♪♪ -"Cook's Country" is about more than just getting dinner on the table.
We're also fascinated by the people and stories behind the dishes.
We go inside kitchens in every corner of the country to learn how real people cook, and we look back through time to see how history influences the way we eat today.
We bring that inspiration back to our test kitchen so we can share it with you.
This is "Cook's Country."
♪♪ Today on "Cook's Country," Bryan heads down to Cajun Country and shares his version of rice dressing.
And Ashley makes Bridget stuffed turkey wings.
That's all right here on "Cook's Country."
♪♪ ♪♪ -I headed down to Cajun Country in Marksville, Louisiana, to try to get my hands on some authentic Cajun rice dressing.
I found out two things -- Cajun hospitality is the real deal... -Hey, Pop.
-...and these folks know how to have a good time cooking.
-The pig started, whoo, whoo, whoo, and then flew off the chain and landed in the yard.
[ Laughter ] -For Cajuns, food isn't just about eating.
It's a reason to celebrate.
-The Louisiana culture is more about a community.
Whenever you go to the fire department dinner or the turkey dinner, you could show up there, and they might not even know who you are.
"Oh, come on, Auntie.
Come stir this pot for us."
-I met up with Clark Rachal, a local boucherie expert, at his friend's hunting and fishing camp on the bayou.
He and his friends have been doing these large-scale Cajun cookouts their whole lives, and they agreed to cook a cochon de lait just for me.
-What's the occasion for boucherie?
-Just everybody get together.
Friends, family, neighbors, whatever.
It didn't matter.
-No special occasion.
Just nice, cool weather, we'll have it.
We'll set up a boucherie.
-Clark has been cooking these big family-style pig roasts his whole life.
Now he and his buddies travel the country, cooking all over... -Eating, drinking, having a good time, socializing with everybody.
-...sometimes for fun and sometimes for more than that.
-Two times this year after the hurricanes, we just loaded up all our pots, and we cooked for 750 people in Luling.
And then we went to Cut Off, and we cooked for 1,500 people.
-Jambalaya and white beans.
I mean, those people down there, you drive down the road, there was nothing left to houses.
-After being seasoned and injected, we cooked the pig in front of a live fire.
-All right, what we got, we lit the fire.
We're getting our good coal bed going because it's not really the fire that cooks it.
It's your coals.
-And, of course, it wouldn't have been a Cajun cookout without enough sides to stretch for a country mile.
-We have our cracklin pot and then fried meat.
Whenever you go to a boucherie or something and somebody says, "Oh, we doing fried meat," oh, yeah.
A bunch of seasoning and just some little chunks of pork meat.
And then Todd's gonna go cook some rice for us.
He's got a big 30-cup rice cooker.
-I wanted to find out more about the rice dish that brought me all this way.
And Mr. Todd was more than happy to share his knowledge.
So tell me what you got going on here.
-I always call it dirty rice.
Some people call it rice dressing.
I think they're the same dish, but I don't think there's any two people that make them quite alike, you know?
-So this is the beginning of dirt.
It's a Sunday dish around here.
What does it say on the container?
Ground chicken gizzards, hearts, and livers.
Our parents, they ground the stuff up.
They mixed it with a lot of rice.
It went a long way.
-And they called it dirty rice.
And then our generation has brought in more meat.
-More meat, and, yeah, well, just more flavor, you know?
After simmering the dressing base for a good hour or so, we tossed it together with the rice.
-Keep scooping rice and mixing.
-That's the best-looking rice dressing I've ever seen.
-[ Laughs ] After a long day of cooking, it was finally time to dig in.
-I think Cajun is just when you're cooking and having a good time, you're putting a lot of love into whatever you're doing, a lot of seasoning.
You know, that's just how we are.
-We had a great time cooking and eating down in Louisiana.
I could really get used to this way of living.
It's an interesting cooking culture.
A bunch of guys got around, cooking.
I mean, it's not common in a lot of parts of the States, I don't think, you know.
-Louisiana is one of a kind.
♪♪ -So, Bryan, I heard you have a new nickname -- the Undercover Cajun.
-Yeah, I am now an honorary Cajun, thanks to everybody down there.
What a great time.
What a great bunch of people.
And they really know how to cook.
-It looked like you were in your element -- outside, nice pig by the fire.
-I have to say, of all the food we ate that day, one of the things that stole the show was this Cajun-style rice dressing.
-Yeah, it was so good.
And so we're gonna get started with that today.
-We want to start by cooking our rice.
We want to end up with 6 cups of cooked white long-grain rice.
So we're gonna start with 2 cups.
Now, I've gone ahead and rinsed this.
And we're just gonna add it to our rice cooker.
We're gonna make a sauce component and the rice component separately, and we're gonna stir them together at the end.
So we're gonna use a ratio of one part rice to 1 1/2 parts liquid.
We're gonna use water today.
So it's 2 cups rice and 3 cups water.
Hit the button.
[ Music plays ] -It's my favorite tune.
[ Laughs ] Means dinner's coming.
-Okay, so while that's going -- This could sit for a little while, so that's why we get it started ahead of time.
We're gonna start our base here.
So we're gonna have 4 tablespoons of butter that we're gonna melt over medium-high heat.
To our melted butter, we're gonna add three slices of chopped bacon.
Now, the bacon is there to really add a nice flavorful base to this dish.
So we'll let that cook.
We're not looking for it to get crispy.
We just want to render it out for about 3 minutes or so.
So while the bacon is cooking, we're gonna prep up our Trinity.
So the Trinity in Cajun Country -- bell pepper, onion, and celery.
-We're also gonna add some scallions to that today.
So we have one bell pepper already cut, one onion already cut.
We're gonna cut a second one of each.
And we're looking for a fine dice on this.
So I like to start off by cutting them all into little matchsticks, little batons, and then we'll go back, and we'll cut them all into a dice after they're all in strips.
So that's two bell peppers all day.
Oh, I hear the bacon.
Starting to sizzle.
-Yeah, you can start smelling it, too, huh?
We're gonna mince up our onion.
-Now, when you were down there, did they prep all this outside, or did they prep it inside and cook outside?
-Yeah, that was one of the most amazing pieces of it, is that, like, everybody has their hand in prepping.
There were several picnic tables lined up.
Everybody jumped in.
It's not like you're hosting a party by yourself and then you're stuck cooking alone in the kitchen.
-Cooking was the party.
I had such a blast.
I mean, I really appreciated so much that they were able to host us.
So celery, we're gonna also cut this finely.
-So you're making everything about the same size.
So it kind of cooks at the same rate and also sort of melts into the rice.
And we're gonna clean up our scallions.
You want to cut the scallions just to shave off the root end.
I cringe when I see people just chop off a big chunk of the white.
Any of the soggy or floppy ends of the greens here.
-They tend to get dried out as they sit in the grocery store.
And we're gonna cut these in about a 1/2-inch slice.
-That's quite a big chop.
We don't want them to melt as much as the rest of the vegetables.
They're gonna add a little bit of substance to it.
I love scallions.
It's the one herb I have all the time.
-You call it an herb?
I mean, I'll get behind it.
-I like it.
-Yes, I am.
[ Both laugh ] -I like that you're calling it an herb.
Okay, so our bacon is looking good.
-But it's not, like, super-crispy or anything.
So now we can add all of our Trinity to it.
So we have our two bell peppers, a couple of onions, and our stalk of celery, and our six sliced scallions.
And along with that, we're gonna add four minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme, a teaspoon of black pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon of table salt.
Now, we're gonna let this cook till they're just softened.
Takes about 7 minutes or so.
While that's going on, we're gonna talk about the chicken livers.
-This is a very distinct part of the dish.
It adds a lot of flavor.
It's an integral part of the dish.
-We have 8 ounces of chicken livers here.
-Now, when you're doing a boucherie or you're roasting a whole pig, you typically would have a pork liver.
Pork liver is a little bit hard for us to come by, but chicken livers are always in the grocery store.
We are going to finely chop these.
-Now, if you've never worked with livers before, they have a little bit of sinew on them.
You just want to kind of slice that off and remove it.
-And then we'll just run our knife through.
This could be a very coarse chop.
I'll go through once and give everything a coarse chop.
And then I'll run my knife through it like I was chopping some parsley or something like that.
-Yeah, but they really break down with the heat once you add them to the pot.
They sort of melt in there.
-They break up very easily.
-And the finer you can chop them, the better, because then they'll really melt in and really just leave their flavor behind.
Those livers are all done.
I'm gonna go wash my hands.
