Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen is an exciting exploration of the new flavors that have made Louisiana cooking even better.
Chef Paul Prudhomme put Louisiana cooking on the map. Now Chef Paul returns to his culinary roots to show us how Louisiana cooking has evolved.
Today, the culinary influences of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and many other cuisines are being integrated into "traditional" Louisiana cooking. Chef Paul explores how Louisiana cooks have incorporated such newly available ingredients as lemongrass, fresh tamarind, and papaya into their dishes. As Chef Paul says, any Louisiana cook worth his or her salt will work with what's available — familiar or not — and turn it into something delicious. Andouille Spicy Rice gets its zing! from chipotle and pasilla chile peppers, and Roasted Lamb with Fire-Roasted Pepper Sauce is flavored with jalapeno peppers and fennel. Classic jambalaya, etouffee, and gumbo are reinvented with such far-flung ingredients as star anise, cilantro, yuca, plantain, and mango.
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Makes 4 side-dish servings
We know that Louisiana sweet potatoes are not yams, botanically speaking, but we've always called them that, and we even have a "Yambilee" in Opelousas, Louisiana, my hometown. You can serve this dish any time you would serve potatoes or plain sweet potatoesas a great accompaniment to roasted meat, especially porkand I think it turns a good breakfast into a great breakfast! Drizzle with just a little honey or cane syrup for an exciting change of pace. Yummmmmmmm!
Three 1-pound sweet potatoes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chopped onions, in all
8 ounces cooked ham cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped orange zest
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken stock, in all
1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Peel the sweet potatoes. Grate 2 of them, using the largest hole in the grater, and chop the third one into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.
3. In a heavy 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil over high heat just until it begins to smoke, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 cups of the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they are translucent and beginning to brown on the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the ham, two thirds of the grated sweet potatoes, and the seasoning mix; stirwell; then cook for 3 minutes.
4. Stir and scrape to loosen the brown bits, then add the remaining 1 cup onions, the remaining grated sweet potatoes, the diced sweet potatoes, garlic, orange zest, and 1/2 cup of the stock. Stir and scrape the skillet bottom, then bring the mixture just to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes. You will see that the sweet potatoes are beginning to soften and lose their bright orange color, while the orange zest adds the distinctive sweet flavor and aroma of citrus, a natural complement to sweet potatoes. Here the heat is fairly intense, apparent on the roof of your mouth. Add 1 cup of stock, then stir and scrape the skillet bottom. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping every 2 to 3 minutes, until the liquid evaporates and the hash becomes a rich golden brown, about 25 minutes. If, during this 25 minutes, the hash becomes too dry and starts to stick hard, add another 1/2 cup of stock. Increase the heat to high and cook, turning the hash frequently and spreading it over the pan bottom until it turns a medium brown, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.
Rice Pudding with Cranberries and Raisins
Makes 9 servings
If you've cooked or even read many of my recipes, you've noticed that I often specify "processed" or "Converted" rice, but in this case we don't want to use processed rice because we do want the rice to be sticky, which processing reduces. Think about it-when you're serving rice as a side dish with meat or chicken, you want it fluffy, with every grain separate, not sticky. But for a rich, sweet dessert, stickiness just adds to the fun on your palate!
Not that this delicious pudding needs a thing, but if you really want to go all out, you could make a fresh berry sauce to decorate the plate or pour over the top of the dessert.
5 cups milk
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/4 cup dried black currants
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. In a 4-quart pot, heat the fresh milk over medium heat just until bubbles form around the edge. Once you add the rice, you must watch the pot very carefully to be sure the mixture does not burn or boil over. We cooked ours over medium heat, but if your pot is not as thick-bottomed as ours, or if your stove puts out more BTUs than ours does, you may need to reduce the heat to medium-low or even low. Stir in the rice, cover the pot, and cook, stirring gently every 5 minutes to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot, until the rice is tender and sticky, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the currants, raisins, and cranberries. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
3. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, sugar, vanilla, evaporated milk, and cinnamon just until well combined. Stir this mixture into the rice mixture until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour the batter into an 8-inch square baking pan or casserole dish and bake until the top is lightly browned and a knife inserted into the middle of the pudding comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.