My Pork Rib Fricassée is a tried and true French preparation that is just as popular in Acadiana. Pork ribs, cooked down in a savory fricassée, is a classic old-school Acadian stew. Dressed up with smoked sausage, fresh rosemary out of my herb garden and field okra from Gotreaux Family Farm, it is a satisfying one-dish meal. A long slow braise should render my Pork Rib Fricassée to fork-tender, rib-sticking fare.
The highlight of every Saturday morning at Lafayette’s Hub City Farmer’s Market in the Oil Center is the Gotreaux’s farm stall. Dawn and Brian along with all ten of the Gotreaux children are always there. From their farm in Scott, Louisiana, they grow the freshest vegetables with unique varieties as well as farm-fresh eggs, free range chickens and farm-raised tilapia.
The Gotreaux family had some beautiful okra at the Farmer’s Market. Extremely popular in South Louisiana, okra often pops up in many stews, gumbos and smothered Cajun dishes. Spicy pickled okra and crispy fried okra point to the versatility of this prolific pod, and I intend to put my bushel basket of the pods to use.
Actually, I came to know the Gotreaux family before I ever met them. That’s the magic of blogging. In Dawn’s first blog entry, when I read her words, I knew this family was something special. Dawn Gotreaux writes:
“Wow, I never dreamed of having a blog but here it is the first entry…history is made. Some of us are just coming in from working in the garden. We did get some things accomplished. Half of the leeks were able to get planted. Cauliflower, celery and some more lettuce were planted too. My fingernails are packed with dirt… what a grand feeling. I could have used a hand shovel, but it’s been too long since I got my hands into the soil.”
Did you hear those words? Real words. Not words written with a sense of someone reading them critically or being judged for literary value — real words, and real dirt. And she continues:
“There’s just something great about sinking your hand into cool soil and planting. Slowly the greenhouse in the garden is taking shape. Brian was able to get the top support bars on today. Hopefully I can attach a picture here and there real soon. How’s that for the first post? Maybe I have a lot to learn or maybe it’s the distractions as the rest of the family is coming into the house wondering what’s for supper.”
Supper? Who says “supper” anymore? Real people with real values and a spiritual connection to Southern ideals. People like Dawn Gotreaux. She continues:
“Supper, it’s always a busy kitchen. Simon and JulieBeth are washing and spinning the lettuce, Ariana and Nathanael are peeling potatoes, Juliana has made the dressing for the salad and my bread has risen and is waiting for the next step. Talk with y’all soon….Dawn.”
I’m struck with the purity of purpose and the honesty of a life that is focused on significant things — tasks and chores and duties and necessities. These are the vital contributions of a working family fixed on the simple and virtuous values of life. I am most envious.
- 1 (3 -pound) pork loin rib rack
- 2 tablespoons Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup diced bell pepper
- 1 cup diced celery
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, stemmed and chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup chopped tasso or smoked ham
- 2 cups chopped smoked pork sausage
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium-size chunks
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 jar pickled okra spears
- Peanut oil, for frying
- 20 pods of medium-sized whole okra
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cut the pork rib rack in half and season with Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper and set aside to come to room temperature.
- In a large French copper pot or cast-iron pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the pork pieces one at a time and brown on both sides and remove.
- Add the onions, bell pepper, and celery and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fresh rosemary. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir until the flour turns a light brown. Add the wine and deglaze the bottom of the pot scraping up any browned bits. Continue cooking until the wine reduces by half.
- Lower the heat to low, add the tasso and smoked sausage along with the pork rib pieces and pour in the chicken stock. Decrease the heat to simmer, cover the pot and continue cooking for 1 hour.
- Raise the lid and check to see that the pork is becoming tender and the stew is thickening. If it becomes too thick add more stock or water. Add the potatoes along with a tablespoon of butter and cook 30 minutes more covered. Turn off the heat and keep warm.
- In a deep-sided skillet half filled with peanut oil, preheat over medium heat to 375ºF.
- Rinse the okra and place on paper towels to dry. With a knife, remove the stem cap and slice the remaining okra into small round slices about the size of your thumb tip. Place the cut okra in a bowl and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl add the cornmeal, flour, Cajun seasoning, salt, and black pepper and combine. Add the cut okra into the mixture and coat the pieces evenly.
- Place a wire rack over a tray and pour the okra out, shaking to let the excess coating drop through to the tray. Add the okra pieces to the peanut oil a handful at a time and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove to paper towels and salt immediately.
- For serving, move the pot with the pork rib fricassée to the table and serve family style garnishing with pickled okra spears, fried okra and sliced, toasted baguette for soaking up the gravy.
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