Moma’s Stuffed Fried Hard-Shell Crabs


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It’s been years (at least 25+) since I have had Stuffed Fried Hard-Shell Crabs.  My mother used to make this delicacy with left over boiled crabs…I can remember her sitting at the table in Grand Isle, after everyone had their fill of crabs – picking crabmeat and cleaning the bodies of these wonderful creatures to be used in gumbos, stews or (even better!) her stuffed fried hard-shell crabs!!

This past Sunday afternoon, I found myself doing the same (she taught me well!)… sitting at my table, cleaning leftover boiled crabs that my husband brought back from a trip to Pecan Island.  They were so full, fat and sweet – nothing like Pecan Island Crabs…really, they are the best I have ever had! (So, eat a crab, clean a crab!) As I picked and picked…I began to remember all of the wonderful things that Moma would do with crabs – then I remembered – Stuffed Fried Hard-Shell Crabs!  Now, she never did write down her recipe for the stuffing or the whole process…but, I guess I loved them so much that I was paying attention!


Canola oil for frying

2 dozen boiled crabs, cleaned – keeping the bodies whole

Just to say, don’t ever think that crabmeat is overpriced!  Believe me, it is worth every penny that you pay…peeling and cleaning crabs is work! But worth every minute – or hour (Never waste a good crab!)

For Stuffing:

1 pound claw meat (hand picked or bought!)

2 shallots – chopped

1/2 cup celery – chopped

1/2 stick butter

3 slices of bread

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 egg – beaten

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

pinch of cayene pepper

For the Batter:

3 cups all-purpose flour (place in low pan or bowl)

4 eggs

1 can evaporated milk


Dry crab bodies with paper towel and set aside;

Saute’ shallots and celery in butter until very soft;

Pour evaporated milk over slices of bread in a bowl to soak;  After 5 minutes squeeze milk out of bread and add to saute’ pan;

Add crabmeat, salt and pepper to pan;

Wisk eggs, then slowly add to pan, stirring constantly (you don’t want scrambled eggs in your stuffing!); Heat until stuffing is thick and well heated throughout.  Remove from heat and let cool;

Toss and completely coat crab bodies in flour…make sure that you get flour into all of the little leg openings;

Wisk eggs until well beaten;  Add evaporated milk and continue to wisk until well blended;

Dip flour coated crab bodies into egg/milk mixture;

Dredge crab, again, into flour…coat very well and set on clean tray;

Heat canola oil in deep fryer to 375 degrees;  Add 1 layer of stuffed crabs at a time and fry until golden brown…

While I had the fryer out…I just had to make home-made french fries!  You could serve a fresh green salad, but not tonight – had to keep the fryer busy!

I had so much fun making this – but not as much as eating it!  Ok, so it’s a bit messy…eat some of the stuffing, then break the crab in half and start picking the crabmeat out of the shell (just like when you eat a boiled crab).  What you end up with is a little taste of the stuffing with each bite of crab…and a whole pile of paper towels!  Worked years ago and works today – Moma’s fabulous stuffed fried hard-shell crabs…

Acadiana Wine and Food Festival…a few of my favorite things!


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I had been hearing about the Acadiana Wine and Food Festival for over a year now.  It’s first year (2010) was a huge success, so I expected even more this year! With Chef Pat Mould ( at the helm and the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum as the site – how could it not be fabulous?!  Then, I started seeing the list of participating chefs…yes, it was going to be “the” place to be.  October 28th and 29th seemed like a great weekend for this event.  Friday night, the “Joie du Vin” Dinner was taking place: a 6 course dinner with wine pairings.  Then, Saturday night the “Grand Tasting”: 14 different local restaurants and chefs were preparing specialties along with wine tasting from numerous regions and vendors – both events to be held under tents adjoining the waterfall wall at the museum.  I had to go!

Now, it just “happened” to be on the weekend before my birthday…Perfect gift, a whole weekend of tasting fine food and wine –  Dress me up, put a bow on my glass and hand me a plate…Happy Birthday to me!

