

The alligator was interesting to say the least. It tasted very mild, milder than even chicken breast. The texture was a bit chewier. Handling it raw kind of freaked me out because it was kind of like chicken and kind of like fish but very hard to cut into pieces.

The andouille was slap-your-momma GOOD! It made the gumbo! The flavor is richer, spicier, more flavorful than what passes for andouille outside of Cajun country.

Additionally, the Cajun Grocer people packed the fresh goods in styrofoam freezer boxes and delivered them the next day. Wonderful! One day soon I am going to buy some crawfish in order to make etouffee. I need to work up my courage because I'm a little worried about live crawfish being delivered!


Kristasphere said...

Kelly if you get the chance, go to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April and May. All the authentic local cooks (not the Emeril's of the world) set up booths at the fairgrounds and it is heavenly. You've not lived till you have a Natchitoches meat pie.

Anonymous said... Didn't know if this was a possibility.