Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras Meats: laisser les bonnes viandes rouler

At the Goose, we like to think Fat Tuesday comes once a week. But today is the big one: Mardi Gras! Stop by the Goose for your Cajun and Creole fixings and join the parade.

We've stocked the case with treats for Louisiana lovin'. Our creole mustard chicken sausage is savory and sweet with just a little kick. This loose sausage is like a string of beads...it goes with everything and turns any average dinner into a party on a plate.

Cut from the pork shoulder, tasso is a Cajun staple. Peppered and smoked, each bite of the Goose's tasso is packed with flavor and lends aromatic sweetness, a spicy bite, and piquant porky flavor to any dish. In Acadiana, you can bet tasso is in the jumbalaya but Cajuns also use it to flavor braised veg, stews, gravy, even crab cakes.

The Goose's andouille is inspiring...which we always suspected but confirmation comes from bayou-raised Jane, a regular Goose customer who grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana, and married a Cajun with a good appetite. "His parents are foodies," Jane writes. "Food is a regular topic for the entire family with many recipes exchanged."

We get the impression that a lot of those exchanged recipes are originals, dishes that nod to tradition but let Jane and her family learn more about their heritage products in a new time and a new place. "Your andouille gave me the opportunity," Jane wrote to the Goose when she sent the following recipes that get us hungry for Mardi Gras meals.

Butternut Squash and Andouille Gratin
The sweet vegetables and smoky sausage make a delicious contrast. For more sweetness, sweet potato can be used in combination with squash.
1 medium butternut squash (3 1/2 - 4 lb)
4 shallots, pelled and halved across equator
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 oz andouille, halved lengthwise then cut into slices 1/4" or thinner
3/4 cup half-and-half
salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
2 cups grated firm, nutty cheese (like Gruyere)

Heat oven to 350F. Using a Y-peeler or very sharp knife, peel the butternut squash . Cut in half and remove the seeds (a butter curler does this job easily). Chop the squash into 3/4 to 1" chunks. Combine with shallots in a alrge bowl and toss with vegetable oil. Roast squash and shallots until tender, 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the andouille in a dry skillet then drain on paper towl. Set aside.

Raise oven temperature to 400F. Return roasted vegetables to the large bowl and mash coarsely with a potato masher or pastry blender. The layers of the shallots will seperate; if not, rub gently between fingers to seperate them. Add the andouille, half of the half-and-half, and salt and pepper to the bowl. Fold into the squash. Pour mixture into a 1 quart au gratin dish or shallow casserole. Pour reminder of half-and-half over top and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbling around the edge, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Fingerling Potatoes with Andouille
1 1/2 lb fingerling potatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil, split
1 large onion, halved then thinly sliced
2-3oz andouille, halved lengthwise, then cut into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
chopped fresh Italian parsley to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 350F. Wash the fingerlings with water, drain in a colander. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and toss in colander to drain any excess liquid. Spread on a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet with sides and roast till just done, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While potatoes are roasting, heave a heavy-bottomed large shallow pan or a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl remainder olive oil around the bottom and add sliced onion. Cook till onions are lightly browned, stirring periodically. Lower heat to medium, add andouille and rosemary, stirring to blend. Cook for 3 minutes more. Add fingerling potatoes, stirring into onion mixture. Cook 5 more minutes to finish potatoes. Turn off heat, cover and let stand 10 minutes to marry the flavors. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

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