Classic Cajun Food and 4 Cajun Recipes

There are not many exact recipes in Cajun cooking, because most of it is done to taste not to measurements, and the same dish can be prepared a different way each time, even by the same chef. This is because Cajun cuisine is an art form and the result of the dish depends on the mood of the chef as well as what happens to be in the refrigerator and cupboards. This means creating classic Cajun food is largely about getting a ‘feel’ for the ingredients and flavors.

Although there are plenty of adaptations and tweaks you can make when making classic Cajun food, if you do want to follow a recipe it can be hard to find the right ingredients outside the New Orleans area. The fresh spices and seasonings can be hard to get, along with ingredients like Andouille sausage and fresh crawfish.

If you want to learn how to make classic Cajun food though, it is essential to get the ingredients so check grocery stores with Cajun seasonings or visit a specialty food market. A lot of Cajun recipes need time to simmer so set the scene with some jazz music and prepare for a wonderful eating experience like no other.

Louisiana Classic Cajun Food and Cooking

This cuisine began with some French residents in Nova Scotia expelled by the Brits in 1755. They were nomads for years then settled in the swamplands of Southern Louisiana, adapting their native cooking methods to whatever ingredients they could find in their new home.

Classic Cajun food is the food of hardworking country dwellers who are not unfamiliar with tough conditions. This practical, strong food is the hallmark of these Arcadians, the name given to the settlers. The word Arcadian was later shortened to Cajun.

A lot of classic Cajun food can be prepared in one pot. There are a lot of recipes that are hard to find in print because they have been passed down verbally from generation to generation, changing slightly with each one adding their own touches. The independent nature of the Cajun people is reflected in this cuisine and there are many recipes for common dishes, since every chef adds their own special flair.

Famous Cajun Recipes

Jambalayas and other rice dishes, etouffees, gumbos, and Cajun stews are famed now only in the United States but all over the globe, and a lot of these dishes begin with a roux to flavor and thicken them.

There are 3 kinds of roux in classic Cajun food – light, medium and dark, and the color deepens as the mixture is cooked. Light and medium roux are used mainly for thickening sauces, gumbos and etouffees, while the darker one is used for flavor.

Seafood is popular in classic Cajun food because it is native and available in the swamplands of Southern Louisiana, so plenty of recipes will include ingredients like shrimp, red fish, crawfish, crab, speckled trout, and oysters.

Other staple ingredients include rice, pork, beans, homemade sausages, black-eyed peas, beans, yams, tomatoes, figs, pecans, oranges, and okra. Game features in some Cajun dishes, such as turtles, frog, wild turkey, and duck.

Cajun Spices and Seasonings

What about Cajun spices? Actually not a lot are used in Cajun cooking and the bold, rich flavors come more from the long simmering times that the addition of spices. Cayenne pepper features in a lot of the recipes though, and this fiery spice is made from cayenne chili peppers.

Black and white pepper is also used in this cuisine, as is file powder or gumbo powder. This is made of dried, ground sassafras leaves. Another seasoning is Creole mustard which is spicy and coarse. Hot pepper sauces like Tabasco are typically found on the Cajun table.

This cuisine is unique to Southern Louisiana and classic Cajun food still retains the French influences from the original migrant settlers while making good use of its own local ingredients. This flexible, varied cuisine includes everything from comfort food to gourmet, exotic dishes, and there is something to tempt every palate.

5-Minute Cajun Shrimp
Large shrimp are flavored with thyme, oregano, garlic, cayenne, and paprika, to make this traditional Cajun shrimp dish. Simply add the seasonings then sauté the shrimp until done.
Cuisine: Cajun
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1½ lb (680g) peeled, deveined large shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Mix the thyme, oregano, garlic, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper in a Ziploc bag, shaking to mix.
  2. Add the shrimp and shake to coat.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over a moderate-high heat.
  4. Add the shrimp and cook for 4 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. When they are bright pink and the meat is no longer glossy or transparent in the middle, they are done.

