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5 easy pieces, part 4: greens with andouille

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By foodorleans · November 30, 2012 · 0 Comments ·
There's a fantastic recipe called "Voodoo Greens" in The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine by Chef John Folse that produces the most amazing greens I've ever had.  The recipe calls for no fewer than 6 types of meat and sausage, 8 types of greens, and takes hours of simmering, but the liquor that accumulates in the pot is highly addictive. We've made Voodoo Greens before to go along with a big pot of black-eyed peas for New Year's, and I've seen friends drink the greens juice straight from the bowl.

I want a bowl of meaty greens sometimes without the hours of work, though.  This is a shortcut method for a side dish that works well with fish, pork chops, meatloaf, or chicken, or as something to toss with freshly cooked pasta.  You can also use it as an omelet filling (just make sure you drain off the juice).  Get green!

greens with andouille

  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage, casings removed, sliced in quarter-circles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 to 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large bunches of greens (I used mustard and collards), stems trimmed and leaves chopped or left whole, as desired
  • red wine vinegar, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat and pour in the oil.  Saute the andouille for about 5 minutes, until browned.
  2. Add the garlic and stir for a minute. Pour in 2 cups of chicken stock and start adding the greens a few handfuls at a time, until they wilt down enough to all fit in the pot.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes to an hour, until the greens are very tender.  Keep checking the liquid level and add more chicken stock if necessary to keep the greens from drying out and burning.
  4. Season to taste with red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and Tabasco.

serves 4 to 5 as a side dish

MORE EASY PIECES: part 1: smoked salmon breakfast pizza; part 2: roasted potatoes and turnips; part 3: butter bean hummus

time for treats: boudin and greens potstickers

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By foodorleans · October 29, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

Paul and I love to eat treats! Anything small, bite-sized, warm, and savory pretty much does the trick.  And the best thing about these potstickers is that they're easy to cook--really, really easy.  You have to be in a bit of a crafting mood to fill them and pleat their little edges, but the cooking itself is easy-peasy.

Normally, potstickers are filled with raw pork or shrimp and cabbage, and the filling gets cooked as the dumplings steam...but I always have trouble getting the filling to cook through before the wonton wrappers become sad little soggy flaps.  Using a cooked filling, such as boudin (sausage made from minced pork and rice), solves the cooking problem PLUS makes great use of local ingredients, or even leftovers.  If you don't have boudin or greens, or don't like one or both of those things, use other cooked meats, seafood, or vegetables.  Just make sure everything is chopped really fine before stuffing the potstickers.  

These are my filling ingredients: 1 link of boudin (roughly 1/3 pound), simmered in water for about 10 minutes and removed from its casings, and about 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked mustard greens. For the greens, I simmered a few handfuls in a pot with chicken stock and garlic for about an hour, then seasoned with salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. I let them cool completely and then chopped them up to make sure there weren't any big pieces of stem.  You can easily use canned greens, well drained, or frozen chopped greens, or substitute cabbage or any other kind of green you have sitting around and being leafy.  The main thing to note here is that this filling amount, roughly 1 cup total, will fill about 20 potstickers.

The workstations: filling, a little dish of water, and round wonton wrappers. Mine look janky because I accidentally bought square wrappers and had to cut them into circles with scissors. 

Working with 2 to 3 wrappers at a time, dip your finger in the water and moisten the edges completely. You can use a brush, but it takes longer.

Put just a teaspoon of filling in the center of each wrapper...

and fold them over, pressing the edges to seal.

To pleat the top, fold a tiny bit of the top edge backwards, then squeeze hard between your thumb and forefinger to get the pleat to hold.  They don't have to be perfect.

Keep going until you have 4 to 5 pleats across the top, then press down on the potsticker to flatten the bottom and get it to stand upright, with a little pleat "mohawk" on top.

The cooking has two steps that go quickly: Saute the potstickers in oil for a few minutes to brown them slightly on the bottom,

then add a little stock, cover, and steam until they're tender. Done!

These are great as an appetizer or snack with a traditional ginger-and-soy dipping sauce, or, if you use boudin, you might want to try dipping them in Creole mustard just like you would with a plain boudin link.  Or if you really want to feast, go ahead and float some of these in a big bowl of gumbo.  We won't judge.

boudin and greens potstickers

  • 1 link boudin sausage (about 1/3 pound), cooked according to package directions, cooled, and removed from casings
  • 1/2 cup cooked and seasoned mustard greens, cooled and finely chopped
  • about 20 round wonton wrappers
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chicken or beef stock, divided
  • Creole mustard and/or soy sauce, for dipping (optional)

  1. Combine the boudin and greens in a small bowl.  Have a small dish of water nearby.
  2. Working with 2 to 3 wrappers at a time, dip your finger in water and moisten the edges of the wrappers completely.  Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the edge over, pressing the wet edges together to seal.
  3. Put 4 to 5 pleats in the top of each potsticker by folding a tiny bit of the edge backwards and pressing firmly to make it "hold."  When each wrapper is pleated, press it down slightly to flatten the bottom and make it stand upright. Repeat with all the filling and wrappers.
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place one tablespoon of oil in the pan, swirl it around, then add half the potstickers (or a third of them, depending on size of pan).  Saute gently for 3 to 4 minutes, until the bottoms of the potstickers are light brown.
  5. Pour in about 1/3 cup of stock, cover the pan, and simmer gently until the potstickers are tender and the filling is very hot, about 4 to 5 minutes. (Make sure they don't run out of liquid in the pan or they might burn.)  
  6. Serve hot or at room temperature with Creole mustard, soy sauce, or a combination of both for dipping. Or put them in your gumbo and be awesome.

Makes 20; serves 3 to 5 people (easily doubled or tripled)

hoppin' jen (aka a big bowl of peas n greens)

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By foodorleans · January 25, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

Happy 2011, everyone!  Carnival season is well underway.  About 5 weeks left til Mardi Gras.  Our garage has undergone an intense cleaning.  Arcade Fire will be at Jazzfest. We're going to try a small garden. It's shaping up to be a great year.

We were in Oklahoma over New Year's, and didn't get a chance to make our standard black-eyed-pea and greens feast that we've enjoyed since moving here...but here's a simple recipe for some down-home greens 'n peas that'll fit the winter soup bill and sneak in some luck before January's out.

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surprised by pie: Mother's

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By foodorleans · June 9, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

Mother's is a New Orleans institution, famous for long lines, great grits, and heavenly baked ham.  The first time I went there, I ordered a ham po-boy--the ham is what's touted on their sign, after all.  But maybe I shouldn't have gone for the ham the first time.  It's the most perfect ham sandwich in the world.  The problem is that I can't order anything else on the menu.  I'll try the jambalaya or red beans or grits that other people at my table order--and bless them for doing that--but I'm committed to the ham po-boy above all else.

This is it.  I know it doesn't look like much, but trust me, it is the holy grail of ham sandwiches.  The truth lies in the simplicity and honesty of the ingredients:  shaved baked ham, shredded cabbage, mayonnaise, Creole mustard, pickles, and fresh French bread.  The ham is slightly sweet, the cabbage has a PhD in crispness, and the mayo and mustard create a background chorus that Ray Charles would hire on the spot.  I know I'm hyperbolic, but do you know that I would never get hyperbolic unless I felt it was my duty?  Because I wouldn't, I promise you.

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