Friday Night Joie Du Vin Dinner:

Champagne Reception in the beautiful museum, then off to be seated at “Table 8″… what a wonderful surprise we had at our table – a couple that we had met at a pre-opening party for Cochon Restaurant a few months ago (we promised to be in touch and get together after the party, but never had!) just happened to be sitting at the same table, along with another precious fun couple.  It seemed like we were all old friends – I love it when that happens!  Now to the food and wine…

Louisiana Gulf Oysters on the Half Shell with Fresh Horseradish, Lemon, Cucumber & Dill (I did taste hints of wonderful fresh fennel) prepared by Chef Justin Girouad of The French Press in Lafayette, La. (  Paired with Casa Blanc Sauvignon Blanc Nimbus.  I absolutely adore fresh oysters and these were sooo briny and sweet with the brightness of the crisp toppings – could have eaten at least a dozen!

Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque with Wild Mushrooms and Jumbo Lump Crabmeat prepared by Chef Colt Patin of Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge, La. (  Paired with Creme de lys Chardonnay.  When this bisque was placed at our table, I think that we all knew we were in for a treat…then with the first spoonful, we knew it!   It was surprisingly light cream-colored, not the orangey pumpkin color that you expect from a butternut squash bisque – when I had a chance to ask “precious” Chef Patin about this (after the dinner – as he was mingling with all of the happy campers!) he explained that adding the mushrooms, created this creamy white hue.  He took the time to explain the steps in preparing this luscious soup.  Loved it!

Ruby Red Beets Slow Cooked in Balsamic Vinegar and Herbs Topped with Smoked Goat Cheese, Caramelized Walnuts and Frisee Lettuce tossed in Truffled Lemon Vinaigrette prepared by Chef Craig Crosby of Pamplona in Lafayette, La. (  Paired with Adentus Mediterraneo Malbec – Syrah – Temperanillo.  These beets were perfect – all of the flavors married beautifully to give you a rich deep earthiness in each bite.  I have loved beets since I was very young…my grandmother would always have them canned in jars and serve them with almost every “important” meal.  She would be so amazed to see how those simple beets that she once prepared (using only salt, pepper, a little sugar, and white vinegar) have evolved into such complex beautiful elements of our meals!

Gulf Coast Bouillabaisse: Fennel + Saffron scented Bouillabaisse with Grilled Redfish, Shrimp, Smoked Scallops, and Louisiana Jumbo Lump Crabmeat prepared by Chef Holly Goeting of Charley G’s in Lafayette, La. (  Paired with Dalila Grillo-Viognier. These were like little bowls of gold! How Chef Goeting and her staff succeeded in serving over 200 bowls of perfectly cooked combinations of fish, scallops, shrimp and crabmeat and at the perfect temperature in the fabulous boulliabasse…is beyond me! Can you tell that I loved it?!!  Bowls were empty at Table 8!

Braised Short Rib with Mash Potatoes Topped with a Pickled Onion Salad prepared by Chef Kyle Waters of Cochon in Lafayette, La. (  Paired with Daou Cabernet Savignon.  Having a personal love of Restaurant Cochon, I expected this to be outstanding…and I surely was not disappointed!  No knives were needed…that is how tender the short ribs were – bold and rich with the slight tartness of the pickled onion, then add a bite of the smooth buttery mashed potatoes…well, just a fabulous bite of deliciousness!

And the Finale…

Almond Sponge Cake, Chocolate Ganache, Strawberry Butter Cream & Chocolate Butter Cream prepared by Pastry Chef Brad Sonnier of Poupart’s in Lafayette, La.  ( Paired with Banfi Rosa Regale.  When I saw the description of this dessert, my first thought was “which one will I choose”!  Then it appeared…a gorgeous layering of all of the above!  Perfect balance of sweet, rich and light flavors – great way to end an extraordinary meal…

Top all of that off with new friends and a few hundred people singing “Happy Birthday” to you – well, in my book, it just doesn’t get much better than that!

