Friends create the Magnalite Festival: a Cajun food extravaganza

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In the heart of Lafayette, where the air is filled with the scent of Tony Chachere, a close-knit group of friends turned an ordinary Saturday into a grand Cajun feast of camaraderie and mouth-watering food with enough Magnalite pot to make the neighbors jealous.

The group’s culinary adventures range from cooking for entertainers at Festival International to the so-called Magnalite Festival, now in its third year. With limited holiday options and gatherings since the start of the Covid pandemic, Nicole Gill asked, “Why not create our own?” he thought.

At the Magnalite Festival, the focus was on conversation, laughter and the joy of cooking. Against a backdrop of live Cajun music, friends become spirited contestants, showcasing their best culinary creations in host Andrew Moore’s backyard. Pat Moll, who is often a judge at this tasting event, presided over the tasting of each dish for the ultimate Cajun critique.







Brian and Amy Guillory created a special variation of their jambalaya called Shrimp Opelousas that earned them a third place finish at the third annual Magnalite Festival.


The aroma of authentic Cajun cooking was pervasive, and the friendly crowd was popular — even among the competition. With a variety of cuisines to choose from, the festival reflected the unique character and personality of each chef.

Brian and Amy Guillory prepared a special jambalaya variation called “Shrimp Opelousas,” which finished in third place. Despite a slight setback to the ingredients, Rhett Guillory’s corn and crab bisque earned a well-deserved second place finish. Guillory says the holiday is about hitting on your friends in the sweetest way possible.

Ricky Gomez entered the Dibon Cut Chicken Fricassee, while his son Ben Gomez and Cameron Baker came out victorious, while the German Schnitzel won first place. The younger generation gave the seasoned cooks a run for their money.

Steve Meaux’s delicious Pork and Sausage Sauce Piquante had a thick and wonderful sauce. Sammy Parbo gave shrimp and crab étouffée with a Vietnamese touch, showcasing a pot of flavors that define Louisiana cuisine. Thad and Angel Duplechin’s shrimp and crab stew turned out oh-so-delicious, giving it a nice kick.

But the festival was not without surprises. Apart from the food, Parbhu also offered a taste of Chilli and Lemon Cricket to the brave festival goers. (The tough, hard-to-swallow texture made me question my culinary prowess.)







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The chefs at the Magnelite Festival visualized their efforts in preparing the day’s delicious dishes.


Jonathan Burchardt’s Meatball Stew Po-Boy is smothered in gravy and served on fresh French bread—a perfect addition to an already impressive lineup.

The Magnalite Festival concluded with the announcement of the three best dishes, which were awarded trophies purchased from the rummage sale.

As everyone began to clean up, the chefs assembled a mountain of gleaming Magnalite jars, all piled on the table – a visual representation of the collective effort and enthusiasm that went into the preparation of the day’s food.

Jaeger Schnitzel

Serves 4-5

The recipe is by Cameron Baker, from The Best Jagerschnitzel Sauce: Oma’s Mushroom Sauce for Jagerschnitzel

Fried bread served with fried pork on a bed of mashed potatoes and mixed with Udafia “Jager” soup.

for schnitzel;

4 pieces of pork

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of cayenne powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of onion powder

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon of black pepper

4 to 5 eggs

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Peanut oil

1. Cut the pork into 1/4-inch pieces, pound thinly until the cut pieces are about 1/8 inch.

2. Add cayenne powder, paprika, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper to the flour. Coat the pork in the flour mixture, then coat in the egg wash, then coat in the panko crumbs.

3. Add enough peanut oil to the pot to float the breaded pork rounds. Heat oil and fry the pork round until golden brown.

4. Remove from oil and sprinkle with salt and cayenne to taste.

5. Serve on a bed of freshly baked potatoes. Garnish the top cut with jaggery sauce and spices and lemon juice.

For jaggery soup;

4 to 5 slices of bacon

1 medium to large yellow onion

5 to 6 cloves of garlic

32 ounces of beef

1 cup white wine (Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc)

1 tablespoon of corn flour

Cold water, as the need for liquid corn starch

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

If we see 1 tablespoon

1 onion powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

¼ cup parsley, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

¼ pound white button mushrooms

¼ pound chanterelle mushrooms

¼ pound shiitake mushrooms

Salt to taste

½ tablespoon of black pepper

1. Cut the bacon into small pieces. Place the bacon pieces in a frying pan and bring the pan to a simmer to help render the bacon fat. Cook bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon pieces from the pan and set aside in a bowl.

2. Cut the onion into small pieces and fry in bacon fat until golden. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté for another 30 seconds to a minute or until fragrant.

3. Add the beef stock and white wine to the onions and garlic and turn off the heat. Be sure to scrape up anything stuck to the bacon bits and like the bottom of the pan into the liquid.

4. On the side, add corn flour and cold water to a cup and stir until the starch forms a liquid. Add the liquid to the soup liquid and mix.

5. Add chopped paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder and chopped parsley to taste and saute until sauce reaches desired consistency. (If the soup is not well thickened, add more corn flour).

6. Make heavy cream by pouring the cream into a separate cup and stirring in the soup until the cream is heated through in a hot pan. Add the cream to the soup and mix.

7. Cut the mushrooms into the desired size and add the mushrooms to the pan and cook the mushrooms in the soup until they are soft. Add the bacon back into the finished sauce.

For mashed potatoes:

5 to 6 Yukon Gold potatoes

½ pound unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

If we see to taste

1. Peel and boil the potatoes until you can easily stick a fork through them.

2. Remove potatoes from water and mash with butter and heavy cream until smooth and homogeneous.

3. Season the mashed potatoes with salt, pepper and cayenne.



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