Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cajun Stew? Soup? or Stoup?

I have been trying to use all my existing freezer stash since this summer's produce season is already knocking at the door.  After doing no grocery shopping for a month you would think we would have used most of the inventory but you would be wrong.  I don't know if I just seriously overbought groceries during the year, or maybe we ate at restaurants a few countless times too many.  Or perhaps it was a combination of the two.  No matter which is to blame, I am still using any and everything I can for the next few weeks.   I really do need to have it almost empty and defrosted before I begin filling it again with summer's bounty.

I stood at the door of the freezer looking through the frozen veggies, trying to decide how to use several packages in one meal.  I wanted a vegetable dense meal so I pulled out a pack of lima beans, okra and tomatoes, yellow squash, tomato chunks,
and a bag of individually frozen pepper strips.  I still had no clue what I was going to do with it all until I actually started putting it in the pot, then an idea began to gel.

Cajun Stew or Soup

1 pack frozen lima beans*
1 pack frozen okra and tomatoes
1 pack frozen summer squash
1 pack frozen tomatoes
1 bell pepper cut in strips ( or the frozen equivalent)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 large onion, julienned
1-2 teaspoons cajun seasoning ( I used Tony Chachere)**
1/2 cup uncooked rice
2 shrimp bullion cubes ( no idea why these were ever bought but I have them so why not use them)
water as needed ( start with 2 cups and add more as necessary to keep the food from sticking)
1 pound smoked sausage cut into "coins"
1/2 pound crawfish tail meat
Add the first 10 ingredients to a large covered pot.  Cook until the vegetables are tender and the rice is cooked. Keep a close eye on the liquid in the pot adding more water to thin it down to a more soup like consistency if desired.  Add 1 pound smoked sausage and 1/2 pound crawfish taill meat. Heat through till everything is bubbling. Serve in bowls with cornbread for a complete meal.

This is similar in flavor to gumbo but has quite a different texture.  ( Plus there was no standing there stirring a roux for an hour!) Everyone seemed to like it which is a very good thing since it made enough to feed eight people.  I am putting some in the fridge for the weekend.  Can you say leftovers?

* These packages of frozen veggies are all home frozen in quart bags.  There is probably slightly less than a quart of produce in each package since I like them to freeze them as a flattened pack so I can stack them for easier storage

** Taste this for salt.  I thought between the cajun seasoning and the bullion cubes there was more than enough salt, but I do not like salty food.  You might need to add a tad more to taste.

p.s.  This was much better reheated and served 2 days later.  The flavors had time to meld into bites of deliciousness.  The entire dish was smokey flavored with undertones of crawfish.  I will definitely make this again, but I will wait until the weather is cool again!

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