Acadiana Wine and Food Festival 2012?  Return of Table 8?  Absolutely, Works for me!

New Certified Sommelier in Lafayette at Village Cafe – Ben’s Story!


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This press release was sent to me, by a close friend.  Since I have absolutely loved every meal that I have had at Village Cafe’, I was more than glad to post it on my blog!  FYI:  Foie Gras is always on their menu in the evening!!!

Ben Leger appreciated fine wine long before he ever tasted
it.  Leger, a Sunset native, got his start in the restaurant business in 2003 at
the age of 15. Originally hired as a busboy at Catahoula’s Restaurant in
Grand Coteau, he was quickly moved up to host and soon after elevated to
bartender and server.

Leger says when he started waiting tables he knew his future was in the
restaurant business – and that wine would play an important role.
“For several years I’d been observing the interaction between servers and
customers and recognized how much more engaging the servers who knew
something about wine were. It didn’t take me long to realize that the people
who were serving wine made significantly more money than any other position
in the restaurant,” Leger recalls. “When I started waiting tables, I wanted
to offer that higher level of service and knew I had a lot to learn.”
Having not grown up in a family of wine drinkers, Leger didn’t even know
what grapes he was trying when he initially sampled wines at the restaurant.
“I was very curious about the nature of wine and what it was that got people
so excited that they would spend hundreds of dollars on a bottle and not
think twice about it,” he says.

Catahoula’s new owner, Executive Chef Jude Tauzin, saw the initiative Leger
had taken and promoted the then-19-year-old to general manager. In addition
to managing the service crew, Leger was given the responsibility of
controlling the wine list, making decisions on what wines went on the list
and trying wines that different purveyors brought in to sell to the
restaurant. Leger put himself through a crash course, reading everything he
could get his hands on and buying a kit filled with oils and different
aromas that are associated with wine. The kit gave him a better
understanding of what he was smelling when he brought a glass of wine up to
his nose, allowing him to explain the intricacies of grape cultivation and
selection as he made recommendations. “I began by drinking Rieslings and
pinot noirs, grapes that I quickly learned are immensely complex and
generally misunderstood/underrated by the masses,” Leger explains. “Many
people enjoy these wines regularly, but few appreciate and understand the
layers of complexity that good examples of this wine bring to the table.”
When Jeremy Connor joined the restaurant as sous chef, he and Leger teamed
up to offer a six-course chef’s tasting menu with optional wine pairings. It
was a pivotal moment in Leger’s wine education, marking the beginning of his
skill at effectively pairing food and wine.

Fast-forward five years after Leger served his first glass of wine and the
now 23-year-old is already at the pinnacle of his career. On Aug. 1 of this
year he became one of the youngest sommeliers in the state when he completed
the rigorous testing requirements of the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS), a
four-level education and examination process. His expertise is now part of
the success of River Ranch’s Village Café, where the talented trio of
Tauzin, Connor and Leger reunited two years ago to bring fine, farm-to-table
dining paired with equally fine wines to Lafayette diners. They are also
behind sister concepts POUR, a self-serve wine bar, and The Reserve, a
versatile space next door to Village Café that can accommodate up to 75
guests for any type of party or event.

But it was not an easy road to sommelier certification through CMS. First,
Tauzin challenged Leger to get Village Café’s wine list not just in order –
but tops in the Lafayette. Once they were satisfied that had been
accomplished, in February of 2011 they submitted the restaurant’s wine list
to Wine Spectator magazine and in August were honored with an Award of
Excellence (the only other Lafayette restaurant to earn this distinction was
Ruth’s Chris). The magazine recognizes exceptional restaurant wine lists
from across the nation with Award of Excellence, Best of Award of Excellence
or Grand Award. “There are very few Grand Award winning restaurants in the
country,” Leger says. “We were excited to receive this award, and I really
feel like if I sent my wine list in now, as opposed to February, we would
have received Best of Award of Excellence.” Wine Spectator bases its awards
on criteria that include number of selections – Village Café has about 600 –
quality of selections and depth of vintages.