And we can let the vegetables continue to cook.
-All right, Julia, it has been about 7 minutes.
You see the vegetables are soft, and it's really smelling good.
-So now we're gonna add our meat to it.
So we have 1 pound of ground pork.
Now, I've seen some recipes that use ground beef.
They added some ground beef to theirs.
They also buy a particular mix of ground-up organ meats.
-I saw that in the little container.
-Yeah, and they sell it as rice dressing fixings.
We're gonna add our minced chicken livers, and now we can add our seasoning.
-I see you have all these spices lined up, which reminds me -- They had that green canister of seasoning that they just put on everything.
What was that?
-Yeah, it's the catchall seasoning.
That's Tony Chacere's Creole seasoning.
Now, you can't walk 2 feet in Cajun Country without kicking a can of that or stepping on a snake.
It's -- One of the two things is gonna happen.
-I don't think I've ever seen that in our supermarkets around here, though.
-It's sometimes hard for people to find it outside of Louisiana.
So we mimicked a version of it here.
So we're gonna use a tablespoon of paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons of granulated garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of celery salt.
Love that stuff.
-It's a secret weapon.
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon of table salt.
We're just gonna mix that in.
-So celery, salt, paprika, cayenne -- Those are the heavy hitters.
-And the garlic.
And, you know, we added fresh garlic and we added granulated garlic to this.
-Yeah, I noticed that.
-I feel like there's a difference.
And I do that a lot at home.
-I just feel like they both contribute to something a little bit different, and both of those are wonderful things.
-Yeah, I agree.
-And so we're gonna cook this for a little while, but we also want to add another 2 tablespoons of butter.
We want there to be enough fat in the bottom of the pot so that meat begins to sizzle and fry in its own fat.
We're gonna help it along with this butter, and it'll really form a nice fond in the bottom of the pot.
So we'll work this in here.
And we'll let this cook away for a good 15 minutes.
[ Sizzling ] All right, Julia, it's been 15 minutes.
You can hear the meat actually sizzling, and you can see that we're also developing a nice little bit of fond in the bottom of the pot.
A ton of flavor in this thing.
So we're gonna add 3 cups of chicken broth.
And as we add that broth, we'll just scrape up any of that brown fond on the bottom of the pot, just incorporate it into our broth.
And then we're gonna add another six scallions cut the same way as the first six.
-That's a lot of scallions, too.
-Well, you want a good scallion hitter at the end.
You know, a nice hit of freshness.
-We're gonna let this come up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low, and let it cook down for a good 15 minutes or so to really concentrate the flavor.
All right, Julia, smell that?
It smells wonderful, right?
-It smells delicious.
-Imagine an entire day on the bayou just smelling this.
-[ Chuckles ] -Okay, so this has been simmering for 15 minutes.
It's reduced and concentrated, so we can kill the heat and add the rice.
And we'll just drop our rice right in there.
And along with our 6 cups of cooked rice, we're gonna add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
Notice we seasoned all the way throughout.
So, and then we'll just mix this up.
If I had to pinpoint the moment during that -- that weekend where I was... -Ooh.
-...became the honorary Cajun, it was my rice mixing skills.
-Tell me they made fun of you just a little bit to make you feel part of the crowd.
-If you didn't get made fun of, you weren't supposed to be there.
-[ Laughs ] -I got made fun of a lot.
-So they liked you?
-Yeah, I hope so.
[ Laughs ] I hope so.
I hope that's what that meant.
-Ooh, that looks good.
-And we have some hot sauce, if you'd like.
-Hot sauce, of course.
-I'm gonna put it on one side.
That way, I have an unadulterated side that I can really just taste.
-That's a lot of hot sauce.
-I like spicy food.
I should have added more cayenne to this.
-[ Laughs ] -All right.
-This looks delicious.
It has flavor for days.
I taste the meat, obviously, the richness of the liver.
You get the Trinity.
I get all the spices you added.
I can actually taste the celery salt just a little bit.
-Yeah, this is absolutely one of my favorite dishes.
-And let me just point out that the livers are there, but they're not overwhelming.
-It just adds a richness.
-Bryan, this is delicious.
-So if you want to make some Cajun rice dressing, start by using a ratio of 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups water.
Build fond in the bottom of the pot before you add broth and reduce the broth mixture before stirring in cooked rice.
