Laissez Le Bonne Christmeusse Roulet

Anybody that has read my work for a minute knows who my biggest influence was in the kitchen.  Her repertoire wasn’t huge, but Granny taught me the basics.  As a child, I learned through her to cook with my senses—taste, smell, touch and sight—rather than by following a recipe as if it were a volatile science experiment.

Did you k now that if you put almond extract instead of vanilla extract in your cookie dough, you WILL NOT blow up the house?  Yep, it’s true.  And if you put coffee instead of milk in your cake batter, you will not poison your dinner guests?  Yep…..Hard to believe isn’t it?

As I got into high school, after learning the passion and the basic skills from Granny, I began to expand my repertoire, and discover methods and styles of cooking that she had never dreamed of.  The early days of cooking shows brought me The Galloping Gourmet, Martin Yan, and Julia Child.  But my favorite cooking show host was far and away Justin Wilson.  His Cajun cooking style automatically appealed to my southern sensibilities, but then he opened his mouth and started talking.  That man could spin a yarn like no other.  When he told even the most mundane story, his Cajun accent and mannerisms made his words come to very vibrant life.  I garr-own-tee!

The Cookin’ Cajun—Justin WIlson! Hoo Boy!

I actually got to see him during Spring Break from college one year.  He was doing cooking demos and telling some tall tales at a Cajun Festival in Helotes, Texas in 1989.  As he cooked, he added “ a little bit o wine for da pot roas, and a little bit o wine for Juice-TAN.  And a little bit o more wine for Juice-TAN….”  

Yes, yes….as a college sophomore I was going to Justin Wilson cooking demos, rather than jello-shot Olympics.  Shut up. Don’t judge.

And then one of my best friends, who was from Louisiana, had a family reunion at my family’s beach house one year.  I was out there visiting, and all these old coon-asses were sitting around the campfire, telling stories and BS’ing.  These same people, who had been speaking perfectly good English only moments earlier, had lapsed into this thick Acadienne that I could not understand at all.  It was AWESOME to hear.  It made want to be Cajun.

His family also introduced me to my first ever Cajun fried turkey.  A bird injected with savory juices, slathered with spicy seasoning, and flash fried in hot peanut oil… In some ways, I am not sure they were doing me any favors that way.  I can’t eat roast turkey anymore.  It’s boring. Bland. Unexciting. Decidedly NOT Cajun.

Today, I am sharing with you my favorite Cajun Christmas meal, in its entirety (this is a long post).  Complete with Trosclair’s Cajun Night Before Christmas, which you must read to your guests with your best Cajun accent……

Joyeux Noel! 

 

Cajun Night Before Christmas

by Trosclair

’twas de night before Christmas,

when all t’ru de house,

Dey don’t a t’ing pass,

not even a mouse.

De chirren been nezzle,

good snug on de flo’

An’ Mamm pass de pepper,

t’ru de crack on de doe’.

Den Mama in de fireplace,

done roas’ up de ham,

Stir up de gumbo,

an’ make bake de yam.

Den out on de bayou,

dey got such a clatter,

Make soun’ like Boudreau

done fall off his ladder.

I run like a rabbit,

to git to de do’,

Trip over de dorg,

an’ fall on de flo’.

As I look out de do’,

in de light o’ de moon,

I t’ink “Man, you be crazy,

or got ol’ much too soon.”

Cuz out dere on de bayou,

w’en I stretch ma’ neck stiff,

Why dere’s eight alligator,

jus’ a-pullin’ de skiff!

An’ a little fat drover,

wit’ a long pol’n stick,

An’ I know r’at away –

dat got to be ole St. Nick.

Mo’ fas’er and fas’er,

de ‘gator dey came.

He whistle an’ holler,

an’ call dem by name:

“Ha, Gaston! Ha, Tiboy!

Ha, Pierre an’ Alcee,

Gee, Ninette! Gee Suzette!

Celeste and Renee!”

“To de top o’ de porch,

to de top o’ de wall,

Make crawl, alligator,

an’ be sho’ you don’ fall.”

Like Tante Flo’s cat,

t’ru de treetop he fly,

W’en de big ol’ houn’ dorg,

come a run hisse’f by,

Like dat up de porch,

dem ole ‘gator dey climb!