While he was working on the wine list, Leger continued his studies toward
becoming a certified sommelier through CMS, the premier international
examining body. He had passed the introductory sommelier test in early 2009,
but now was preparing to master a written theory exam, a blind tasting of
two wines and a service exam. On the morning of Aug. 1 Leger traveled to New
Orleans and joined 20 other nervous test-takers. “We began at 8 a.m. with
the blind tasting of a white and a red. After all my practice I found this
to be pretty straightforward but still very intimidating,” Leger recalls.
Next were the multiple-choice and short essay portions and then the service
exam. Leger was asked to open and properly serve, following a number of
service standards, champagne for eight guests. “All the while the Master
Sommelier was asking questions on mock scenarios such as what wine I would
pair with their imaginary dinner, cocktails and after dinner drinks,” Leger

Leger was one of 13 who passed all portions of the test. “I’m lucky to have
a very good friend and mentor named Jared Cocke who is the fine wine
specialist for Republic National Distributing and also a certified
specialist of wine,” Leger says. “He was a tremendous help to me, providing
me with open bottles to taste blindly and tasting blindly with me so that we
could discuss the aromas and flavors. The key is being able to identify what
it is that you’re tasting and verbalize that. It’s sort of like training
your body to have muscle memory in sports. You have to taste many examples
of the same region, say Chablis, so that you can begin to recognize the
similarities that different producers from the same region share.”

“It was a tremendous honor not only for Ben
but for the entire staff,” Tauzin says.  “Understanding
wine and making recommendations that you know a customer will enjoy certainly
involves tremendous knowledge and a high level of talent, but being able to
pair wine and food is much more crucial,” the executive chef adds.  That’s what a certified sommelier brings to the table.  And that’s what sets Village Café’
apart from the other find restaurants in Lafayette.”

7 Day Gumbo Marathon – Day 7…Shrimp and Okra Gumbo


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Day 7 –   Did I really just cook 7 different gumbos in 7 days?  Ask my husband, he just keeps eating and shaking his head!  We keep giving containers to friends and family… and the refrigerator and freezers are well stocked.  Let’s see: Hen, Sausage and Tasso Gumbo; Seafood Gumbo; Gumbo Z’Herbes; Chicken and Okra Gumbo; Quail, Pheasant and Andouille Gumbo; Smoked Duck and Andouille Gumbo; and tonight, the easiest of them all:  Shrimp and Okra Gumbo…

Lord, I am sounding like Bubba in Forest Gump!!!


2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

2 medium onions, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

8 cups of fresh okra, sliced

2 small tomatoes, peeled and chopped

3 quarts of shrimp stock

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

4 drops of Louisiana Hot Sauce

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp white vinegar


In a large heavy pot, heat oil and add okra, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, salt, pepper and vinegar

Cook over a medium heat for approximately 1 hour, until okra is well done and starts to darken, but does not completely break apart.  The smell of okra cooking, just warms my heart…brings me back to a wonderful warm place in my grandmother’s kitchen long ago!

Add shrimp stock and Louisiana Hot Sauce – bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer; Cook for another 45 minutes

Stir in shrimp and cook on a medium heat (don’t let it boil!) just until shrimp turn a light pinkish/orange in color, about 10 more minutes,

Turn off fire and let sit uncovered for at least 30 minutes – longer, if you can.

Taste and season, if necessary.

Serve with white rice and a simple potato salad…

This is one of those gumbos that you can easily make after a long day at work, especially if you have smothered okra already in your freezer!  Easy, easy, easy…and wonderful in the summer or winter.

During the past 7 days,  I have concentrated on the differences that exist with almost every cook and every pot of gumbo. The fact that everyone feels so strongly about their way of cooking gumbo is remarkable!  You know the unwritten rule about social gatherings: “Don’t talk religion or politics” – well in South Louisiana it is more like:  “Don’t talk religion, politics or gumbos!”

