Saturday, May 30, 2015

Cajun Grillades 'n' Sun Dried Tomato Grits

     Grillades and Grits!
     Grillades and Grits are a traditional Louisiana breakfast item.  The pan gravy can be plain and simple or fancy.  Today's fancied up grillades gravy recipe has a full range of Cajun flavors.  
     For Louisiana Cajun cooking, the Trinity is the key to creating the base flavor of most sauces, soups, gumbo and jambalaya.  The Trinity vegetable combination is 2 parts onion, 1 part bell pepper and 1 part celery.  Green onion is added separately.  Green onions are usually called shallots in old Cajun recipes.
     There are rules of thumb for making roux for a sauce in Cajun cuisine.  Dark meats require a sauce made with a white or blonde roux.  Light color meat or fish requires a sauce made with a dark brown roux.  A sauce made with a red or reddish brown roux can be served with meat that has a color that is somewhere between light and dark.
     Most of the rest of the Cajun cuisine cooking rules are abased upon 200 to 500 year old French cuisson techniques, but cooking traditions that are uniquely Cajun do come into play.  Native American ingredients are incorporated in Louisiana Cajun cuisine.  Canadian Acadian Cuisine makes use of wild game, but the food looks like very old pre 1700 French cooking.  
     African and Spanish ingredients are also incorporated in Louisiana Cajun recipes.  Louisiana Cajuns adapted many cultural food resources into their cooking over the years, but the cooking techniques remained traditional Cajun with Native American cooking influences being retained.  As one can see, Louisiana Cajun food is down to earth early American self sustenance at its best.  Cajun food is all about flavor!
     Sun Dried Tomato Grits: 
     This recipe yields 1 large portion of grits!
     Step 1:  Place 3 sun dried tomato halves and 1 cup of water in a sauce pot over very low heat.
     Simmer till the sun dried tomatoes are tender.
     Drain the water off of the sun dried tomatoes.
     Dice the sun dried tomatoes and set them aside.
     Step 2:  Boil 1 1/2 cups of water over medium high heat in a sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 cup of stone ground old fashioned hominy grits.  (Instant grits are taboo!)
     Stir the grits with a whisk, so they do not become lumpy.
     Bring the grits to a boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add the reserved sun dried tomatoes.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Stir the grits occasionally, till they become soft and thick.
     *Add a splash of water if the grits become too thick.  The grits should be thick enough to slowly pour off of a spoon.
     When the grits are tender, keep them warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.
     Cajun Grillades of Pork: 
     This recipe yields 1 hearty portion!
     Country Style Pork Ribs actually are a lean section of a boneless pork shoulder that is close to the rib section.  Pork loin can also be used for today's recipe.
     Step 1:  Cut 3 slices of boneless country style pork rib that weigh 2 to 3 ounces apiece.
     Pound the pork cutlets flat with a meat mallet or wine bottle.
     Lightly dredge the flattened pork cutlets in flour.
     Step 2:  Heat a wide sauté pan or wide cast iron skillet over medium heat.
     Add 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add the floured pork cutlets.
     Sauté the cutlets, till they are lightly browned and fully cooked.
     Remove the pork cutlets from the pan and set them aside.
     Step 3:  Leave the pan over medium heat.
    *There should be about 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter left in the pan.  Add enough unsalted butter to increase the volume to 2 tablespoons total.
     Add an equal amount of flour to the butter in the pan, while stirring with a whisk, to make a roux.  (The roux should look shiny, not caky!)
     Constantly stir the roux as it cooks, till it becomes a reddish brown color.
     Step 4:  Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped celery.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped mixed red and green bell pepper.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped jalapeño pepper.
     Stir the hot red roux as it "grabs" the vegetables.  (The vegetables will stop the roux from cooking any further.)
     Stir the roux and vegetables for one minute.
     Step 5:  Add 1 finely chopped green onion.
     Add 1/2 cup of ham broth.
     Add 1 1/4 cups of pork broth.
     Add 1 ounce of dry white wine.
     Stir the mixture with a whisk as it thickens.
     Step 6:  Bring the sauce up to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Step 7:  Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon pinches of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 2 to 3 pinches of cayenne pepper.  (to taste)
     Step 8:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Stir the sauce.
     Return the grilled pork cutlets to the pan.
     Gently simmer the grillades and gravy, till the sauce becomes a medium thin consistency that easily coats the pork.
     Step 9:  Keep the grillades warm over very low heat.
     Remove the bay leaf before serving.  Add a splash of pork broth is the gravy is too thick.
     Cajun Grillades 'n' Sun Dried Tomato Grits with Sunny Egg: 
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 or 2 eggs.
     Cook the egg sunny side up or however you prefer your eggs!
     Step 2:  Place a portion of the sun dried tomato grits on the plate.
     Place the grillades on the plate.
     Pour the Cajun gravy over the grits and grillades.
     Place the egg on the plate.
     Sprinkle a little bit of thin bias sliced green onion top over the grillades and grits.
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     This is a lip smackin' good tasting Louisiana Cajun breakfast!          

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