Photo by Jodie Bowie, on Flickr
Grilled Chicken Cajun Style
This is a wonderful recipe for the grill. You will need to marinade chicken briefly in a seasonings including lemon pepper and garlic. Then you can grill it to perfection.
Cuisine: Cajun
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 10
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 10 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to ½-inch thick
  • 2 cups (500ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian-style seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons lemon pepper
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  1. Mix the oil with the Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, lemon pepper and garlic in a dish.
  2. Add the chicken and turn to coat.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the grill until hot and lightly oil the grate.
  5. Drain the chicken, discarding the marinade.
  6. Cook the chicken for about 7 minutes per side on the grill or until the juices run clear.

Photo by JeffreyW, on Flickr
Easy Crockpot Jambalaya
Jambalaya is one of the best-known Cajun recipes of all, and this recipe make use of your slow cooker to make the recipe even easier. This is full-flavored, hearty, and a treat for all the family.
Cuisine: Cajun
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 28 oz (800g) can undrained diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups (300g) chopped cooked smoked sausage
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 chopped large onion
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups (320g) hot cooked rice
  • ¾ lb (340g) raw peeled deveined medium shrimp
  1. Put all the ingredients except the rice and shrimp in a 3½ to 6 quart crockpot.
  2. Mix well then cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  3. Stir in the shrimp, then cover and cook on low for 1 hour or until they are pink and firm.
  4. Serve over the rice, adding some warm crusty French bread too, if liked.
Add more red pepper sauce before serving if you want, or stir in some fresh thyme and/or parsley when you add the shrimp if you like.

Andouille sausage is the type usually used in this dish because of its smoky, spicy aroma, but you can use leftover ham instead.

For attractive rice presentation, grease the inside of a ½-cup measuring cup with cooking spray. Press hot rice in there then unmold on to a warmed plate, spooning the jambalaya around the rice.

Photo by Ian McKellar, on Flickr
Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
Chicken is teamed with cream, tomatoes, green onion, linguine, and more. This recipe is wonderfully creamy and makes an indulgent, satisfying weeknight meal for all the family to savor.
Cuisine: Cajun
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 2
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, in thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 or 2 cups (250 to 500g) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • 4 oz (115g) cooked linguine
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, to garnish
  1. Put the chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl, tossing to coat.
  2. Sauté the chicken in butter for 6 minutes in a skillet or until tender.
  3. Turn down the heat and add the cream, onion, tomatoes, salt, basil, pepper, and garlic.
  4. Briefly warm this mixture through, then spoon over the hot pasta.
  5. Add the parmesan on top and serve right away.

