Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana
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.
Top-notch coverage of the culture and basic recipes behind Cajun cooking.
By phu - May 16, 2009
My sister wanted "a gumbo cookbook;" knowing a few things about Cajun/Creole cooking, I figured I could cover that one.
Visiting a bookstore, I spent a good 20 minutes reading a lot of the recipes and some of the commentary... and I was severely impressed. It makes plain the point that Cajun cooking is far from pretentious, and suggests certain types of paprika and other spices with the assurance that whatever says "paprika" in the grocery store will work fine. There's a lot of very practical advice on basic ideas like roux (and some reasoning for using butter in some cases and oil in others), three really great gumbo recipes, a good jambalaya recipe, even tasso, a simple sausage recipe, and at least three recipes that depend on homemade boudin -- for which he provides what seems to be a pretty good recipe and technique. There is cornbread.
The recipes are great, the text is very honest and... earthy... and the whole thing just exudes "this is what works, it's... read more
Awesome book, Chef Link is Real Cajun
By RouxBDoo - September 1, 2009
I won't drag this out, I cook Cajun and Creole foods nearly exclusively. This book is the best in my collection. I met Chef Link in his Butcher establishment and he is quietly friendly, and non-pretentious. So is his book. The recipes are authentic and exciting at the same time. The story of making his grandmother's gumbo, for his family, after her death is indicative of the tone and heart of this book. It is amazing. Chef, you are a culinary treasure.
By D. Foss - May 2, 2009
This book was released coincidental with my last visit to New Orleans. Cochon has become my favourite restaurant there... and since my last visit "Butcher" has opened to compliment the already excellent homestyle fare available at Cochon. Thanks to Chef Link for sharing his excellent heart-warming cuisine with the rest of us! I'm looking forward to digging into this book and creating a little Cajun love up here in Canada! Probably the best souvenier of my visit to New Orleans yet... (The recipes are well-written and look like they are simple enough for the home cook. The background family stories are charming and add a very special southern ambience. I would definitely recommend that this book be added to your culinary library... File it under "comfort")
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