Hopefully, you will find one of these gumbos appealing or at least interesting – and with a cold front heading our way, get a big pot out and cook a gumbo this weekend for your family or friends!  I will be hoping that my husband grills a good steak for me…my gumbo pot needs to rest!

C’est tout, my friends, for now…

7 Day Gumbo Marathon – Day 6…Smoked Duck and Andouille Gumbo!


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Day 6 of this Marathon! Smoked Duck and Andouille Gumbo…

You have to know at least one duck hunter for this rich gumbo – and hope that some wonderful ducks make their way back your house! Or, if you are really lucky, you will be cooking this at one of the great hunting camps in South Louisiana. Guess I am one of those fortunate people, because I have a whole family (it’s in their “blood”) of duck hunters… and my son, who just happens to live for duck season, is one of the best cooks that I know! This is one of his specialties and recipes. As you will see, it is an all afternoon or very late night event – so take your time and enjoy the ride…

I call this recipe my “petite” Smoked Duck and Andouille Gumbo…(I only had 2 ducks to work with tonight!) So, just increase all of the proportions accordingly, for the amount of ducks that you are cooking…


2 wild ducks

1 lb andouille sausage

2 medium onions, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 to 1 cup of roux…depends on how thick you like your gumbo. (Add 1/2 cup, stir in, then decide if you need the whole cup)

1/4 cup canola oil

2 cups smoked duck stock

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/3 tsp cayenne pepper


Smoke ducks:

Season ducks, inside and outside, with a little salt and pepper

On charcoal grill, build fire adding hickory chips, on one side of pit.

When fire is ready, place ducks (breast side down) on opposite side of grill

Close top of pit and cook for about 3 hours, adding hickory and coals as needed to keep fire constant. Look at how beautiful they are…

Make stock:

De-bone ducks, placing the meat in foil to keep from drying out

Place bones, skin, 1 onion, 1 bell pepper, 1 celery stalk and 3 carrots in 2 quarts of boiling water.

Bring back to a boil, then cook on a medium heat for 1 1/2 hours

Strain stock into a pot or large bowl

To make gumbo:

Heat oil in heavy pot (I used a well seasoned cast iron pot tonight)

Brown andouille sausage in oil for about 10 minutes or until lightly brown on all sides

Add onions, bell pepper and celery and cook until soft, about 15 minutes

Slowly pour in duck stock and roux, stirring constantly until roux in completely dissolved

Return reserved duck meat to pot and cook for another 1 1/2 hours.

Skim fat from top of gumbo

Add chopped green onions and serve with fresh sweet potatoes and garlic bread…

I can tell you that this is the “King” of all gumbos for every man and most women I know, hunter or not! During duck season, this will absolutely be the gumbo of choice at any camp or home where ducks can be found…Now, the cook may not make it to the table and sometimes can be found in a recliner, snoring, while everyone else is slurping down their bowl of gumbo – and for God’s sake, don’t wake up the cook!

7 Day Gumbo Marathon – Day 5…Quail, Pheasant and Andouille Gumbo!


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Day 5:  Quail, Pheasant and Andouille Gumbo!

Not a gumbo that I make often… but I got lucky when my sweet son-in-law “gifted” me with a bag of quail and a bag of pheasant that he shot on a hunting trip recently in West Texas.  I have been “sweating it” trying to decide how to cook these delicious little birds – there are so many ways to prepare them…but, since I am on this Gumbo Marathon, everything looks like a gumbo to me!  Throw in some andouille and bake some fresh local sweet potatoes….a cold front must be on its way – let’s do it!


8 whole quail, skinned

2 breasted quail, skinned

1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced or chopped

2 large onions, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

4 drops of Tabasco

1 cup of dark roux

3 quarts of chicken stock

1/4 cup chopped green onions


Heat oil in large heavy pot

Brown andouille sausage for about 10 minutes

Add seasoned quail and pheasant; continue browning on medium heat until all sides are well browned (about 45 minutes), turning them over occasionally

Add onions, bell pepper and celery to pot…scraping bottom and sides – stir and cook for an additional 10 minutes

Add the stock and roux;  Stir constantly until the roux is completely dissolved;

Bring to a boil, then lower to a medium heat and cook until the quail and pheasant are tender (about 1 1/2 hours)

Add chopped green onions and serve with steaming hot white rice, baked sweet potato and a fresh piece of garlic bread… and a good glass of red wine!