Photo by Angels, on Flickr

Some More Hot Content For You

Other Posts You Might Like
  • Crockpot Coffee Braised Beef Roast
    Coffee might sound like a strange ingredient to combine with beef, but it does lend this crockpot coffee braised beef dish a very rich and tasty flavor which complements the meaty beef taste. This recipe can be made in the crockpot and you don’t need many ingredients for it. To make this crockpot coffee braised beef you will need a boneless beef chuck roast weighing about 3 pounds, or slightly over, along with coffee and garlic. Throw in some water, cornstarch, salt and pepper, and those are the only ingredients you need. Just add your crockpot coffee braised beef ingredients to the crockpot then you can use the cooking liquid to make .....
  • Plus-Size Fashion to Flatter Curvy Girls
    Although many stores carry plus-size fashion clothing these days for curvy girls, there are also stores designed with plus-size girls in mind where you don’t have to rifle through the racks searching for your size and everything is generously proportioned. These days plus-size clothes are not what they used to be. There is so much more choice and you can get some gorgeous pieces, items designed to flatter your curves rather than hide them, and clothing to enhance your best assets while disguising your least favorite, and that is something every girl wants to do regardless of shape or size. Range of Plus-Size Fashion Choices Because of an .....
  • Different Types of Kitchen Knives
    When you shop for kitchen knives there are a few things to think about because there are different types of kitchen knives for different things. You will need different knives for different purposes. A santoko, or chef’s knife, is important. This knife is long enough to use for slicing and carving. If you only had one knife, a chef’s knife is the one to go for. The next knife you will need is one you can dice, mince and chop with. This would be a utility, usuba or paring knife. Any of these would be ideal for preparing the ingredients to add to a dish. A long, thin knife like a carver or slicer is good for cutting meat, fish and .....
  • How to Make Vegetable QuicheHow to Make Vegetable Quiche
    Few things are as delicious as a good vegetarian quiche, and learning how to make vegetable quiche is something that any home cook can do with ease. You can include as few or as many veggies as you like, and choose from various types of crusts and fillings, to make your vegetarian quiche recipe perfect for your palate. Once you discover how to make quiche you will want to experiment with diverse crusts and fillings. Not only will you love the resulting quiche but your family are sure to love it too. Quiche is a healthy option, boasting the protein from eggs, the nutrients in the veggies, and it is also really filling and will keep you .....
  • Best Sci-Fi Movies of 2014
    Now that 2014 is well over half a year behind us, all the best sci-fi movies of 2014 are available on DVD, so rather than going to the cinema, why not curl up with some popcorn and a DVD this evening? I love this genre and managed to see plenty of movies last year. My husband doesn’t mind the genre but it’s me who is the real fan, so I’m going to share with you my top sci-fi movie recommendations!.....
  • Classic Prawn CocktailClassic Prawn Cocktail
    This classic prawn cocktail recipe combines succulent Atlantic prawns with a homemade Marie Rose sauce and more. Shell-on prawns are the best variety to use for both texture and flavor. Classic Prawn Cocktail: Tips for the Prawns You can make a nice risotto stock from the shells after peeling them too. Most Atlantic prawns are sold cooked and frozen and the best way to defrost them is to leave the in the fridge for several hours. Don’t defrost them in water because they will lose some of their flavour. When you peel them, you should split them almost in half through their backs and remove the bitter dark vein running through them. This .....
  • British Indian Food and How It All Began
    Indian cuisine is really popular in the UK, but British Indian food differs from authentic Indian cuisine. While some dishes are Anglicized versions of typical Indian dishes, others are Indian takes on typical British dishes, so there is plenty of fusion. Fish and meat are cooked as curries with Indian vegetables, and yogurt, almonds and coconut are typical ingredients in this cuisine. British roast beef for example can be modified with chilies and cumin to make a curried beef dish. Indian roast type dishes, rices, breads and curries all offer a distinctive Indian taste. Some examples of British Indian food include mulligatawny, fish .....
  • Bathroom Accessories to Jazz Up Your Bathroom
    Bathroom accessories can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your bathroom, and can be surprisingly cheap. Once the essential pieces are in place in there, you can begin the enjoyable task of accessorizing. With a small budget and a boundless imagination, you will be amazed how straightforward it is to liven up your bathroom. Choosing the Right Bathroom Accessories for Your Style There is a huge array of different cheap accessories available; however, you need to ensure that you choose the right ones for your style so you are completely happy with them. Bathrooms are an essential room in every home so you need to get the look and .....
  • Elizabethan Chicken in Cream SauceElizabethan Chicken in Cream Sauce
    This delicious Elizabethan chicken in cream sauce recipe features chicken breasts, a lean and healthy choice, as well as onion and chicken stock for the base. The real appeal comes when you add grapes and sour cream, transforming this dish into something fruity and unique. Nutmeg and cider vinegar add a spicy twist to the flavor, and this may be served on rice or on a bed of mashed potatoes. Like most of our recipes, this Elizabethan chicken in cream sauce is pleasingly simple to put together. First you need to brown the chicken and then just keep it warm while you prepare the rest of the dish. Golden pan-fried onions are then simmered with .....
  • Shrimp Wonton SoupCilantro Shrimp Wonton Soup
    Some people make wonton soup by dropping their filled wontons into their prepared stock and letting them simmer in there but others prefer to cook the wontons in water and then add them to the soup, so as not to make the soup cloudy. Since you are the cook and the one who is going to be eating the dish, it is totally up to you. You can prepare your cilantro shrimp wonton soup however you prefer. The first few times I made cilantro shrimp wonton soup I put the wontons directly in the soup mixture and let them cook in there, but then I experimented with cooking them in water and then lifting them into warmed serving bowls using a slotted spoon .....

Tasty Query - recipes search engine