Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Creole or Cajun

Quarantine cooking is challenging. Thank goodness I have had experience cooking in San Miguel before we had grocery stores like La Comer or Soriana. It wasn't unusual to change up a recipe because we couldn't find the ingredients or sometimes dinner party menus were made as you walked through a market and saw what was available. You learn to substitute and improvise.

One day last week I was digging through the freezer and found one frozen chicken thigh. I could maybe make a little pot of chicken vegetable soup. Then I remembered that I had bought a small package of smoked sausage and that reminded me that I had frozen some okra because too much came in a package when I made okra and tomatoes about three weeks ago. I had the holy trinity, green pepper, onion, and celery. Now things were starting to get interesting. This was adding up to something Creole or Cajun. But what is the difference between the two?

Good ole Google found some good references including The Spruce Eats. Both Creole and Cajun can include roux but the Creole will be made with butter and flour while the Cajun will be made with lard or oil and flour. Creole dishes, even if a gumbo, will have a tomato base and is soupier. The Cajun gumbo usually has a dark roux base and is more like a stew. 

I didn't want to take the time to make a roux so I decided to use my ingredients along with some tomatoes and make soup and I would pour it over rice. When I put the pot on the stove for making rice, the thought ran through my mind that I would have two pots to wash after dinner. Mmm... Why not just throw some rice in my no-name creole recipe and I would only have one pot to wash. It turned out to be a pretty tasty dinner.

BTW, I looked up whether I should capitalize Creole and Cajun. It was a little muddled from different sources but I like the one that said "In some contexts, Creole is used as an adjective, and in some, it is a noun. (We capitalize it in New Orleans, however, so that is how you will encounter it here.)" I'm going with the New Orleans crowd. 


  1. Wow! What creativity! And a tasty result.

    1. Thanks. Not my best creation but it was tasty.

  2. Nice piece. I have long followed Nika Hazelton's advice that being tied to a recipe is the equivalent of Stalinist planning. She taught me the far more Jeffersonian approach of buying what is fresh and combining it into something new. I am grateful to her for that one lesson.

  3. I agree with the Jerrersonian approach except during quarantine, it has to be something that is in the pantry or fridge combined into something new.