MADAME LANGLOIS PUTS DOWN THE PETTICOAT REBELLION
In recent weeks, Governor Bienville in his infinite wisdom has settled down the fierce rebellion led by the recent female arrivals from France. Confronted with Indian Maize and the so-called cornmeal, the ladies insisted on French (or at least Louisiana) wheat with which to bake their baguettes. Madame Langlois, the governor’s housekeeper and major domo, began to teach the rebellious females how to cook “in the New French” manner. Having achieved their husband’s resounding approval of these new dishes, the ladies have settled into their place and now work together to build the colony on the Gulf Coast.
The above silliness is by way of announcing a shift of focus for the New Orleans TriCentennial blog you have been reading for many years now. The Petticoat Rebellion, in publication since 2014 is now being merged with our new book, Madame Langlois’ Legacy (Publication, Summer, 2019). Since the new work grew out of ideas generated by the original history, recipe, and stories of The Petticoat Rebellion, it continues the culinary adventures of Gerard, Suzanne, and some new characters as they unknowingly go about creating the Creole Cuisine that has made our region world famous.
As a way of introduction to the new work, this blog will be posting some story excepts, some historical vignettes, and – of course – some of the new recipes for you to try out. So keep reading, keep the reviews and comments coming in, and most of all enjoy the le bon vivant that makes life worth living here on the Gulf Coast!
Here’s a teaser for those cold Louisiana winter nights:
. . . my potager will yield up some onions, a head of celery, and a garlic to add to the stew. Yes, this is going to be one good stew.
A Corn & Pork Stew
Colonials would have used salt pork in this recipe,
especially in summer
½ lb crisply cooked bacon
6 ears corn, silk removed and washed
1 lb. cubed pork
1 small finely chopped onions (sweet if possible)
1 small bell (green) pepper, diced
2 or 3 stalks of diced celery
1 toe garlic, minced
1 or 2 handfuls wheat flour ( if available)
rice flour is the next choice, cornmeal the last resort
1 cup water
2 small spoons of butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
Cook and crumble bacon. In same pan, brown the onion and pork cubes. Melt butter or fat in a large stew pot, add the bacon drippings. Finely chop the onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic; add to the pot and sauté over medium heat for 8 minutes. Cut the corn kernels off the cob. Fold in corn and cook an additional 15 minutes. While the corn is cooking, cut your pork into bite size pieces. Do NOT discard the fatty bits, (remember, fat = flavor). Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. If you feel you need a more “soupy” stew than cooking down the juicy corn provides, add the cream at the end and heat through. Serve over hot cooked rice.
Frere Gerard would have prepared this dish when he returned from the market and let it sit in the coolest place he had available until suppertime, OR he would have waited until the sun began to set to cook the stew. After all, it was July!
During the last years of Frére Gerard’s life, another group of Frenchman arrived in Louisiana. They had come from Acadia, forced out by the British. Since 1710, during Queen Anne’s War, the British in New England gained control of French Acadia, renaming it Nova Scotia. For the next 50 years, a state of war existed in the province between the French Acadians allied with the native Mikmacs and the British occupiers. By the late 1750’s, the Acadians were finally being rounded up and shipped overseas to other British ports in America. It was during this period that some Acadians arrived in French Louisiana, where their name was shortened to “Cajuns”. They eventually settled in the bayous to the west and south of the capital city. The corn stew described above was adapted by these Acadians, or Cajuns, into a one dish meal still popular all across south Louisiana.
A MODERN RECIPE FOR MACQUE CHOUX:
If freshly shucked corn is unavailable, frozen is an acceptable substitute, and canned will work. If using canned, use 2 cans (14.75 ounces each) of whole and 1 can cream-style (14.75 ounces).
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup diced celery
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ears of corn, shucked (about 4 to 5 cups)
1/4 of a 10 ounce can of diced spiced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 ounces crawfish tails, cooked and peeled
3/4 ounce pimentos
Melt butter in a medium sized pot. Add onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic and sauté over medium heat for 8 minutes. Fold in corn and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove about 1/4 of the corn mixture from the pot and puree it in a food processor. Return the pureed corn to the pot. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for approximately 8 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice.
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