Cajun cuisine from down South is closely related to Acadian cuisine from Acadia and uses most of the same ingredients and techniques.
By Bryan Picard
“Cajun” became the term for “Acadian” after the deportation of the French people from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia down to Lousiana in 1755. For generations Acadians depended on their hunting skills to survive. When snow and ice covered the land during a Canadian winter, what they could find to eat was rather limited. However, there were (and there still are), a lot of hare (lièvre) and wild fowl, like partridge (perdrix), to feed one’s needs. These animals, though smaller than deer or moose, are more abundant and can be eaten the same day as the hunt. Acadians used meats mostly in stews (fricots as they called it).
Traditional Acadian dishes are straightfoward and are often prepared using a single pot. You can find out more in the cookbook A Taste of Acadie.
- 3-4 chicken breasts each cut in 5 pieces
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 chopped green bell pepper
- 2 chopped celery stalks
- 2 cups (5dl) of chopped tomatoes (fresh or tin)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- a handful of chopped parlsey
- a pinch of cayenne
- salt + ground black pepper
- Season the meat with salt. Optional: Marinate overnight in red wine, thyme, salt, pepper and oil.
- In a sauté pan, heat some oil and brown the chicken pieces for about 2 minutes on each side.
- Set aside.
- In a pot, on medium heat, cook the onion, pepper and celery in the butter for 10 minutes.
- Once they’re soft, add all the other ingredients and the chicken. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season the casserole with salt and be generous with the black pepper.
- Serve over brown rice.