Wit’ de skiff fill o’ toy,

an’ St. Nicklus behin’.

Den on top de porch roof,

it soun’ like de hail,

W’en all dem big ‘gator,

done sot down dey tail.

Den down de chimney,

he fell wit’ a bam.

An’ St. Nicklus fall,

an’ sit right on de ham.

“Sacre!” he axclaim,

“Ma pant got a hole,

I done sot ma’se’f

on dem red goddam coals!”

He got on his foots,

an’ jump like a cat,

Out to de flo’,

where he Lan’ wit’ a SPLAT!

He was dress in musk-rat,

from his head to his foot,

An’ his clothes is all dirty,

wit’ ashes an’ soot.

A sack full o’ playt’ing,

he t’row on his back,

He look like a burglar,

an’ dass fo’ a fack.

His eyes how dey shine,

his dimple, how merry!

Maybe he been drink,

de wine from blackberry.

His cheek was like a rose,

his nose like a cherry,

On secon’ t’ought maybe,

he lap up de sherry.

Wit’ snow-white chin whisker,

an’ quiverin’ belly,

He shook w’en he laugh,

like de stomberry jelly!

But a wink in his eye,

an’ a shook o’ his head,

Make my confidence dat,

I don’ got to be scared.

He don’ do no talkin’,

gone straight to his work,

Put playt’ing in sock,

an’ den turn wit’ a jerk.

He put bot’ his han’,

dere on top o’ his head,

Cas’ an eye on de chimney,

an’ den he done said:

“Wit’ all o’ dat fire,

an’ dem burnin’ hot flame.

Me I ain’ goin’ back,

by de way dat I came.”

So he run out de do’,

an’ he clim’ to de roof.

He am’ no fool, him,

for to make one more goof.

He jump in his skiff,

an’ crack his big whip.

De ‘gator move down,

an’ don’ make one slip.

An’ I hear him shout loud,

as a splashin’ he go,

“Joyeux Noëel to y’all,

’til I saw you some mo’!”

Cajun Fried Turkey

Cajun Fried Turkey—serves 12

For this, you will need a turkey fryer with a basket, thermometer, and 3-5 gallons of peanut oil for frying.  Follow your manufacturer’s directions carefully—frying turkeys can be a dangerous fire hazard.  You will also need a turkey injector (giant syringe), available at most grocery stores and in kitchen supply departments.

  • 1 14-16 pound turkey
  • 1 bottle onion juice
  • 1 bottle garlic juice
  • 1 bottle White Wine Worschestershire Sauce (the tan and green wrapper)
  • 1 quart apple juice, white wine, or chicken broth
  • 2 T salt
  • ½ cup Cajun seasoning (such as Tony Chachere’s)

Place the turkey in a large roasting pan, remove the giblets from the cavity, and pat dry with paper towels.   Mix all ingredients except for the Cajun seasoning in a large bowl.  Using an injector, inject all of the mixture into the turkey, at points all over the bird.  Rub the bird with Cajun seasoning and allow to sit for up to thirty minutes before frying.

Heat oil in fryer to 400*

Carefully lower bird into the hot oil.  The temperature will drop.  Adjust your thermostat to 350*  Fry the bird for 3  minutes per pound, plus 5 minutes more.  For example, a 15 pound bird would fry for (3min X 15 pounds)+5 minutes+50 minutes.  The drumsticks should wiggle loosely when the bird is done.  Carefully remove basket from the oil, and let drain for a minute or two before moving to a roaster.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Although you will be tempted to, don’t beat your family members up fighting over the delicious crispy skin.  It isn’t nice to fight on holidays.

Creole Green Beans….Sweet, Tart, Bacon-y, Yummy

Creole Green Beans—serves 12

  • 1 pound bacon, chopped
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 can 15 oz peeled diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 10-oz packages frozen green beans (may use four cans)
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard

In large skillet, brown bacon until crisp.  Use a slotted spoon to remove and drain the bacon.  Set aside.  Drain off all but ¼ cup of the bacon grease.  Add onion and pepper to the grease, and fry until softened.  Add the tomatoes, vinegar, green beans, and water.  Cook, covered, for 5 minutes.  Remove lid and allow to cook for 3 more minutes.  Push beans aside and make a well in the center of the skillet. Combine remaining ingredients and whisk into the juices in the bottom of the skillet.  Mix all together to coat well, and cook for 2 minutes before removing to serving dish.

