Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana by Donald Link and Paula Disbrowe

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Smothered pork roast over rice

    • mamacrumbcake on May 12, 2020

      Really good, and fairly easy. The gravy is delicious and savory. Recipe says lemon juice is optional. Trust me—it isn’t. The lemon juice is necessary to balance the flavors in the gravy, which without it would have been too savory. I have also made this as a weeknight family meal by scaling down to 1/3 of the recipe, cutting the pork into 1 1/2 inch cubes, and simmering on stovetop for an hour. Same savory goodness but in a more manageable size for us.

  • Herbsaint-infused oyster stew with smoked bacon

    • TrishaCP on January 23, 2017

      This was really delicious on a cold night. Nothing else to say except it was great!

  • Crispy soft-shell crab with chili glaze and mint coleslaw

    • thekitchenchronicles on July 25, 2017

      This is a stunningly good recipe and produces a seriously restaurant-quality meal. The crab is crispy and buttery and the coleslaw is a perfect accompaniment- tangy and minty. Really oustanding. Wrote it up here: http://www.thekitchenchronicles.com/2017/07/05/crispy-soft-shell-crab-with-chili-glaze-and-mint-coleslaw/

  • Chicken and rice soup

    • Rutabaga on October 25, 2017

      This is a good soup to make in advance. While not difficult, it is time consuming if you start with roasting your own chicken, then making the stock, and so on. I added the rice when I reheated the otherwise finished soup prior to serving it, but next time wouldn't hesitate to add the rice earlier - I love the way it thickened the leftover soup. Since I didn't have much homemade chicken stock on hand, I added some Glace de Poulet Gold roasted chicken bouillon to the water along with the chicken carcass to make a richer stock. Instead of cremini mushrooms, I used a full pound of thickly sliced white chanterelles. I also left out the oregano simply because I didn't have any. Ultimately, this makes a wonderfully warming, fragrant soup, hearty enough to be a meal when served alongside a slice of rustic bread.

  • Aunt Cynthia's tomato and bacon pie (aka Cajun pizza)

    • Rutabaga on October 27, 2017

      The inclusion of bacon makes this pie pretty tasty. Even made with turkey bacon, it had plenty of crispy goodness. To make my turkey bacon crisper and more "bacony", I pan fry high quality natural turkey bacon at high heat in a thin slick of oil; it makes a surprisingly good substitute for the "real thing". Unfortunately, I misunderstood the directions and only made one tomato layer, followed by layers of cheese and onion. I realized later there should have been multiple tomato layers between the cheese. This would have made the pie a little more substantial. It's a good recipe, but my favorite tomato pie I've made thus far is still the Blue Ribbon pie from the book The Picnic. Maybe I should try adding bacon to that one!

  • German festival ham and white bean stew

    • TrishaCP on May 14, 2018

      I made this to use up several pantry ingredients and it is very good. I used maybe a 1/4 lb of Tasso instead of the pounds of ham called for since I didn't want this to be very meaty. The Tasso gave it great flavor. I used yellow eye beans and they were so pretty in this stew. I quick soaked and then pressure- cooked the stew for 10 minutes and everything was perfectly cooked. I just added the collards in with everything else.

    • Breadcrumbs on March 31, 2015

      p. 104 – A delicious hearty stew. I’d up the chili count next time around as the 1 jalapeno got lost in the shuffle but otherwise this was a wonderful, comforting dish perfect for these never-ending chilly days. The mustard was a wonderful addition and the acid it brought to the mix brightened the dish significantly. Next time I’d remove the portion of the stew I plan to blitz with the Bamix to ensure the otherwise chunky texture of the remaining stew is retained.

  • Broccoli, rice, and cheddar casserole

    • lkgrover on October 18, 2019

      Like Britt, I halved the recipe (in an 8x8 baking pan). I used Link's cream of mushroom soup with cremini mushrooms. This is an excellent "comfort food" side dish, and would be an ideal potluck contribution.

    • britt on April 19, 2011

      This recipe technically calls for Donald Link's cream of mushroom soup, which he gives the recipe for and which I made and thought very good. I halved the recipe except I used 2 qts broccoli florets, which googling suggests is equivalent to 2 heads. We liked the extra broccoli. I needed to add extra salt for it, though. Overall, I liked this pretty well, say 3.5, but my husband loved it, 4.5.

  • My cream of mushroom soup

    • lkgrover on October 18, 2019

      I made this with cremini mushrooms, as part of Link's Broccoli, rice and cheddar casserole. The soup is rich, and the preparation is easy & fast. A strong improvement on the canned version!

  • Super bowl Sunday seafood gumbo

    • Baxter850 on July 24, 2020

      Delicious. The right amount of darkness from the roux. Tasted like roux until added some of the extra stock. It finished perfectly.

  • Fried chicken and andouille gumbo

    • Baxter850 on May 10, 2020

      Delicious. Cooked it the day before serving. Shredded the chicken and removed the bones and skin before serving. Delicious!

