Here be a brief history of the last of the great Pirates of the Gulf of Mexico and an excellent recipe from the Cajun Creole Cuisine of his adopted territory, New Orleans and Cajun Country (Acadiana) in Southwest Louisiana. You might enjoy serving this smoky, spicy Chicken, Shrimp, Andouille Jambalaya smothered in a tasty tomato-based Creole Sauce. This is another ideal Pirate Party Food Recipe.
I use organic, non-GMO, no nitrate, mercury-free, low sodium/no salt, very clean ingredients. Excellent for making healthy comfort food.
Jean Lafitte Pirate – The End of an Era
Jean Lafitte Pirate or Privateer? If you called him a Pirate he’d challenge you to a duel.
So, what’s the difference? Pirates rob and commit acts of violence at sea. A Privateer had a commission from a sponsor, think government, to go out and be a Pirate to their ‘enemies.’ They could Captain their own ship or even sail with a Pirate Captain. Usually only the Privateer Captain was commissioned while the crew was compensated by receiving a split of the captured booty. Pirates did the same, however they were in it for themselves. So, a Privateer was Pirate.
Jean Lafitte (approx. 1780-1825) is remembered as one of the last of the great Pirates of the Gulf of Mexico. He settled in New Orleans by 1803, right when Napolean sold
Louisiana to the US.
Even though he was a gangster, Lafitte moved freely through the town, dressed fine, and dined at all the excellent restaurants… he was tall, handsome, a gentleman of means, manners, and grace.
He and his brothers, Pierre and Henri, enjoyed a lucrative business of selling their purloined goods out of their warehouse on Royal Street in the French Quarter. They also built a fort and barracks for their slave trade on Grand Terre Island in the Barataria Bay where 500 people lived in his community.
He was a Privateer with their four ships flying the flag of the city-state of Cartagena, which later joined Columbia (rather than sailing under a Pirate Jolly Roger).
In 1814, the US government, not as lenient as the French and Spanish, arrested his brother, confiscated all his booty (estimated to be $500,000), and leveled his fort and dispersed his community. Lafitte was a patriot, though, and saved Louisiana by helping the US government defeat the British in the Battle of New Orleans (January 1815), the last battle of the War of 1812. As a result, President Madison pardoned him and his brother, but the government kept their booty and chased them out of New Orleans anyway.
Lafitte then set up a new operation in Galveston Island, Texas in 1817. He thrived again… with twice the riches and 1000 people in his community. And in 1821, he was again chased out by the US government.
During the early 1800s, Piracy Laws in England, France, Spain, and the US had become stronger and enforced better. Spanish ships passed less though the Caribbean because of Piracy. Spanish colonies were gaining independence from Spain. So the glory days of Pirates and Privateering in the Atlantic and Caribbean were at an end.
Lafitte sailed to Yucatan, Mexico with his extensive treasure, where he is reported to have died in 1823. Marking the end of an Era? Jean Lafitte is the best known last great Pirate of the Gulf of Mexico.
Cajun vs Creole Cuisines of New Orleans
Is it Cajun Creole? or Cajun or Creole? or Cajun and Creole?
Cajun is a rural-based culture. Cajuns, a corruption of Acadians, were French immigrants who settled in Acadia (Acadie) in Northeastern Canada in the 1600s. Beginning in 1753, the British began forcibly expelling them. Over the next 30 years, as many as 30,000 Acadians migrated from Canada, through the 13 Colonies, the Caribbean, and France and regrouped in rural Southwestern Louisiana, which they called Acadiana.
They thrived in the abundance of their new home and created a vibrant, diverse Cajun Cuisine from ingredients from the bayous, the Gulf, the swamp, the wild woods, and all that they could grow from their farms. A gastronomic powerhouse. Distinctive culture, renowned cuisine.
Creole is a city-based culture. New Orleans looked to the best of France and the culinary traditions that have thrived there ever since it was founded in 1682 by the French. Over the years, the city has been enriched from the mix of European, Caribbean and African heritages. Creole Cuisine is food derived from a sophisticated blend from that mix.
So, is it Cajun and Creole, Cajun or Creole, or Cajun Creole? All of them. Can you have a Cajun Creole blend? Yes, indeed. Just look to the next recipe.
Chicken, Shrimp, Andouille Jambalaya
Jambalaya is a simple-to-prepare, easy-to-get-right, conglomeration of delicious, aromatic ingredients and spices. It parallels the Spanish paella, the African jollof, and the Provencal French jambalaia, meaning mishmash or mixup, also used for pilaf. This is a blend of Cajun (smoky, spices, cooking techniques) and Creole (tomatoes, cooking techniques). So, Jambalaya might be the quintessential dish to represent Cajun Creole Cuisine.