Maque Choux (Smothered Corn)

Maque Choux (Smothered Corn)—serves 12

  • 8 ears sweet corn (may use 3, 10-oz bags frozen)
  • 4 T butter
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced green pepper
  • 6 green onions, minced
  • 2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t white pepper
  • 1 t black pepper
  • ¼-1 teaspoon red pepper (cayenne)
  • 2 t chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ cup cream

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion and peppers and sauté until soft.  Cut corn from the cobs, and add to the skillet.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add all remaining ingredients except for the cream.  Stir and cook for 5 minutes.  Add cream, stir, and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Remove to serving dish.

Dirty Rice—serves 12

  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 3 slices chopped bacon
  • 1 pound chicken livers, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 T very finely chopped parsley
  • 3 t salt
  • 2 t black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked rice (Basmati, Texmati)
  • 1 cup chopped green onions

In a Dutch-oven set over medium heat, cook sausage, bacon, and chicken livers until browned.  Add onion, celery, bell pepper and parsley, and cook until softened. Stir in salt and pepper, and then the cooked rice.  Combine well.  Stir in green onions just before serving.

Yummy, Rummy, Sauce Pooling Around The Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce—serves 12, generously

  •  1 large loaf French bread, torn in 2” pieces (should be about 12 cups)
  • ½ C gold raisins
  • ½ C dark or spiced rum (may use water instead)
  •  6 cups whole milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t ground nutmeg

Place bread pieces into large mixing bowl and let sit.  Place raisins and rum in a small saucepan, and simmer for ten minutes.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Place milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and spices in a blender and whiz for 20 seconds.  Pour over the bread pieces and add the raisins and rum.  Mix well, and allow to set for 30 minutes. Pour into a pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  You may use a 13×9, a large bundt pan, a 4 quart casserole, or 2 large loaf pans.  Bake at 350* for one hour, or until set in the center.

Serve warm, with a drizzle of sauce.

Hard Sauce

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • ½ C dark or spiced rum
  • ¼ C cream

Bring all ingredients to simmer over medium heat, beating with a whisk to incorporate.  Serve warm over bread pudding…

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh I love Sangria Wine…(sung in my best Jerry Jeff Walker voice)

Pink Sangria

  • 2 bottle Barefoot Moscato
  • 1 bottle Barefoot Sweet Red
  • 1 bottle peach brandy
  • 1 quart White Grape/Peach Juice
  • 1 can Pink Lemonade Concentrate
  • 1 sliced red grapefruit
  • 1 sliced peach
  • 1 sliced tart apple

Mix all ingredients in a large pitcher or drink cooler, and chill until ready to serve.

Pulling it all together….

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Categories: BAKING, children, dessert, Family, Food, Gourmet, Holiday, humor, recipes, Texas, writing

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26 Comments on “Laissez Le Bonne Christmeusse Roulet”

  1. 2012/12/02 at 12:22 am #

    This is awesome in every possible way…you totally rocked this post :)

  2. 2012/12/02 at 12:59 am #

    WOW! Joyeux Noel! :-)

  3. 2012/12/02 at 2:21 am #

    Well darling we’re having a cajun Christmas that’s for sure (well – apart from the turkey). Thank you!

  4. 2012/12/02 at 3:58 am #

    Probably the first time I have actually truly wanted to eat turkey. Nice!!

  5. 2012/12/02 at 6:08 am #

    I love your posts! They always bring a big smile to my face!! The Cajun Night Before Christmas was awesome! Thank your for sharing it! I can’t wait to try some of your recipe too!

  6. 2012/12/02 at 8:01 am #

    Love this post! I grew up in Luling, LA where good cajun food was served even in the school cafeteria! But these recipes make me want to try something new this winter. Cajun Night may be on the horizon! Thanks for great ideas! http://ohtheplaceswesee.com

  7. 2012/12/02 at 8:17 am #

    Mon Cher you out did your self this time. Off the hook,outa’ sight, excellent and magnifique. Feliz Navidad y’all.

  8. 2012/12/02 at 9:01 am #

    You always tell the best stories :D

    And omg that cajun fried turkey!!!