Believe me when I tell you that this gumbo is fabulous…the delicate tender white meat of the quail and pheasant marries beautifully with the rich smoked andouille sausage and dark roux flavors!

Sounds like I have found another “favorite”!  Although my house is starting to smell like a roux factory and the squirrels, in my yard, are looking a little worried…  Two more days and two more gumbos to go…

7 Day Gumbo Marathon – Day 4: Chicken and Okra Gumbo


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Day 4…What an easy choice!  Chicken and Okra Gumbo…

When I make a Chicken and Okra Gumbo, I always use a chicken and not a hen (and no roux in this gumbo!)…unlike the “Hen, Sausage and Tasso Gumbo” from Day 1 – come to think of it, there are a lot of rules when it comes to gumbos!  Maybe, that is part of the mystique behind gumbo – and, again, it changes from family to family and area to area.  So, this is my family recipe…straight from Arnaudville!


1 fresh chicken, cut into pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 fresh ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup canola oil

2 quarts of chicken stock

8 cups of fresh sliced okra; If you can’t find fresh okra and can’t rob your mother or friend’s freezer for a pack of their smothered okra, then I guess frozen cut up pieces can do!

1/2 tsp. white vinegar

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


Season chicken with salt and pepper

Heat oil in heavy pot and brown chicken on all sides

Remove chicken from pot and place on clean tray or platter

Add okra, onions, bell pepper, tomatoes and 1/2 tsp of white vinegar (the vinegar will help cut the slimy texture of the cooked okra) and cook for about 1 hour, stirring often.  I usually buy a sack of okra in the summer, cook a large pot and freeze in quart size bags.  That cuts the time and makes cooking okra gumbos sooo easy!

Add browned chicken and stock into pot with okra, season to taste and simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Serve with white rice, garlic bread and potato salad…

I always try to keep a container of this gumbo in the freezer for those nights when I am too tired to cook (and believe it or not, there are “some” nights when I don’t want to cook!) but want some “feel good” food…

Yes, this is what I call my kind of comfort food…Chicken and Okra Gumbo – Food that Works!

7 Day Gumbo Marathon – Day 3…Gumbo Z’ Herbes


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Day 3…Gumbo Z’ Herbes or “Green Gumbo”

Another Saturday morning and the farmer’s market!  It’s a great day when I can take my time getting up, drink a cup of coffee, throw on some old clothes, just run a brush through my hair (to get rid of the “Rod Stewart look”)  and always putting on some lipstick!  Oh, yes, and wear your sunglasses…no makeup?  Wear sunglasses!

As soon as I get out of my car – I hawk-eye the large assortment of beautiful dark leafy greens at Market Basket Youngsville’s booth! That’s all it took for me to decide on the gumbo for Day 3: Gumbo Z’ Herbes…perfect! I buy one bunch of each type of green and 2 bags of the most perfect young white turnips.

As I walk off and go on to my car, I am sooo happy with my morning goods…            Of course, I had to make my regular stop by Gotreaux Family Farm’s booth  and get fresh eggs, beautiful baby eggplants, purple baby bell peppers, ground lamb, chicken livers and one of their wonderful whole chickens!

Now, about Gumbo Z’Herbes….

A very different old gumbo that is made with leafy green vegetables, traditionally, on Good Friday – when Catholics abstain from eating meat.  In the many variations of this gumbo, some use ham hocks, pickled or salted pork.  There is a superstition that you need to use seven different greens, to bring good luck, and meet seven new people during that day.

This was not a gumbo that I was brought up eating or cooking.  In fact, I don’t ever remember my mother or grandmother making it…but it is delicious!


