A post over at PawPaw’s House tickled my memory and reminded me that I needed to put in an order for Boudin with the motherland’s finest purveyors of specialty meats.
And it showed up yesterday afternoon.
That big chunk of meat at the top is Tasso. It’s used more as a flavoring. I use it in red beans.
You just can’t get real southwestern Louisiana ingredients around here. Sure, they have mystery meat labeled Andouille. But it’s not the real deal. It’ll have filler in it. This stuff doesn’t. Just spicy, smoked pork goodness. The Smoked sausage has filler, to some extent, but it’s still way meatier than the utility stuff up here. And real Boudin cannot be had. The stuff I see at the local grocery here is disgusting looking.
Dressing mix is the dirty bits for dirty rice. Livers, gizzards and assorted organ meats. I’ve never seen it outside of Louisiana. Sure, you can make dirty rice old school. But this is easier. It’s the same guts, just mixed in proportion to what you need.
I go back and forth between Don’s Specialty meats and Cajungrocer.com. We typically swing by Don’s and Nunu’s on our way out of town. This time I hit Don’s. They called a day later or so to tell me that they were out of dressing mix, and they had none at the factory. This caused an existential crisis for me. It’s the end of October. I need to start laying in supplies for Thanksgiving. Both the Missus and I cook like fiends for the holiday. And the spread isn’t complete without dirty rice, made the way I make it.
So I hit cajun grocer and found they had none either – but this:
I’ve never had that brand, but I bought three. Then, turns out I wasn’t listening to the lady at Don’s. It was Richard’s rice mix they were out of . They shipped the other brand I ordered.
Once you’ve spent time in Cajun country, you realize that dusting something in red pepper and burning it isn’t Cajun. You can’t really replicate the flavors unless you get the food. I find that with other products, like rice. Louisiana rice tastes different, richer. So does the shrimp and most definitely the crawfish. That Chinese crap is horrible.
My wife bought some to make Etoufee. While she was cooking, I spied the bag and gasped “Wow! Chinese crawfish…what would your mother say?”
“It’s not Chinese…Look, it says Boudreaux’s”
I pointed at the “Product of China” label.
Thus started a fit. One she’s never forgotten. To this day, she’ll scrutinize the packs. We were in Nunu’s, about to head out and wanted to pick up a few packs of frozen crawfish, and all they appeared to have was Chinese. My wife was incredulous. An employee asked if she needed help, and she told him she couldn’t believe all the crawfish was Chinese.
He led her to the special freezer with the good stuff. The local stuff.
And all was right with the world. As it is now, for the time being.