  9. 2012/12/02 at 9:23 am #

    Nom, nom, nom…I were good wit’ dos foods ’til you sayd ‘chicken livers’. Gack,ack,ack, any ting sept dem livers..gack, ack, ack :)

  10. 2012/12/02 at 11:19 am #

    Oh my Gosh, You almost made me bust a rib I was laughing so hard. I so remember the cajun cook and loved to listen to him even though I would never cook that way. I learned a lot from you today. Not being much of a cook or even an adventurous eater, I know now that I won’t blow up the kitchen if I change things. Love your writing.

  11. 2012/12/02 at 11:21 am #

    Reblogged this on Coffeequilter's Corner and commented:
    I had to share this for all my Looosiana relatives!

  12. 2012/12/02 at 11:35 am #

    Love the Cajuned Up Night Before Christmas – and the recipes too! I have to admit, I don’t plan to serve deep fried turkey for Christmas – I wouldn’t dream of trying to manage that on the stove, and I’m not about to be outdoors with a deep fryer in a New Jersey December. But the other dishes – gotta agree with Rusha Sams and Lisa and Hilarysangel, I see a Cajun Night in our future.

  13. 2012/12/02 at 11:37 am #

    Christine, what a great post! It’s packed with stories and as flavorful as a Cajun turkey dinner!

  14. 2012/12/02 at 12:40 pm #

    Love it, girl.

  15. Mad Scientist
    2012/12/02 at 9:00 pm #

    I always wondered how the cajuns figured out how to fry a turkey….bun then again, we fry eveything in the south.

    My first experience was in the early 1990s when my mothers boyfriend introduced us–they were from Port Arthur, but Don’s mother; she was from some place that gators were a driving hazard. Don made a good turkey, but no one could make a good turkey like my friend Justin Grainer, from somewhere south of New Iberia ( and there isn’t much south of there). A few beers and the only thing you could understand from Justin was had gestures. Justin had even welded his own special turkey pot and burner out of oilfield pipe (patterned after his father’s design). Sadly, west Texas was too dry for him, and he ran to Opalusas.

    But speaking of Justin Wilson, I saw him years ago on TV (mid 1980’s?), where he espoused his own BBQ sauce recipe–which was awesome. Think you can find it?

    • 2012/12/02 at 10:10 pm #

      justin wilson barbecue sauce (original)

      recipe by : justin wilson
      serving size : 1 preparation time :0:00
      categories : barbecue sauces

      amount measure ingredient — preparation method
      ——– ———— ——————————–
      3 cup onions, chopped
      1/4 cup honey
      1 Tbsp garlic, chopped
      2 Tbsp lemon juice
      1 cup sweet pepper, chopped
      1 Tbsp salt
      1/2 cup parsley, dried
      3 Tbsp lea & perrins
      1 cup dry white wine
      1/2 tsp mint, dried
      3 Tbsp vinegar
      1 Tbsp liquid smoke
      2 cup ketchup
      1/2 Tbsp louisiana hot sauce

      place all ingredients in a pot that is big enough to hold them. bring
      to a boil. cook, covered, on low heat for several hours.

      – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

  16. 2012/12/03 at 7:31 pm #

    As always, your recipes and food look and sound great! The green beans especially are worth a try! Cajun Night Before Christmas will be really good for reading to the crowd that comes to Christmas dinner–thanks so much for including it!

  17. 2012/12/03 at 8:41 pm #

    Up against the wall redneck mother (JJW reference)! It’s interesting to see a Hill Country girl go Cajun for Christmas. I always loved Justin Wilson too. (My dad loved his radio show way back in the day.) I don’t have the setup to deep fry a turkey because … I never really liked turkey enough to buy a special setup for it. I’m definitely down with some Dirty Rice though, and can make a meal of it. Excellent post, as usual!

  18. 2012/12/04 at 11:13 am #

    Wonderful post. Fried turkeys are just so good. I just did two over Thanksgiving. The only down side…no drippings to use in gravy, or dressing. Not that you need gravy for fried turkey, but maybe for mashed taters.

  19. 2012/12/09 at 1:48 pm #

    Reblogged this on Clear Sight and commented:
    More Christmas reblogs – this one going Cajun on y’all. Enjoy!

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