New Orleans Feast

With a raining weekend and a stormier political race and economy, I really want comfort food. My favorite is anything from New Orleans. Everything is rich and hyper-flavorful. I trekked out into the rain and had to go to 3 different stores before I found everything I needed, but it was worth it. You could add some rice or some mac and cheese to increase the healing powers of carbs, if you like.

Crawfish Etouffee

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ a large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Cajon seasoning
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 pounds frozen crawfish tails, thawed
chopped green onions and parsley, optional

Heat the olive oil in a large stew pot on medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and bell pepper. Sweat the vegetables until they are soft and transparent. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, seasoning and salt and pepper. Keep cooking so that the tomatoes cook down. Add the Worcestershire and crawfish and cook on medium heat for at least 15 minutes. Garnish with the chopped onions and parsley.

Stewed Okra and Tomatoes

4 slices of thick cut bacon, chopped
½ a large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 bag frozen cut okra, thawed
½ cup water
salt and pepper

Heat the bacon in a saucepan on medium high heat. Once the bacon starts to crisp, add the onions and garlic. Keep stirring over the heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the okra, and stir occasionally while cooking. Add the water and keep cooking for at least 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Barbara’s Cajon Black-Eyed Peas

¼ cup butter
½ medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound kielbasa, finely chopped
¼ pound ham, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 cans black-eyes peas
1 cup water
salt and pepper
chopped green onions and parsley, optional

Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Stir the aromatics on the heat until they are soft and transparent. Add the kielbasa, ham, bay leaf and basil. Cook the mixture for at least 10 minutes. Add the peas, water and salt and pepper. Cover the pot and cook on medium for at least 20 minutes. Garnish with the green onions and parsley.

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