Eat Like a Local

These recipes were chosen by their versatility. Cajun food is not the easiest to make and according to Chef Patrick Beeson, most people don’t follow a recipe when cooking which makes it difficult to replicate. These recipes chosen can be easily substituted for ingredients commonly found across the country. These are some of the classic Cajun foods to eat like a local.


  • Prep Time15 min
  • Yield4


    • 5 ounces pimento-stuffed olives (1 cup), sliced, plus 2 tablespoons of liquid from the jar
    • 6 ounces chopped giardiniera (pickled Italian vegetables) (1 cup), plus 1 tablespoon of liquid from the jar
    • 2 tablespoons drained capers plus 2 teaspoons of liquid from the jar
    • 3 ounces pitted Calamata olives (1/2 cup), sliced
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
    • 1 pinch of crushed red pepper
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 large loaf seeded Italian bread (about 1 1/4 pounds), split
    • 1/4 pound sliced fresh mozzarella
    • 6 ounces sliced capocollo or prosciutto
    • 1/4 pound sliced Genoa salami
    • 1/4 pound sliced mortadella
    • 1/4 pound sliced mild provolone cheese
    • Peperocini for serving



    In a medium bowl, stir the pimento-stuffed olives with the giardiniera, capers and their respective liquids. Add the Calamata olives, garlic, shallot, oregano, parsley, thyme and crushed red pepper. Stir in the olive oil and let the mixture stand for 1 hour.


    Open the Italian bread on a work surface. Spoon the olive salad on both sides of the bread and spread evenly. Arrange the mozzarella slices on the bottom half of the bread, then top with the capocollo, Genoa salami and mortadella. Arrange the provolone cheese on the top half of the bread, covering the olive salad completely. Carefully close the sandwich. Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic and let stand for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Cut the sandwich into 8 pieces and serve peperoncini on the side.

    Shrimp & Grits

    • Prep Time15 min
    • Cook Time25 min
    • Total Time40 min
    • Yield4


      • 4 cups water
      • salt and pepper
      • 1 cup stone-ground grits
      • 3 tablespoons butter
      • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
      • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
      • 6 slices bacon chopped
      • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
      • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
      • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
      • 1 large clove garlic minced


      • Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.
      • Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well. In grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turns pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes.
      • Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately.


      • Prep Time20 min
      • Cook Time25 min
      • Total Time45 min
      • Yield4


        • 1/2 pound mild smoked pork sausage substitute high-quality pork sausage
        • 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken thigh meat
        • 1 1/2 pounds onions diced
        • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
        • 1 pound tasso cubed substitute smoked ham
        • 3/4 tablespoon whole fresh thyme leaves
        • 3/4 tablespoon chopped fresh sweet basil leaves
        • 1/2 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
        • 1/2 tablespoon white pepper
        • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
        • 1/3 gallon chicken stock
        • 1 1/4 pounds long-grain rice
        • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped curly parsley leaves


        • The most important thing is to use the right equipment: a 2-gallon cast iron Dutch oven and a large stainless steel chef’s spoon.
        • Use high heat to preheat the Dutch oven and add the sausage. Using a chef’s spoon or large spoon, constantly move the sausage from the bottom of the pot. Be careful not to burn the meat.
        • Add the thigh meat and brown the chicken on all sides. Again use the spoon to scrape the meat from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot. Browning the sausage and chicken meats should take 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the thigh meat to the point that it shreds.
        • Lower the heat to medium and add the onions and garlic; sauté for about 15 minutes or until the onions are very limp and “clear”. Scrape the bottom of the pot to remove all the “graton”. This is where the jambalaya gets its distinct brown color and taste.
        • Add the tasso, thyme, basil and black and white pepper. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. This will give the seasonings time to release their oils and flavors.
        • Add the rice, reduce the heat to medium and gently break up the rice. Using the stainless steel paddle, continue to insure that the rice is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
        • After about 5 minutes, fold in the parsley. Continue to scrape the pot to insure that no rice sticks to the bottom. When the jambalaya returns to a boil, reduce heat to the lowest possible setting and simmer, covered, for at least 25 minutes. Do not remove the cover while the rice is steaming.
        • If Manda’s brand sausage is not available, any lean smoked sausage can be substituted. You may have to remove any excess grease from the pot after frying down an unknown sausage.
        • If no stocks are available, then chicken soup base can be used. Be careful with your seasoning, as bases are usually full of salt.
        • The jambalaya is best when served directly out of the cast iron pot.

        Shrimp Po’boy

        • Prep Time15 min
        • Cook Time10 min
        • Total Time25 min
        • Yield4


          • 1 pound shrimp (16 count per pound), peeled and deveined
          • salt
          • Freshly ground black pepper
          • 2 cups flour
          • 1/4 cup water
          • 2 cups cornmeal
          • Tabasco substitute with Franks
          • French bread substitute with ciabatta To assemble
          • Shredded lettuce To assemble
          • Tomatoes To assemble


          • For the fried shrimp: Preheat oil in fryer to 360 degrees. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the shrimp in the flour.
          • Make an egg wash with the egg and the water. Dredge the shrimp in the egg wash. Dredge the shrimp in the cornmeal. Fry the shrimp until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined plate to get rid of excess oil.
          • To assemble: Slice the French bread and toast lightly in oven. Spread mayo and place lettuce, and tomatoes on the bread. Place fried shrimp on bottom bun.

          Red Beans and Rice

          • Prep Time2 hr
          • Cook Time3 hr
          • Total Time5 hr
          • Yield6


            • 1 pound red beans (dried)
            • 3 quarts water
            • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
            • 1 green pepper seeded and chopped
            • 4 stalks celery chopped
            • tablespoons Salt to taste
            • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
            • 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning substitute with old bay seasoning
            • 1 pound sausage
            • hot cooked rice


            • Place red beans into a large bowl, and cover with water by several inches. Soak overnight.
            • In a large soup pot, add the oil, garlic, green pepper, onion, celery. Sauté for a few minutes.
            • Drain and rinse red beans, add them to the soup pot with the vegetables. Cover with water and cook over medium to low heat. Season pot with salt, black pepper, and Creole seasoning.
            • Reduce heat to low and cook until beans are tender, about 4 hours. When beans are tender add the sausage cut into bit size pieces. Stir to combine and let the flavors come together over low heat for 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
            • Red beans should have a thicker liquid. If water starts to run low just add water slowly so it doesn’t create the consistency of a soup, these are very creamy beans. Serve red beans over hot cooked rice.