Bayou food for you

Joan Dragonfly, Wikimedia Commons

Boil up some crawfish, corn on the cob and potatoes for a real treat.

I have always appreciated Creole and Cajun cooking. Perhaps because my favorite type of food is seafood; especially shellfish. So glad I don’t have any shellfish allergies like many people do.

I used to follow Emeril Lagasse’s shows on television and wanted to make everything he demonstrated. I don’t know if life just got too busy for watching cooking shows, or if I started to lose interest, but over time, I felt like the “BAM” man wasn’t in my field of interest anymore. I think a lot of the recipes eventually became geared more for dinner party hosts who wanted more gourmet, fancier (and thus time-consuming) meals.

Well, I do not entertain, and I live so simply that not many people would ever dream of being impressed by me, my down-home mountain life or what’s cooking in my kitchen. Except for family, and hopefully some of my kitchen pals who follow this column.

Anyway, here are some recipes that fit right in with Louisiana-style cooking, and they are not fancy. Hope you enjoy them.

Shrimp and corn chowder

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup chopped leek (white and light green parts only)

3/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup diced poblano pepper (about 1 pepper)

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup flour

1 quart hot (at least 140 degrees) vegetable broth

2 cups water

2 cups diced peeled Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4 medium)

2 cups heavy whipping cream

3 cups fresh corn kernels

1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large fresh shrimp

Garnish: sliced fresh chives, hot sauce

1. In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add leek, bell pepper, celery, poblano, garlic, salt, Creole seasoning and black pepper; cook until vegetables begin to soften.

2. Add flour and cook until flour begins to turn golden in color. Increase heat to medium-high. Add hot broth and 2 cups water, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen browned bits.

3. Add potato and cream, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are softened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Add corn and cook for 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp are pink and firm, 5 to 10 minutes. (I do not care for squishy shrimp, so the firmness is a must for my tastes.) Garnish with chives and hot sauce, if desired. Makes about 3 1/2 quarts.

Cat’s shrimp andouille chowder

I have shared this recipe before, but in case anyone missed it, or lost it, here it is again.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 to 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch dice

3/4 to 1 cup each diced onion, celery and carrot

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 cup flour

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced (at least 1 1/2 cups)

1 pound medium to large raw shrimp, peeled

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon each chopped fresh thyme and coarse (kosher) salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1. In a soup kettle, heat butter over medium heat. Add sausage and saute, stirring occasionally, until sausage is browned. Stir in onion, celery, carrots and sweet potato. Saute, covered, until vegetables are tender. Add garlic, lower heat to medium-low.

2. Uncover kettle and stir in flour evenly over vegetables. Stir to thoroughly mix and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gradually stir in 1 cup chicken broth until flour is well blended into the liquid. Slowly add remaining chicken broth, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. (If soup is thicker than you like, add a little more broth or water.)

3. Increase heat to medium-high, slowly bringing mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Add shrimp and reduce heat to medium. Cover pot and simmer until the shrimp is done.

4. Add cream and remaining ingredients (lime juice, thyme, basil, salt and pepper) and simmer a minute or two.

Creole red beans and rice

1 pound dried red beans

2 large onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped