Here Are 6 ‘Uniquely’ Louisiana Foods You Can Try Today
Louisiana is home to probably the most culturally diverse cuisine in the country. The differences in dishes and cooking styles along I-10 alone are more diverse than in most places, but there is so much that is unique to the state of Louisiana that it seems impossible to quantify it all.
Our cuisine is characterized by the use of bold and diverse ingredients. From the "Holy Trinity" of vegetables (onions, bell peppers, and celery) to seafood, andouille sausage, okra, rice, and spices like cayenne, thyme, and bay leaves, these ingredients create a tapestry of flavors.
Several of Louisiana's best dishes are pretty well-known, though. Gumbo is associated with the state. Jambalaya is attributed to the state, too. But are there any foods that are both unique to Louisiana but also pretty well unknown outside of the state?
Louisiana boasts food festivals like Mardi Gras and the Crawfish Festival, where regional specialties are celebrated. Additionally, the state's love for cooking is deeply ingrained in its culture, with family recipes passed down for generations.
One Reddit user asked the question last year, and the whole thread was flooded with foods we all know but rarely see or hear about outside of the state.
Here are some of the top responses. How many of them have you had?
This one is pretty unique to south Louisiana. In fact, when I asked a couple of people the same question that was asked on Reddit, this was their answer. According to Wikipedia, chaudin, which is the French word for "stomach," is "also referred to as ponce or Southern Louisiana Ponce, is a meat dish from southern Louisiana, US, (primarily the southwestern portion of the state)."
Taking the lining of a pig's stomach, a sausage maker would stuff it with a mixture of (often spicy) pork and herbs, along with rice in some instances. Like most sausages, it can be smoked.
These rolls, which are usually fried and stuffed, are hard to find outside of Louisiana. You can buy the rolls, but what do you do afterward? Several recipes call for boudin or crawfish and rice. Some others call for meat and cheese mixtures. You can bake or fry the stuffed rolls and serve for a meal.
Couche couche is a traditional Cajun dish in south Louisiana. It was long a staple of Cajun families, and people still rave about it today. Made by combining cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and milk/water, it is mixed until it becomes the consistency of "damp sand," according to one recipe you can find online. Cook it until it dries out a bit and becomes crumbly, and it can be served with a variety of things, like milk, cane syrup, figs, or even with pork cracklins.
Here's another one you don't see much outside of south Louisiana. This classic Cajun side dish, according to the New York Times, is a "sweet, hot, juicy, milky, buttery combination of corn, onions and peppers. It’s often cooked in rendered bacon fat and enriched with heavy cream." There are variations based on what kind of pork you render out to cook the vegetables in, and other variations depending on what kinds of vegetables you like. But the basics are the same: corn, some sort of pepper, rendered pork, and cream.
Tasso, sometimes called tasso ham, is a smoked piece of pork that usually comes from the shoulder. It's rubbed with a mix of salt, cayenne, and garlic, then hot smoked until it's cooked through. It preserves the meat well and can be used in a variety of ways. It can be sliced and served alone, or chopped and used in jambalaya, red beans, or other Cajun dishes.
Emeril Lagasse's website describes it as a "traditional New Orleans dish for the slow cooker in all its peppery glory." This sauce/stew is usually served over rice and is cooked slowly as the flavors develop. Peppers, tomatoes, and some sort of meat - from andouille to alligator - make this dish beloved in Louisiana.
Did We Miss Anything?
There are loads of responses in the original Reddit thread. But are there some that should definitely be included here?
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Gallery Credit: Joe Cunningham