Oct 31, 2011

Swamp Monsters & Loup Garous

I'm not sure why my parents thought it was a good idea.  Driving 3 young children to the next state for fried catfish.  More than a few times.  We lived in New Orleans--dripping not only in humidity, but food.  When we finally got to the restaurant in Mississippi, everyone was hungry.  Which we all know also means cranky.  By that point us kids finally figured out we'd better shut our traps and not dare cross the lines dad pointed out for each one of us down the vinyl seat.  We knew how far to take it before he actually "pulled over and stopped the car."  And boy did we take it juuuust to the edge.


The ride home, I liked though.  Everyone was full, happy, quiet.  And it was getting dark as we drove through Honey Island Swamp.  I always made sure to get a window seat on the way home so I could stare into the darkening swamp, hoping to catch sight of the Honey Island Swamp Monster.  I imagined him a lumbering big-foot, peering through the palmetto leaves.  Maybe parting the hanging Spanish moss with dirty, hairy hands to give me a wink because I spotted him.


The Honey Island Swamp Monster is often described as the most awful smelling thing you'd never want to meet.  Many sources say he is a cross between an ape and alligator, product of native swamp life takin' a shine to chimps that escaped to the swamp after a circus train derailment.  A shaggy thing with long, sharp teeth and alligator feet.  Something that comes after bad little children.  And after the ride I just had with my brothers, I sure kept my eyes peeled.
After moving west to Cajun country, I learned about another kind of swamp monster: le loup garou (loo-gah-ROO).  Loup garou, or werewolf, stories came to Louisiana from our French and French Canadian settlers.  In South Louisiana, le loup garou lives in the swamp.  Half man.  Half beast.  All bad, bad news.  Loup garou lurks in the swamp, emerging under a full moon to eat up all the naughty little kids.  Cajun children can't catch a stinkin' break.
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The Boy loves dogs.  Once upon a time, he wanted to (as he would say) "dress into" Clifford for Halloween.



This year, a different kind of dog: Loup garou.




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How 'bout a Halloween classic?  Chili.  He-Man Chili from Tony Chachere's Cajun Country Cookbook.


Why "He-Man?"

In addition to the usual ground beef...

This is the sausage that makes the drippings that cooks the ground beef in He-Man Chili.

This is the bacon that fries the sausage that makes the drippings that cooks the ground beef in He-Man Chili.


A big ole meaty bowl that Tony Chachere built.
Tony also adds beans, but I wasn't feelin' it.  I was feeling cooking extra bacon and sprinkling it on top.  For extra manliness.  I think Swamp Monsters and Loup Garous would approve too.

This chili is tangy from the Worcestershire (which I love) and the wine.  I like its unique flavor and the different textures that the three meats give.  Something to keep in mind: because of the Worcestershire sauce, bacon, and Tony's seasoning, you probably aren't going to need salt.  Don't go salting w/out tasting.

 

Tony's He-Man Chili
adapted from Tony Chachere's Cajun Country Cookbook
1 lb hot sausage
1 lb lean ground beef
6 slices bacon (8 if used as a topping)
1 large onion, chopped
1 ball pepper, chopped
1 Louisiana hot pepper or jalapeno
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup red wine
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp celery seed
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes w/ juices
Tony's Creole seasoning, to taste



Possible toppings:
handful chopped green onion
handful chopped parsley
about 1/4 c chopped red onion
reserved bacon (from above)
cheese
tortilla chips


Brown bacon slices in a large pot.  Remove.  When cool enough to handle, crumble.  If using as a topping, cook about 8 slices and reserve 2.


Slice sausage into 1" pieces and fry in bacon fat until brown.  Remove from pot and set aside with bacon.  Pour off most of the fat and fry the ground beef.  Drain most of the fat and set aside with the sausage and bacon.


Cook onion, bell pepper, and hot pepper in a small amount of the pan drippings until tender.  Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes.  Stir in the mustard, celery seeds, and chili powder.  Simmer about 10 minutes. 


