It’s been a while since took us to a culinary adventure down south; to the land of the bayous and blues. It was one of those days when yet again, time was not on my side and I needed to come up with something for dinner in a hurry. On days like this, I literally rummage through my fridge to see what I have and what I can use. This is most definitely a Cajun/Creole thing to do. This is actually how I learned how to cook from one of my aunts who was a Creole from the Louisiana/Texas bayous. She would also cook with a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and the result was always delicious.
Creole and Cajun cooking are very similar, with only subtle and minor differences. Cajun food tends to be spicier than Creole foods, with more of an emphasis on the “heat” from paprika, peppers, garlic, and onions, whereas Creole foods are not as “hot” and use more herbs, like oregano, marjoram and thyme to season their foods. The South, and the bayou regions in particular, were settled by a wide variety of people, all of whom left their mark on the local foods, to create what is now known as either Cajun or Creole style cooking. Cajun foods tend to be spicier than Creole foods, and are considered more rustic by comparison to the more refined and “sophisticated” Creole foods. Creole foods originated in New Orleans, and have influences from the German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, African and Native American people of the region, whereas Cajun foods are found more in the rural areas.
I had some large prawns that were just calling out to me. Shrimp and rice are two foods that were just made to go together. But I didn’t just want boring shrimp and rice. I wanted something with more pizzazz and more flavor and flair. So I dressed them up, or down as the case may be, and decided to make them Creole style. I had some Creole honey mustard dressing that I added lime juice and some Peruvian lime chili pepper to for my marinade for the shrimp. When I decided on this combination, making red beans & rice was just a given. If I had time, I would have made some cornbread with honey butter to go with the meal, but a lot of time was something I did not have, so just a good, crusty ciabiatta would have to do. Either a red or white wine would compliment the meal, but because I made shrimp, I decided to go for a white.
Creole Honey Mustard Shrimp
1-1 1/2 lbs large prawns r shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 cups honey mustard dressing
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp Peruvian lime chili powder
Mix everything together well and marinated the shrimp for about 1/2 hour or so before cooking. You can grill it or pan fry it in the sauce. Cook the sauce for about 5 minutes, then reserve for later.
Red Beans & Rice
2 cups cooked white rice
1/3 each red & yellow bell pepper, diced fine
1 lb chorizo
1 jalapeno, diced fine
1-2 TBSP garlic
1/2 onion, diced fine
1 cup frozen corn
1 can dark red kidney beans, with juice
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 TBSP cilantro, chopped fine
salt & pepper to taste
Cook the chorizo, then add all the rest of the ingredients, except the cilantro and the beans, and cook until all the vegetables are tender.
Once the vegetables are cooked, add the kidney beans with their juice and the rice, and mix everything together well. Then add the cilantro and mix again.
Once the rice and vegetables are done, it’s time to eat. Dish up the rice and place the shrimp on top, then add a little extra sauce on the shrimp. Come and get it! Laizzez le bontemps roulez!