1 bunch finely chopped spinach leaves

1 bunch finely chopped mustard greens

1 bunch finely chopped beet greens

1 bunch finely chopped mustard greens

1 bunch finely chopped kale

1 bunch finely turnip greens

1 bunch finely chopped beet greens

3 tbsp canola oil

1 bouquet garni (4 springs parsley, 4 springs thyme, 2 sage leaves tied together with kitchen twine

1 leek, chopped

2 bay leaves

12 cups water or chicken stock

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 smoked ham hocks

1 quart fresh oysters

8 white young turnips, chopped into small pieces

8 drops of tabasco sauce


Bring water/stock to a boil, in a large heavy pot

In a separate pot, heat oil and brown ham hocks

Add leeks, garlic, onions, bell pepper and celery into pot with ham hocks and cook until soft and onions are transluscent- pour all into boiling stock

Add chopped greens, bay leaves and bouquet garni to stock and cook on medium/high heat for 1 1/2 hours

Stir in turnips, salt, pepper and tabasco – continue to cook for approximately 30 minutes or until they are fork tender.

Add oysters and cook for 5 additional minutes

Serve with fresh cornbread muffins…

Day 3 complete!  A gumbo that works for green lovers only, though…and I happen to be one of them – Gumbo Z’ Herbes, wonderful! Guess this food works for me…..

7 Day Gumbo Marathon – Day 2…Seafood Gumbo!


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Day Two:

Seafood Gumbo…clean, simple and delicious!  Roux – no okra…you know my thoughts on the mix – Won’t do it! Day Two is a roux gumbo.  I know that I say this with every post, but I really, really do love seafood gumbo!

The secret to a great seafood gumbo is fresh shrimp, crabmeat and oysters…Now, it is ok if you bought your shrimp fresh and froze them in water (just so that they were fresh to begin with!)  Not ok to use frozen crabmeat or oysters – freezing these types of seafood just changes the texture.  You can always tell if crab claws have been frozen, because the meat will stick to the thin membrane that runs down the middle – always.  And I just won’t freeze oysters.  If you can’t get these two ingredients fresh, just make a plain shrimp gumbo – nothing wrong about that!  Again, just my opinion…


2 lbs fresh shrimp… de-headed, peeled and de-veined (don’t ever use shrimp and forget to de-vein them!)

1 lb. fresh crab claws

1 lb. fresh lump, white or claw crab meat

1 quart fresh oysters – use all of the liquid that the oysters are packed with!

2 medium onions, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped finely

1 cup celery, chopped finely

1 cup dark roux

3 quarts shrimp or seafood stock –

I love to make fish, shrimp and crab stocks, separately.  It is a little time-consuming, but I love having them in my freezer.  Or, you can make a quick stock by boiling the shrimp peelings with a couple of unpeeled onions, 1 bell pepper, 1 stalk of celery, a couple of carrots and a small bunch of parsley in a medium pot for about 1 hour.  Skim the top, as it cooks on a medium heat.  Strain into a bowl or directly into your pot.

If you don’t have any seafood stock made and in your freezer and you don’t have time to make the shrimp stock, use Knorr’s Shrimp Bouillon Cubes – it’s great when you are in a hurry!


Saute vegetables in oil for about 10 minutes or until just tender, not browned

Add stock, blending well

Add roux and dissolve completely, stirring constantly

Let vegetables, stock and roux cook together for about 1 hour on medium low heat.  Stir often!

Add shrimp, crabmeat and oysters – bring back to a light boil, cook then lower and cook for a few minutes (not more than five minutes). Turn off heat and cover.  You only want to cook the shrimp until they turn a nice pinkish orange, stirring very gently (be really careful not to break up your crabmeat!)

Add chopped green onions and parsley

Let gumbo sit for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors release (actually, the longer the better!)

Serve with rice, potato salad and fresh bread…

This gumbo will disappear before your very eyes…good old seafood gumbo…really works anytime of the year!

