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Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen Hardcover – April 17, 1984
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the finest Louisiana's Chef's there ever was. He will be missed greatly. Love this book - I have bought two hardbacks over the years and now have the kindle version which... Read morePublished 23 days ago by FL-Gal
I actually own the hardcover version of this cookbook. I added it to my kindle to see if it would be easier to use while cooking instead of having the much bigger cookbook open and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by christopher bailey
Took me years to arrive at the point where Paul begins. Excellent!Published 1 month ago by D. E. Camp
My bible since leaving Louisiana in 1982. I needed to replicate some of the many flavors that I enjoyed while living there. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Elena McMillan
Classic cajun recipes by the the greatest, Chef Paul
If you follow the recipes, the results will be "taste bud heaven"