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne is best)
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 2 1/2 T rendered smoky bacon drippings
- 3/4 lb smoked andouille sausage, cut in 1/2″ slices
- 2 C chopped onions (1 large)
- 1 C chopped male green bell pepper (1 medium, 3 bumps on the bottom)
- 1 C chopped celery
- 3/4 lb smoked chicken thighs, small bite-sized
- 2 T chopped fresh garlic
- 2 C diced tomatoes (1 lb)
- 1 C tomato sauce
- 2 C seafood stock or chicken (bone) broth
- 2 C uncooked Texmati rice
- 3/4 lb medium shimp
- Combine the Seasoning Mix in a small glass bowl.
- In a heavy 4-qt pan (Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven) melt the bacon drippings over medium heat. Add the andouille and saute until crispy on the outside, 5 minutes or so. Stir frequently.
- Add onions, celery, bell peppers, cover so the steam stays in the pan, stir occasionally scraping the pan bottom each time for 5 minutes. Veg will be tender but still firm.
- Add the chicken, seasoning mix, garlic, stirring and scraping the pan bottom. 3 minutes. Tasting at this point blasts you with a massive salt taste. Not to worry, it will soon be incognito.
- Add the tomatoes and cook until everything is heated through. Continue to stir and scrape often. 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce and cook for about 7 minutes. Stir and scrape.
- Stir in the stock, bring to a boil, cook for 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to simmer, add the rice, stir and cook for 1 hour. Rice should be bursting with broth.
- Turn off the heat, stir in the shrimp, and let sit till the shrimp turn pink. Check after 5 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves and serve. Mound two 1/2 C portions on a plate and smother with 1/3 C Creole Sauce.
Notice the deep smoky base with the savory herbs (thyme, bay leaves, oregano) topped with the pronounced but balanced spicy heat… and no salt. Note also the broad flavor range added by the many fresh vegetables; and the varied textures of the different meats (especially the crispened andouille), veg, and rice. This is such a healthy comfort food, one of my all time favorites to cook as well as eat. It is just so incredible every time I make it.
For a party or for taking on a boat, just transfer this into a 4-qt slow cooker.
Sweet and spicy, this tomato-based Creole Sauce is a perfect complement to this jambalaya.
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 3/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne will do)
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried sweet basil leaves
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 4 T unsalted butter
- 1 C diced tomatoes
- 1/2 C onions, diced small
- 1/2 C celery, diced small
- 1/2 C sweet female green bell pepper (4 bumps on the bottom)
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh garlic, minced fine
- 1 1/4 C Chicken Stock (or chicken bone broth)
- 1 C tomato sauce
- 1 tsp raw or turbinado sugar
- 1/2 tsp hot Louisiana pepper sauce
- Combine the Seasoning Mix in a small glass bowl.
- Melt the butter in a 5 C saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the tomatoes, onions, celery, and bell peppers; then add the seasoning mix, stirring thoroughly. Keep stirring, while sauteing until onions are transparent, maybe 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, stock/broth, tomato sauce, sugar and hot sauce and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes to give time for the vegetables to cook thoroughly and the flavors to marry. Stir occasionally.
- Remove bay leaves before serving.
Notice that the sweetness from the butter base, basil, paprika, sweet bell pepper, and sugar along with the chicken stock is quite different from the savory, smoky jambalaya with seafood stock.
This Chicken, Shrimp, Andouille Jambalaya with Creole Sauce is the perfect combination for any dinner. Together they flood your senses; it is visually appealing, and gifts you with aromas and a broad range of textures and flavors that pounce on your taste buds all at once. A celebration for the palate. A feat of gastronomic greatness!
Lagniappe (A Little Something Extra)
I use canned tomatoes and usually make my own seafood and chicken stock. There are boxes of beef, chicken, and vegetable stock and bone broths in my pantry when I need them.
There are two breads that accompany this meal well, which I will include in other postings: Honey Bread and New Orleans Black Muffins. Wait till you experience these!
The most famous chef from Cajun Country is Chef Paul Prudhomme. He has been the greatest influence in my style of cooking. My Dad gave me his first cookbook in 1991 and the first thing I made was blackened redfish. For his 2nd cookbook, Seasoned America, he got recipes from around the US and made ’em Cajun-Creole. This is how I cook everything. I kept buying his other cookbooks over the years, and now I have 6.
“Good cooking, good living, good loving.” – Paul Prudhomme, my mentor and hero autographed his Lousiana Tastes cookbook for me at a book signing. I got to talk with him for about a minute. Such a thrill for me to be with such a legend in his own time.
I appreciate your taking the time to read this, it is fun for me. So, stop on back by, now, y’hear? There are more recipes here for you to explore, plus there are many more on the way for Pirates and all who love us.
Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts about this article, especially if you have a question about how to prepare this food, OK? And also, leave a comment to let me know how the meal turned out, when you cook this for your friends and family.
Pirate Mike – Foodie Pirate
Cooking for Pirates, where every meal is a party for a Pirate.