7 Day Gumbo Marathon – Day 1…Hen, Sausage and Tasso Gumbo


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This past week, I watched the weather like a child waiting for Christmas morning! A cold front was on the way – finally!  There is a local saying, “You wouldn’t want to be a chicken in South Louisiana when the first cold front of the season finally comes through”!   When the wind turns north and the temperatures drop below 50 degrees for the first time, there is a run on chickens at the local markets!  You can be sure, if you look in anyone’s basket, you will see some sort of makings for a gumbo…and for that first front, usually a chicken or hen and sausage.

Gumbo season always stirs up old debates on ingredients for gumbos – Chicken or Hen?  Sausage or Andouille?  Roux or Orkra…do you combine the two?  Roasted or Smoked Duck?  And like any good cajun lady, surely I have my opinions – all based on “family history”, of course…

Chicken or Hen – Use a chicken, if you are in a rush; On all other occasions, use a hen (yes, a tough old fat hen!)  Just plan on cooking the thing for hours and hours, but you can’t beat the flavor.

Sausage or Andouille – I like them both, but if you are cooking a duck gumbo – always use andouille!  Straight from my son’s mouth…

Roux or Okra…combine the two?  Never in my house!  I was brought up to believe that it was just about sacrilegious to mix roux and okra in a gumbo – generations of Arnauds and Millers (my mother’s family) have engrained this into my soul!  Now, I love Okra Gumbo as much as I love Roux Gumbo, just never add one to the other!  PERIOD.  (of course, that is in my house!  A lot of great cooks do combine both, I am just not one of them)

Roasted or Smoked Duck – I like both, just depends on time and what you are in the mood for!  Smoked is fantastic, but sometimes you just want the roasted flavor and to taste the wonderful gaminess of the duck.

Now, about that “Marathon”?  For the next week, I will be blogging about different types of gumbos – seven to be exact!  Yes, seven different gumbos in seven days…

Day One:  Hen, Sausage and Tasso Gumbo:

1 hen, cut into pieces

3 lbs of smoked sausage, cut into bite size pieces (try to always use smoked sausage from South Louisiana – others just do not taste the same and tend to give the gumbo an “odd” flavor)

1 lb of Tasso, cut into very small pieces

1/4 cup canola oil

4 medium onions, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped

2 cups celery, chopped

1 cup of dark roux – You can make your own using 1 cup canola oil and 1 cup of flour:  Blend in a large heavy pot and cook on medium high fire – stirring constantly (and I mean “constantly” because it gets very hot and can scorch easily!)  Continue stirring until it is deep dark copper-colored – takes about 45 minutes; Let cool slightly before using (make sure that you keep stirring occasionally while it is cooling down, because it will keep cooking) OR use any jar of prepared cajun roux

3 quarts of chicken stock


Heat oil in stock pot or other large heavy pot

Brown hen on medium high heat until all side are deep brown, turning often

Stir in smoked sausage and tasso and continue to brown for about another 30 minutes, stirring and scraping bottom of pot

Remove all meat onto a clean platter or tray

Add chopped vegetables to pot (with all drippings from meat remaining), scraping bottom often; cook for 15 minutes until onions are transparent

Add chicken stock and roux;  Bring to a boil, stirring, making sure that the roux has dissolved completely in stock

Return chicken, sausage and tasso to pot

Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a medium, low heat.

Cook until the big ole hen in tender!  (At least 2-4 hours)  Adding additional water as the gumbo cooks down – depends on how thick or soupy you want it to be…

Degrease the gumbo in the end – Very Important, because you will end up with a lot of fat floating on the top.  Remove as much as you can!

Serve with white rice, chopped green onions and crispy fresh bread…

Last night, I was asked by a close friend, “what would your last meal would be?”
At the time, I thought of so many things that I love and couldn’t pick just one dish.   But after cooking tonight, it’s easy…for sure – good old hen, sausage and tasso gumbo! Last meal? Would take my sweet time and do it up right….