For me, the most cherished part of writing about the cooking of my Cajun and Creole culture is how families gather together with food being the focal point of a lively celebration. Boucheries in the fall, black-iron gumbos in the winter, springtime crawfish boils, and fish frys in the summer are all a part of life in South Louisiana–the best part.
And family reunions featuring potluck Cajun recipe dishes and covered casseroles are traditions that bond generations and pass down their treasured foodways. The Fontenot family from Kinder, Louisiana convenes every year, and my mother-in-law Rosalie Fontenot Waldrop, who grew up in the Kings Farm community of Allen Parish, attends whenever she can.
In 1994, the Fontenots published a simple, comb-bound cookbook of prized Cajun recipes that is chock full of time-honored dishes. But the one that brings back fond memories to Rosalie is the Cajun fried rice using day-old cold rice. She recalls her mother Eve Fontenot stirring a cast-iron skillet full of leftover rice and cracking protein-rich, farm-fresh eggs into the mixture for a late-afternoon snack, a Sunday supper, or a hearty breakfast. Most anything leftover in a pot–round steak, pork roast, or even baked chicken–might wind up in this Cajun recipe simply called Cajun Fried Rice. You see, Cajun families waste nothing, and rice and eggs are a staple of every farm family. Not only is it a way to stretch a dollar, but it is a tasty, belly-filling meal for a hungry family.
My recipe for Cajun Fried Rice stays true to the tradition of a breakfast skillet of fried rice, but I can’t help but add some tasty crawfish tails and fresh tomatoes to the pot. Once you try this easy Cajun Fried Rice, I think you’ll begin to understand how lucky we are that the Fontenots and other Acadiana families have preserved their culinary traditions.
- 1 cup raw green onion pork sausage or raw breakfast sausage
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup chicken stock, plus more if needed
- 4 cups leftover cooked long-grain white rice, such as Supreme
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Dash of hot sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ pound Louisiana crawfish tail meat
- 2 large beaten eggs
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup diced green onion tops
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- In a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the sausage. Using a spatula, break the pieces into chunks and cook until brown. Remove to a platter for later.
- In the same skillet, add the onion and celery to the remaining grease. Saute until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and parsley, and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stock along with the rice. Stir to combine and season with paprika, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
- Add the crawfish and chunks of sausage along with the beaten egg. Gently stir the rice mixture to combine. Turn off the heat and using a large spoon, make 4 indentations in the rice mixture. Crack 4 eggs and pour each of the eggs into the indentations on top of the rice. Move the skillet to the oven and cook until the eggs begin to set and the rice is warmed through, about 10 minutes.
- Top with diced green onion tops and serve family-style with hot biscuits and Louisiana coffee.
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