Easter Traditions: Cajun Easter Foods and Recipes
From Acadian to Cajun
Cajun is a name for a culture of people with a rich intermixed heritage and lots of good food. I know about them because of three people: a chef called Justin Wilson, whom I used to watch on TV for two years of Saturday monrings; a preacher with a sense of humor, Jesse Duplantis; and a fiddler I used to watch on TV when I was a child and I don't know his name at all.
Chef Wilson used to talk to his food as of it were a person. I have tons of recipes from that show. Jesse used to ride a motorcycle in New Orleans and sometimes chased prostitutes on foot down the street with a Bible smiling and shouting, " I want to show you something." - got to have a sense of humor. The Mafia took a liking to him, so it helped.
I don't know what became of the fiddler, but I liked his music.
The Cajuns are a lot like the Metis peoples I've been writing about in my Native American Nations series on HubPages.
Acadians Don't Give Up
Acadians In Nova Scotia
The original Acadians arrived in Canada around 1600 AD, arriving from France as explorers that included others from Spanish, Irish, Scottish, English, Basque, and First Nation/Native American families.
These Acadians settled in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, as well as a few small communities in the State of Maine, but largely in a place called L'Acadie.
Unfortunately, the soon-to-be "Cajuns" were driven out in the middle of the 18th century by the British. Their farms were burned down and many were killed in shipwrecks as well. Longfellow wrote a poem about the people and their trials in attempting to reunite their families down in Louisiana after the expulsion - Evangeline. Please see a poignant excerpt form its ending below.
Some families are still trying to find relatives in Canada and Louisiana 300 years later.
They migrated all the way southward to South Louisiana, and Native Americans have done before, and intermarried among the Native Americans, French, Spanish, German, and American (British descent) peoples.
The Acadian people picked up a lot of cooking traditions and I have a box full of their recipes. Their foods carry the legacy of over 400 years of joys and sorrows.
"Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie"
Still stands the forest primeval; but under the shade of its branches
Dwells another race, with other customs and language.
Only along the shore of the mournful and misty Atlantic
Linger a few Acadian peasants, whose fathers from exile
Wandered back to their native land to die in its bosom.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, excerpt
Cajun Fiddle by Miss Emily
Cajun Easter Ham
- A pre-cooked 6-pound boneless ham
- 2 whole large sweet potatoes
- 2 whole Bartlett pears
- Half a stick of butter
- 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped coarse
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup fig preserves (optional) - you might use apricot instead
- 1/2 cup pecan pieces
- pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, and file (fee-lay) seasoning.
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 Bartlett pears halved lengthwise
- Cajunized Glaze (see below)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Poach the sweet potatoes and pears together in hot water in a cooking ot over medium heat until fork tender. Drain and cut into 1-inch size cubes.
- In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat and the add onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are wilted, 5 minutes.
- Add sweet potatoes & pears, raisins, and figs and sauté longer until everything is blended and looks like a fruit compote or chutney. Add your seasonings and the nuts and mix well.
- Remove pot from heat and cool on the counter top (set it on a hot mat).
- Slice the ham horizontally through the middle about ¾ of the way and fill the center with the seasoned fruit mixture up about an inch. Cover the top of the ham and pin into place with metal skewers. Cover the ham top with pear halves and glaze. Bake just about 25 minutes.
- 1 cup cane syrup or white sugar
- 1 cup Creole-style or your favorite type of mustard
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon file seasoning or sassafras leaves, crumbled (I like these)
Free Easter Coloring Page
Doug Kershaw - Cajun Fiddler - Still Playing
Cajun Rice Dressing
Serves 12 or more
If you want a vegetarian dressing, eliminate meat and checken soup and use additional vegetables like eggplant and mushrooms.
- 1.5 lbs ground chuck
- 1 lb calf liver diced or ground (or use hot spicy sausage)
- 1 can each, cream of chicken and mushroom soups
- 2 cans French onion soup (or 2 pacxkets and make it up)
- 2 cans cream of celery soup
- 2 cups chopped bell pepper
- 2 cups chopped green onions
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions
- 4 cups cooked rice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cayenne pepper to taste
Preheat Oven to 300 degrees F.
- Brown all meats and drain off the grease.
- Add Onions and Bell Peppers and cook until onions are transparent.
- Add green onions and sauté for one minute.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix. Pour into casserole dish and bake at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes. Don't let it dry out by overcooking.
Smothered Fried Cabbage
[I've been looking for my recipe since Christmas. I'm making it before Easter!]
- 1 Large head of cabbage (white, not red), chopped coarse
- 8 ounces of bacon
- 1 Large onion chopped coarse
- 6 cups of water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place cabbage and onions in a large pot.
- Cut bacon into 3-inch pieces and add into the pot. Boil over medium heat until cabbage is tender and water is gone.
- Add a tablespoon of EVOO, sugar, seasonings and fry the cabbage until golden.
- Serve as a side dish or as a main course over your rice dressing.
Sweet Crust Pie
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of Salt
- Half a stick of butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
- Add egg and mix together.
- Combine flour, salt and baking powder and add slowly to butter mixture, beating well.
- Roll dough out in to portions on a floured board to about 1/4 inch thick and place the crust into a greased 9-inch pie pan.
- Pour blackberry, raspberry, or fig preserves into the crust and add top crust and crimp edges.
- Bake at 350 degrees about an hour until done to the test (knife blade comes out clean).
© 2008 Patty Inglish
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