Gumbo, Pork & Beans, Tips too
Contributed by: Cajun Clark
Whether you realize it or not, Caj has valued subscribers all
over the world. Da ol' mon ain't braggin'... just statin' a
fact. Every continent is covered, except for Antarctica and
that's a bummer. The point being that some folks reading this
are getting ready to plant their summer or winter gardens,
while others are beginning or ending their harvest.
Now, all this said, you can reduce your food cost and enjoy better quality fruits and vegetables if you have a garden, or
buy directly from the grower/farmer. Which is what Caj does,
because it's easy to do when you live on a dead-end road in
Every year when Caj's favorite onions are being harvested it's
time to buy a bushel, that's about 40 pounds. Now the fun,
more like work begins--it's onion peeling time. Out comes the
cutting board, chef's knife and sharpener, huge bag for the
throwaway stuff, freezer bags, vacuum sealer and dehydrator.
So far so good. But it's decision making time. Freeze or
dehydrate? Slice, chop, halve, quarter? Sauté, bake, boil?
Seeing as you have a bushel to work with, guess you could
probably prepare some each way. The method(s) da ol' mon uses
depends on how lazy he feels when facing those 40 pounds. You
can bet you're bottom dollar that it will take several days to
empty the box. Yep, no doubt about it.
But here's the best part. When all is said and done, the onions
are 'put up,' whatever the methods used, Caj will be finishing
up the last of the onions just about the time the next harvest
comes in. YES!
Remember, there's more to life than onions. Like bell peppers,
squash, peppers, nearly any thing you can name. Fruits are
great too. Caj likes to dehydrate apples, bananas, and pears
since these are his favorites. While friend JB goes the
canning route. She puts up the best figs in the Parish.
Okay, enough's enough. Way past time for a couple of recipes.
Sandy's Chicken Gumbo or Chicken & Seafood Gumbo
The choice is yours!
But here's what you'll need:
- 2 fryers or hens
- 2 boxes frozen cut okra or 4 cups fresh sliced okra, chopped
- 2 large bell peppers, chopped
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 6 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1--15.25 or 16 ounce can stewed tomatoes
- 1--10 ounce can Ro-Tel tomatoes
- 5 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Boil and debone chicken; retain broth.
Put vegetable oil and flour in skillet; mix and cook on low
temperature until dark brown. Stir constantly, you're making
Add chopped vegetables; cook until tender.
Add mixture to large soup kettle.
Add tomatoes, strained broth from chicken, and a little water.
Simmer 1 to 2 hours.
Add chicken meat and herbs/spices. Cook approximately 10 minutes.
YOU MAY add seafood at this time; like shrimp, oysters, crab,
etc. Serve over rice in a soup bowl.
Note: If filé is available you may want to add it over gumbo
after gumbo has been put over rice in bowl. FYI, the bottle
in Caj's pantry says, Cajun Chef's Louisiana Gumbo Filé, and
the only ingredient listed is ground sassafras leaves.
As you may recall, da ol' mon asked that if any valued
subscriber wanted this next recipe, to send him an e-mail.
Two folks did, so here it is by popular demand. Ah shucks,
you knew it would be here sooner or later. But maybe a little
explanation is in order.
Caj has been known to go to the pantry, get a can of pork and
beans, open it, pull out a spoon, and enjoy. Yep, straight
from the can. If the truth be known, he's not alone. Fact is,
this is considered a staple by many good folks. With all this
being true the time had to come when da ol' mon wanted to make
Searching the Internet was no help. Many of the recipes called
for taking a can of white beans, draining 'em, then adding
ingredients to make pork and beans. Nope, this is not the way
to go, not if you want to use a pound of dry great northerns.
So it was time for experimenting in the kitchen, creating a
recipe from scratch. And what follows is the result of three
Remember, the proof is in the pudding. What does it taste like
one or two days later when you take it out of the refrigerator
and take a bite without warming it up? Does it pass the pork
and beans taste test. Caj thinks it does, but the final
decision is YOURS.
Caj's Pork & Beans
Note: Please forgive da ol' mon for using some of the verbiage
from the last Fortnight. Sometimes, not often, Caj is at a
loss for words.
Beans: One Pound Dry Great Northerns. Soaked overnight,
drained, fresh water added to more than cover.
Onion: chopped. Probably about a cup, can't tell exactly
because the amount added only stopped when it looked "right"
to da ol' mon.
Bell Pepper: chopped. Same story as to how much.
Garlic: one heaping soup spoon out of the jar of minced garlic.
Powdered, granulated and mince work too. Remember, it's your
taste that has to be satisfied.
Meat: the first time hog jowl was used, it was okay. The
second time, pork loin and it was okay too. However, wanting
to be even truer to the canned variety, salt pork, rind removed,
cut into bite size pieces, won out. How much? A whole lot;
more than you'll ever find in a can of pork and beans! Caj's
philosophy is, When it looks like there's enough, add a little
At this point, da ol' mon puts a cover on the pot, the pot on
the stove on medium heat, and waits for it to start to boil.
When it does, it's time to turn the heat down and let it bubble
for an hour or so. While stirring the contents from time to
time even though a non-stick pot is being used.
When the beans are becoming tender Caj adds:
1 tablespoon of hickory liquid smoke, more or less, for a smoky
flavor. Again, remember, it's your taste you have to satisfy.
2 cans of Campbell's condensed tomato soup.
Now is the time, because da ol' mon always has too much liquid,
that the top is removed, and the heat is once again turned down.
Experience proves that when the tomato soup is added the
consistency changes and not as much heat is required to keep
the bubble going.
After cooking for awhile longer, it's time for another taste
test. And this is the time when you add, slowly, very slowly:
Add a little, cook a little, stir some more, taste again.
When you have the taste you want, the beans are tender, turn
the burner off, and put the top back on. Let it sit for awhile
so the flavors can meld, and this delectable dish to cool down
enough so you don't have to blow on every spoonful to cool it
Well folks, that's all there is, ol' Caj is wrote out for this
Fortnight. Hope you enjoy the tips on fruits and vegetables,
Sandy's Gumbo recipe, and Caj's Pork and Beans. Have a good
one, and Bon Appetit!
Cajun Clark's monster 659-page eCookbook is no longer available. His second cookbook in the series, with nearly 500 recipes
is Sweet & Sassy! http://www.cajunclarkssweetandsassy.com
You can grab a copy of Cajun Clark's Selected Freebies at