We are here in the heart of Louisiana.
This is Cajun Country.
- Eden of Louisiana.
And we’re going to be talking about Acadiana.
And why this place, St. Martinville, is so important to that culture.
We are going to be cooking right off the land - Teal Duck, Cajun Rice.
It’s gonna be fun.
What’s up y’all.
I’m Phillip Lopez and this is Good Gumbo...
Many consider this the birthplace of “Cajun Culture” In the late 1700s – Acadians - who were forced out of Nova Scotia by the British - began finding their way here.
Reuniting under the famed “Evangeline Oak” in St. Martinville – named for the famous heroine in the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem.
The term “Cajun” – came the from French pronunciation of “Acadienne” Acadians lived off the land and with other natives and settlers from around the world – This was the birth of a unique cuisine – based on what they had to eat across the land.
And there is no one better to talk about this food culture than my friend, Chef John Folse.
It is so nice to have you here.
Of course, Acadians arrive here in the 1750s and they settle the swamp lands of Louisiana.
When they settle in the swamp lands of Louisiana, this is their grocery store.
The waterways, the bayous, they are going to find all of the fish and the foods that they make, even the vegetables are going to be coming out of the swamps.
When I look at a pot like this, it tells me a story of that this is actually a dish of the Cajun trappers and hunters, but game was the main protein that was available in the cultures that arrived in Louisiana.
It’s typical of what we eat.
It is typical of all the seven nations that founded Louisiana, but I attribute this first of all as a gift from the Native Americans to the early French.
The French to the Acadians who came later.
And of course, the Germans and everybody else added their own to the pot.
I come from a culture of trappers.
My dad would go out every fall and winter and he would be gone from the home for four months and would come back with all the furs on his back.
And he would sell it for money, so I come from that day where if you get a little teal duck like this, that is the filet mignon.
We are going to pot roast it, which as you know is a really great way of bringing out the flavors or wild game and tenderizing it as well.
I’ve cut bunch of seasonings and flavor in my Cuisinart and created a pocket with a knife and I’m going to stuff this beautiful... just watch how that breast loosens and I’m adding juice and flavor under the breast of that bird, just like that, look how that pops up like that.
I see that.
You do a lot of hunting - duck or game?
Any time I get a chance to get out on the water and go fishing.
And for me, being able to make dishes like this is very comforting because it brings you back to where our ancestors come from.
And the sausage, I grew up a lot in Europe and I spent a lot of time in Germany and France, and there is a huge German influence here.
People don’t realize that about Louisiana.
The sausage here comes from Germans.
I spent a lot of time in Germany myself, and I have come to know that the flavor and the intensity that is added to game by just using sausages.
So, I am going to go ahead and just put that little bird down in there.
You want to put that one in?
I just have a little oil here and I am going to season it with salt, black pepper in there.
I am going to put a little cayenne pepper, and we just kind of roll that around a little bit.
The seasoning is under that breast and just kind of cooks.
And this is a braised dish, so we are going to add a little liquid to this once we brown it.
I am just going to go ahead and throw in the onions, the celery.
Look at the garlic.
Oh yeah, you cannot go wrong with that.
I am putting mushrooms, wild mushrooms, or fresh, or whatever.
This is pot roasting.
You want to have all those great flavors in there.
It is one pot cooking.
Well and it was for ease of cooking, and ease of cleaning.
And, of course, this came out of the hunting camps of Louisiana so a lot of the hunters would just go out into the fields and come back and take out that one cast iron pot.
And I am going to add a little stock.
This would have been done with some of the bones they would have had, or they would use water if they didn’t.
And the good news is every hunter and every cook in Louisiana has similar dishes but with their own ethnic flavors.
If they are German, or French, or Italian, you are going to have a pot roast like this, but you are going to have the flavors of their own.
Take a look at that... juicy.
I mean it is almost falling off of the bone there.
You see that?
I am going to dive right in.
You don’t mind do you?
You like that?
Take a sip.
We always serve it on some type of a rice dish.
Rice is a gift of the Africans who arrived here in slavery.
It was transported by the Africans from Senegal and Gambia.
It is really a tough conversation, slavery in the South.
But without the black hand in the pot, as I call it, none of the foods that we eat would be as delicious.
The imagination, the ingenuity.
We normally put our teal ducks, small ducks, right on top of that beautiful rice.
Just like that and then we can get some onions and… Pot gravy.
This is amazing.