From "Cook's Country," a killer recipe for Cajun rice dressing.
I can see you sweating over there a little bit.
Is this spicy for you?
-Well, you know, I'm out of practice.
-I might be more Cajun.
I think I could use more hot sauce.
-I make you an honorary Cajun.
-I'll take it.
♪♪ -Back in the 1960s, the late Laura Broussard ran one of the first soul food plate lunch spots out of the back of her home in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Now, the place, known as Laura's, served great square meals at fair prices.
And her granddaughter has continued this tradition at her restaurant, called Laura's II.
Now, Ashley's here, and she's going to showcase a great recipe.
Kind of a tip to the hat to Laura and her granddaughter.
-Ah, to those amazing women.
People line up really early at Laura's to get the stuffed turkey wings.
-And rightly so.
I mean, they are absolutely delicious, and they're also huge and so comforting.
I mean, each wing weighs 2 pounds.
So we came back and did a bunch of research and did some tinkering and came up with a recipe of our own.
-Very excited about this.
-We're gonna start with our own spice blend.
-And I'm gonna start with 1 3/4 teaspoon of some paprika.
Then I'm gonna add 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic, a little bit of salt and pepper.
We have 3/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
And we have some onion powder.
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder.
And then a little bit of celery salt, which is gonna provide that back note, that sweetness.
And finally, 1/4 teaspoon of some cayenne pepper.
Just enough to say "hello" to you.
So I'm gonna give this a nice mix here.
And I'm gonna measure 1 1/2 teaspoons, which we're gonna reserve for later.
We're gonna be stuffing the turkey wings with not only the Cajun spice blend that we made, but also some garlic.
So what I'm gonna do is, I'm going to separate the drumettes from the flats, and I like to use a nice, sharp boning knife.
So what I like to do is let the weight of the bird do the work for me.
Oh, that is a nice sharp knife.
-Yes, nothing better.
I'm gonna do nice long cuts.
And sometimes, depending on the turkey wing, I give it a little crack if I don't see where the two bones meet.
I mentioned that at Laura's their wings are a good size.
Those are about 2 pounds each.
The ones that we can find pretty much in the grocery store here are between 14 and 16 ounces each.
And, again, you're gonna get four total.
So we have the drumettes, and we have the flats.
Right now, I'm gonna go through and make some incisions so that we can stuff them.
So on the drumettes, you're gonna make two 1-inch incisions, about 1/2 inch deep, right on either side.
-Creating little pockets.
I'm gonna make one 2-inch cut along the underside of the flat, and I'm gonna do about 1/2 inch deep again.
You want to create a pocket, not a channel.
-Now, before we talk about the garlic, we're just gonna be seasoning the turkey wings.
So go in and around the pockets there.
-[ Sniffs ] Ooh, smells good.
We've got a good amount of garlic.
I have eight cloves here total... -Ooh.
-...that I've halved lengthwise.
I'm gonna put one half in each hole of the drumette, and then in the flats, I'm gonna put two.
-So it's two per turkey part.
-Two per turkey part.
This garlic is just going to bloom and get really nice and soft.
-It almost disappears into the turkey.
And if any of them pop out, nestle them right back in.
-As it cooks, the turkey just kind of wants to hold on to that garlic.
-So fear not.
-As would I.
-[ Chuckles ] Now we are gonna start the cooking process.
I have 1/4 cup of vegetable oil heating up over medium-high heat, and you can see that it's shimmering really nicely.
-And we're gonna brown the turkey.
I'm gonna put the turkey in and brown it on both sides for about 5 minutes.
10 minutes total.
And there's definitely enough room in there.
Just kind of want to nestle them together.
-One batch, baby.
-So you definitely need a big Dutch oven.
-That's for sure.
No saucepans here.
-I'm gonna brown these on both sides for about 5 minutes per side.
10 minutes total.
-Don't those look beautiful?
-"Beautiful" is the right word.
-[ Sighs ] -So... they have gotten nice and brown, and I'm gonna transfer them to this large plate.
They smell so excellent.
And, again, they've been browned on both sides for 5 minutes per side.
I'm going to reduce the heat to medium, and I have 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour that I'm gonna add to the fat left in the pot.
So we're gonna make a roux right now.
We're gonna cook the roux till it's caramel-colored, and the roux is gonna do a few things.