  • Chicken sauce piquant

    • mamacrumbcake on May 12, 2020

      I love this dish so much that it’s on regular rotation, even though it’s a bit of work. It is really flavorful and comforting at the same time. (We have to reduce the cayenne by half.) When you add the aromatics to the hot roux, the aroma is intoxicating. We had this last week again, and as I was eating the leftovers, I realized that this is my most favorite thing to eat. Using the combination of boneless breasts and thighs makes it easier.

    • clcorbi on June 30, 2017

      My first use of this book. This is a really nice one-pot recipe that makes a ton of food--book says 4-6 servings, I'd say it's at least 6-8. I really enjoyed the technique of tossing the chicken with the flour and spices, then frying--I've never made a dish like this before! I did find that when I added the remainder of flour to the pan, there was not quite enough oil left to make a smooth roux--I felt guilty adding more oil, but I had to, because the flour was really clumping. I ended up letting the sauce simmer, covered, for 45 min, before uncovering and cooking the sauce down for another 20 min. I think the extra cook time helped the flavors develop, so I'd do that again. I also didn't add any hot sauce while this cooked, because there was so much cayenne in the spice rub, and we both found it plenty spicy. The scallion garnish is necessary here to get some nice, fresh crunch.

  • Old-school chicken and sausage jambalaya

    • mamacrumbcake on November 13, 2020

      Delicious (but time consuming). I love how the layers of flavor are built into this jambalaya. You really have to take your time to brown the sausages and then the onions but it’s worth it. I used a rotisserie chicken from Costco, a nice shortcut. Next time, I would bring the stock up to a simmer before adding it to the rice—otherwise it takes a long time to get it hot enough to cook the rice. This recipe makes a ton of food. It would be perfect for a party.

  • Garden lettuces with scallion-buttermilk dressing

    • britt on January 27, 2011

      I've made this several times and think it is delicious. It keeps about 3 days. It doesn't spoil then, but it becomes noticeably less delicious.

  • Fully loaded twice-baked potatoes

    • britt on January 28, 2011

      My husband loved these. He declared that they were the best twice-baked potatoes he's ever eaten. I don't share the Mr.'s extreme enthusiasm, but I agree that these are good.

  • Strawberries with cornmeal shortcakes and fresh whipped cream

    • Rutabaga on June 10, 2017

      The cornmeal in these shortcakes gives them an interesting sandy texture that contrasts nicely with the berries and whipped cream, but ultimately they are a little too sweet for me. Even with only lightly sweetened berries and whipped cream, I would decrease the sugar in the shortcakes by about a third.

  • Blueberry ice cream

    • PinchOfSalt on August 28, 2014

      Warning: This recipe makes about twice the amount stated - more than three quarts of ice cream. Think about it. Just the liquid ingredients (cream, milk, condensed milk, egg and egg yolks) add up to more than a quart and a half. Then there's the three pints of blueberries. This poor editing makes me wary of other recipes in this book. The ice cream itself is okay - good texture, not too sweet - but not spectacular. One note about preparation: I pureed the blueberries in my Vitamix. It did such a good job that straining them really didn't do anything to remove skins. So, skip the straining step if you do likewise. (I also discovered that if you puree blueberries in a Vitamix and let it sit for more than a minute or so the liquid turns into a gel. Very interesting!)

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Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • ISBN 10 0307395812
  • ISBN 13 9780307395818
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Apr 21 2009
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 256
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Random House
  • Imprint Clarkson Potter

Publishers Text

An untamed region teeming with snakes, alligators, and snapping turtles, with sausage and cracklins sold at every gas station, Cajun Country is a world unto itself. The heart of this area--the Acadiana region of Louisiana--is a tough land that funnels its spirit into the local cuisine. You can't find more delicious, rustic, and satisfying country cooking than the dirty rice, spicy sausage, and fresh crawfish that this area is known for. It takes a homegrown guide to show us around the back roads of this particularly unique region, and in Real Cajun, James Beard Award - winning chef Donald Link shares his own rough-and-tumble stories of living, cooking, and eating in Cajun Country.

Link takes us on an expedition to the swamps and smokehouses and the music festivals, funerals, and holiday celebrations, but, more important, reveals the fish fries, étouffées, and pots of Granny's seafood gumbo that always accompany them. The food now famous at Link's New Orleans - based restaurants, Cochon and Herbsaint, has roots in the family dishes and traditions that he shares in this book. You'll find recipes for Seafood Gumbo, Smothered Pork Roast over Rice, Baked Oysters with Herbsaint Hollandaise, Louisiana Crawfish Boudin, quick and easy Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits with Fig-Ginger Preserves, Bourbon-Soaked Bread Pudding with White and Dark Chocolate, and Blueberry Ice Cream made with fresh summer berries. Link throws in a few lagniappes to give you an idea of life in the bayou, such as strategies for a great trip to Jazz Fest, a what-not-to-do instructional on catching turtles, and all you ever (or never) wanted to know about boudin sausage. Colorful personal essays enrich every recipe and introduce his grandfather and friends as they fish, shrimp, hunt, and dance.

From the backyards where crawfish boils reign as the greatest of outdoor events to the white tablecloths of Link's famed restaurants, Real Cajun takes you on a rollicking and inspiring tour of this wild part of America and shares the soulful recipes that capture its irrepressible spirit.



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