Break up the tomatoes by hand and add to the pot, along with the Worcestershire and wine.  Add the meats back to the pot and heat to boiling.  Reduce heat, season to taste with Tony's.  Simmer 1 1/2-2 hours, stirring occasionally.


Just before serving toss in some green onion and/or parsley.  Or top individual bowls with one or more: green onion, parsley, red onion, crumbled bacon tortilla chips, cheese.


Linking with:
Cookbook Sundays @ Mom's Sunday Cafe
Tailgating Game Week 10 @ Drick's Rambling Cafe

Tailgating Time @ Seaside Simplicity
Tuesdays at the Table @ All The Small Stuff
Tasty Tuesday @ Naptime Creations
Hearth and Soul vol 72 @ Mom's Sunday Cafe
Tuesdays Tasty Tidbits @ Permanent Posies
What's Cooking Thursdays @ Feeding Four
Turning the Table Thursday @ Around My Family Table
Simply Delish @ KB & Whitesnakes Home
Potluck Friday @ EKat's Kitchen
Friday Food @ Mom Trends


My Pinterventures ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Happy Halloween

16 comments:

  1. fun blog and love the swamps in the south, great recipe and costume :-)

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  2. Your son's costume is pretty awesome! I can't say we have myths about swamp monsters up here but that's really too bad cause they make for great costumes.

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  3. another great wonder of the world - He-Man chili...love it, but how could ya not with all that goodness int dat pot

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  4. I'd drive just about anywhere for good fried catfish!

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  5. Wait just a minute....I think I heard you say "no beans." Are you sure about that? LOL! Such a cute story about you and your brothers stuck in the back seat of the car looking for swamp monsters. I don't think the midwest cornfields have anything on the Louisiana swamps;-)

    The he-man chili is something that we would absolutely go crazy for. In fact, I'm pinning it because I know my husband would love it.

    Love the costume! I bet it was a hit.

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  6. Well....I haven't even checked out my own recipes (from Tuesday's tASty Tidbits). I actually found this on Around My Family Table...haha. First....I am a HUGE Tony C's fan...as are all my kids. I bottle goes in their stockings every year. I put it in everything. This chili looks delicious. Did you ever read the Patricia Cornwall book about Le Loup Garou?

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  7. Well....I haven't even checked out my own recipes (from Tuesday's tASty Tidbits). I actually found this on Around My Family Table...haha. First....I am a HUGE Tony C's fan...as are all my kids. I bottle goes in their stockings every year. I put it in everything. This chili looks delicious. Did you ever read the Patricia Cornwall book about Le Loup Garou?

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  8. Great story, costume, and chili! Wishing I had a big bowl of that chili, right now. :)

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  9. Love the pics.



    Thanks for sharing with

    Simply Delish Saturday

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  10. Oh, my kids and I have been listening to Paul Daigle's Loup Garou song this season. One of our new favorites!

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  11. What a wonderful post! I so enjoyed reading it, and the photos were excellent too. I also enjoyed your lovely, meaty, spicy chilli recipe! Thank you for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop.

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  12. Wow, is that ever an awesome chili! My guys will love it! Thanks for linking it up to Tailgating Time :-)

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  13. What a tasty bowl of flavor! Thank you for sharing with Cookbook Sundays November 2011 @ Moms Sunday Cafe. And please, come back next month!

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  14. Oh goodness!! Love the scary story and the chili is totally out of this world!! The hubby is totally drooling over this!! And I am still thinking about that scary swamp monster!
    Hugs

    Pinning

    PS Gotta try this!!

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  15. I love your post! I so remember the feeling you describe - being a child and looking out of the car window, trying to catch a glimpse of bigfoot, or or "the potato lady" (a figment of my father's imagination)... LOL! I adore this recipe too - thanks for sharing this on Merry Monday Linky! I'm pinning and sharing! Julia

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