It's going to help to flavor our braising liquid.
It's going to help to add some texture, to thicken it.
And it's also gonna add the color.
-You want to get in there and stir, scraping up the brown bits as much as you can.
So this will go for about 3 minutes.
So I would say we are there.
It's definitely looking like caramel at this point.
-It's time to add our vegetables.
-So I've got 1 cup of finely chopped onion.
I have 1 cup of finely chopped green bell pepper, 1/4 cup of finely chopped celery.
Now, that is the Holy Trinity when it comes to Cajun/Creole cooking.
Gonna add four cloves of smashed garlic, 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice mixture from earlier.
I'm gonna give this a nice stir.
I'm gonna cook these until the vegetables are softened, which will take about 5 minutes.
-And I'm going nowhere.
5 minutes is up.
As you can see, the vegetables are nice and softened, and it still just smells so good.
I have 3 cups of chicken broth here that I'm gonna add to the Dutch oven.
Now, you want to go in there again and, just with the wooden spoon, scrape up as many of those brown bits as possible.
You don't want to leave any of that behind.
We're gonna wait for this to come up to a simmer.
We are now at a simmer.
-I've got all the fond picked up.
Worked very hard on that.
-Yeah, you did.
-Okay, so now I'm going to return the turkey wings to the pot, and I'm just gonna nestle them in there.
And if there's any of the accumulated juices that have collected in there, add that in.
So I am going to put the pot in an oven.
I've got an oven preheated to 300 degrees, and I put the oven rack at the middle position.
And I'm gonna cook this covered for about one hour, and I'm gonna go in there and flip them and continue to cook the turkey for another 45 minutes.
-[ Sniffs ] I'm following the aroma.
All right, one thing.
I am going to leave this towel on the top because I've done this before, where I forget that that was in the oven and it's hot.
This is obviously very hot, but the turkey is done cooking at this point.
The sauce is not.
What I'm gonna do is, I'm just gonna transfer the turkey wings... -Oh!
-...to this platter here.
Look at these wings.
I'm going to heat this braising liquid over high heat right now, and I'm gonna let this roll for 7 minutes.
And right now what's gonna happen is, it's gonna really rapidly boil, and the sauce is going to reduce a little bit... -Mm.
-...concentrate in flavor, and it's also going to help to emulsify the braising liquid.
-One woman's braising liquid is another woman's gravy.
-You said it.
You said it.
-Girl, that is good gravy.
-[ Laughs ] -Thank you.
-[ Sniffs ] Oh!
-I know, I know.
Now, what I am going to do is return the wings to our Dutch oven here just to give them a little quick dip.
I've never wanted to be a stuffed turkey wing as much as I do right now.
-And look how beautifully that gravy has thickened.
-So I have some white rice that I went ahead and cooked all ready for our wings.
-We've got one flat, one drumette for you, and, oh, just some of this gravy.
-Mama got paid.
-[ Laughs ] Mom's gonna eat tonight!
-You think they'd open a Laura's III up here?
-I'm gonna tuck into one of these flats here.
-Oh, the meat is so tender.
Let me see.
-Oh, there's a little bit of a creeping spice there that I'm really digging.
-And the subtle garlic flavor.
It's sweet, and it just, like, disappears into the turkey.
-That garlic, it perfumes the meat.
It's not harsh at all.
-Like you said, it's almost melted into it.
-Oh, and that sauce.
That sauce will not quit at all.
In a good way.
-In a great way.
I mean, turkey fat, flour, beautiful roux.
-We had the Trinity going there.
It's not too salty.
You know, you get the garlic powder, you get the onion powder, some of that thyme in there.
Beautiful, beautiful nod... -Mm.
...to stuffed turkey wings.
-Well, if you want to make this tremendous turkey wing dish, stuff the wings with garlic and rub with a homemade Cajun spice blend.
Make a sauce, starting with a caramel roux, and braise those wings until they're nice and tender.
So from "Cook's Country," via Lafayette, Louisiana, legendary stuffed turkey wings.
You can get this recipe and all the recipes from this season, along with product reviews and select episodes.
They're all on our website.
Now, as soon as these cameras go off... -Mm-hmm.
-...I'm jumping in there with my hands.
-It's gonna get real dirty real quick.
-Oh, it's gonna get dirty right now.
-[ Laughs ] ♪♪ ♪♪