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Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen Hardcover – April 17, 1984

4.8 out of 5 stars 249 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There was once a time when words like étouffée, tasso, and jambalaya were hardly known outside of the Cajun and Creole communities of Louisiana. Then along came Chef Paul Prudhomme, and all of that changed. Big enough to be his own force of nature, Prudhomme all but single-handedly turned Cajun cooking into a national food trend, changing forever the way many a cook thinks about spicing food. And Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen was the book that made it happen. But guess what? It's still happening, and so is the book!

Anyone looking for a primer on Cajun cooking need look no farther. Chef Paul takes the reader by the hand and opens up a world that includes four kinds of roux, Jalapeno and Cheese Rolls, Shrimp Étouffée, and the to-die-for Cajun Meatloaf. Good old-fashioned Red Beans and Rice and Sweet Potato Pecan Pie are not forgotten either.

Chef Paul tested all of his recipes in a home kitchen using common culinary tools--no professional equipment needed here. These are recipes that are high in spice, so remember to have a large vat of water on hand! --Schuyler Ingle

Review

"It is no exaggeration to say that the finest and most definitive regional cooking in America is that of Louisiana, generally known as Cajun and Creole....Paul Prudhomme is the panjandrum--the greatest authority and practitioner--of that school of cookery and his book is absolutely essential on the cookbook shelves of anyone who cares about a great aspect of American cuisine."-- Craig Claiborne"Paul Prudhomme cooks up unique and exciting combinations of flavors with unusual foods generously spiced with his Cajun humor and joy."-- Alice Waters of "Chez Panisse, " Berkeley, California"At long last, the alchemy of Cajun-Creole cooking made possible for everyone!...Paul Prudhomme is a free culinary spirit, an American original, and his delicious new cookbook is bound to be a classic."-- Jean Anderson, author of "The Grassroots Cookbook" and co-author of "The New Doubleday Cookbook""For years amateur and professional chefs alike have waited patiently for Paul Prudhomme to share in print the recipes for his wonderful Cajun and Creole dishes, and I think it's safe to say that this collection will serve for years to come as a definitive statement on America's most exciting style of regional cooking."-- James Villas
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (April 17, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688028470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688028473
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (249 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher I. Lehrich on November 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This spectacular cookbook beats out even Julia Child for one special thing: no matter what he tells you, do it.

Cajun cooking is based on a number of principles not all of which are normal in the French-American styles dominant in most cookbooks, and which still aren't normal in the Asian-influenced or Italianate cookbooks that have increasingly garnered attention.

Loooong cooking times, in some cases. Very high heat. Complicated sauces. Intricate spicing. Cooking "the hell out of" some ingredients.

These things are antithetical to Chinese, Japanese, French, Italian, and Spanish cooking, from which come almost everything you might think you know about cooking. The whole concept, in so many cases, is to "bring out the true flavor" of some ingredient, which prompts all that "fresh and perfect" stuff about ingredients. All of which is grand, of course, but a little arch, don't you think?

This kind of Cajun country cooking, however, often takes unwanted ingredients, or ones that are a tad old, and makes something spectacular out of them. Looks like hell, tastes like heaven: it's brown and gooey, but by god you'll get down on your knees and beg to be allowed just a little more!

Now if you're an accomplished home cook and you've never cooked this type of cuisine, you're going to find instructions that you will naturally want to ignore. The Sweet Potato Pecan Pie, for example, has you bake it for something like an hour, at high heat. So quite naturally, you assume it's a typo or something and you "correct" it in the cooking. DO NOT DO THIS. My wife did this with that pie, and it was very good. I did exactly what I was told and it was spectacular, just absolutely to die for.

Here's some examples.

Barbecue shrimp.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a chef, and this book is THE Bible of Creole/Cajun, or as it's now called Southern Louisiana cooking. Wonderful book, now in about it's 80th printing! I use it all the time.

I truly consider this book one of the best cookbooks ever from the USA. It ranks up there with "The Joy of Cooking" and "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" as classics, or standards that all serious cooks need to have in their library.

Many people think that New Orleans has the best food in America, and Paul is without a doubt one of the best New Orleans cooks. If you want to explore one of the only true American cuisines, this book is a must.

As a hint for those worried about the 'heat' levels in some of these foods, do what professional chef's do: Simply start with 1/4 the amount of 'hot' ingredients when you make a recipe. You can always add more heat if you want it, but you can't take it out!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!
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Format: Hardcover
Later on in his career, Chef Paul Prudhomme took up low fat cooking to save his life. However, this book was written before he got "religion" and is not for the fat-conscious.
Having said that, can there be anything in this book for people who do not wish to eat a lot of fat? The answer is "yes" and here is why: Chef Prudhomme gives a very useful set of techniques to maximize the flavors that make the complex spice bouquet of real Louisiana cuisine.
As an example, I have used the Jambalaya recipe in this book many times. It is different from most recipes for this rice-sausage-and-meat cassarole. Prudhomme's version is served with a wonderful spicy tomato sauce surrounding a molded cupful of the rice mix. This is a very elegant presentation, adds moisture and flavor to the dish...and allows you to substitute ingredients and still get the sense of the genuine thing. (I use turkey Kielbasa, cut way down on the oil and use lean chicken breast for the meat.) The sauce is what makes this work so well.
Chef Prudhomme recommends "building" flavors by adding spices and herbs in stages. Some at the beginning, sauted at first, some later on near the end, to freshen the taste. He also makes a very important instruction about the miripoix mix--the onion, green bell pepper and celery base of many Cajun and Creole dishes. He says it's best to cut the vegetables, especially the bell pepper, very fine as that preserves the taste. It's true. Larger pieces of pepper taste bitter and flabby.
This kind of advice makes Prudhomme's book extremely useful. If you follow the flavor building advice, you can cut out a lot of the fat and substitute lean meats and still get good results from this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I've had this book for most of twenty years. Although I have several other Cajun and Creole cookbooks, I find that I hardly ever cook anything from them. Prudhomme's recipe always wins out.

Case in point: We found a sale on shrimp, so we decided to make an etouffee for lunch. Figuring that I'd choose an easy recipe (hey, it's the middle of a work day!) I pulled out a copy of The Gumbo Book. Nice, straightforward recipe. But Prudhomme's recipe is more interestingly spiced (such as including thyme), and it isn't THAT much more work. End result: the first cookbook went back on the shelf.

There are some really stunning recipes in this book. Few of them are fast, and more than a few really benefit from having two cooks in the kitchen. However, they are ALL worth the effort. I have had people beg me to make his Cajun Sheppherd's pie again; my housekeeper drools whenever we make that etouffee. In fact, I don't think I've ever made anything from this book that made me shrug and say, "That was only okay."

This isn't the book to haul out on an exhausted Thursday night. But the recipes here are a wonderful example of the reasons NOT to cut corners; when you take the time, these recipes will give you an outstanding meal.

Two caveats: You won't find much here for spice wimps, and it's not a great choice for vegetarians.

If you're going to own only one book on Louisiana cuisine, this is an excellent candidate.
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