Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nutria or Coypu?

Eat Me Save The Marsh

I am always asked about the Nutria having played many days in the Louisiana Swamps and cooked a few at a little swamp cafe. Back then as a lark I did a t shirt design with a cartoon face of a mean looking Nutria that said "Save The Nutria" but changed it to "'Eat Me, Save The Marsh." Seems people are afraid of the little critters that I found on my forrays into the swamp to be timid and cute. As with most swamp animals cleaning them is a mess but not as bad as the 50 turtles I caught once. Turtle meat is sought by local Chefs, not Nutria. Yet Nutria can be used in several Creole receipes. I have suggested changing the name on Menus to Coypu and trying the meat in an Asian stir fry but all my suggestions seem to fall away. Below is a home based receipe used in a crock pot or on the stove to then served on rice or noodles. When we did this at the cafe it was with frozen meat caught and dressed right there. At times trappers would give away the carcuss wanting only the hide. Try it if you can find the frozen meat in a store.

Coypu Crock Pot

About 2 cups Coypu dressed meat sometimes found in freezer at local stores.

The Creole Trinity of chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery, half a cup in equal portions.

Can of cut up tomatoes, or used the pre flavored diced ones, you pick the flavor.

Cut up carrots, about half a cup.

Cup of your favorite wine

Can of Chicken or beef broth

Clove of garlic, chopped

Pinch of salt and pepper.

Wilt the Creole Trinity in pan then add and brown meat. Place the items in a crock pot and cook almost 2 hours to the meat is tender. Serve warm over rice or noodles with your favorite hot sauce and crusty French bread and butter. At the Cafe seems the patrons preferred egg noodles but I did not know why. To vary I have added additional local grown vegetables like Broccoli Rab or Cabbage.

View those old Nutria and Swampt shirt designs at this link:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quick and Easy Shrimp Jambalaya

Last summer I visited friends and family in New York State. As usual they asked I cook up something from New Orleans for them but it wasn't easy finding the right ingredients locally in the area so I improvised. The local store did have rice, sausage, frozen shrimp but rather than making up a bunch of spices and tomatoes I substituted the canned stewed tomatoes with mild chillies. They did not have the brand, Ro-Tel but they had a national brand similar. I tasted as I went along and added a touch of the curry powder to make the taste a little more exotic and put out Tabasco brand hot sauce so they could spice it up to their taste. Below is about what I did but change it to tailor your taste. These items should be found in any store in the USA.

1 lb bag frozen peeled shrimp
1 lb bag link Polish Kielbasa Sausage
1/2 lb Long Grain White Rice
2 cans stewed or diced tomatoes with mild green chillies
1/4 cup cut up celery
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dash Curry Powder

Defrost the frozen shrimp a while. As usual sautee the onion, celery and bell pepper in butter to limp. Drain out the liquid from the canned tomatoes to measure to add back for the rice. Chop the sausage in thin round slices, the thinner the more it goes around. Prepare the rice as directed on the package usually 2 parts liquid to one part rice. Use the tomato liquid and add in any extra water to meet the rice directions. In a large kettle add the rice, liquid, trinity, (chopped o-b-c) and thinly sliced sausage. Dash in the Curry Powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Let cook per rice directions. About 8 minutes before the rice is done fold in the defrosted shrimp. Cook to done place in a fancy decorated platter and serve with bread and wine.
If you had time make a good easy bread pudding for desert.

I have this great Jambalaya t-shirt for sale here: