Tom and I were able to to visit our good friend in New Orleans in 2009, the gulf oil spill had just began about a week before our arrival so there was a run on fresh sea food, everyone knew that they wouldn’t have amazing local gulf again for another couple years so there filled with friends and crawfish boils. This town takes their food seriously. We planned our trip dates around the Jazz Fest (the biggest locals festival in town) where we quickly learned that the Gospel Tent is best musical part of the festival (despite seeing BB King and Van Morrison in the same day) because church music is made for that setting, to fill large buildings, it was amazing.
The really surprising thing is that all the food booths are filled by an application process and the food is all traditional New Orleans Cajun & Creole fare. There is one booth that makes Boudin Balls, and its going to be the best in the city. One Muffuletta booth, one for Beignets and our favorite was the Cochon de Lait Po’Boy.
When we got home we were convinced that we could make it, at first pass all the recipes on the Internet called for roasting an entire pig and building a small building for that. While I’m sure my parents can pull something like that off, I’m not quite that ambitious. We found something made to a smaller scale, but it still takes 3 days to make.
This is our third time making the recipe and I went all in and made the Po’ Boy bread. This was intimidating for me because you would use steam in the oven to replicate the humidity of New Orleans. I hope you enjoy!
Cochon de Lait
Cochon de Lait translated to English is Pig in Milk which may give you a sense of what this will taste like. Somehow that is actually what it tastes like, fantastic. In Cajun cooking you will often times see the onion, celery & carrot combination, its called the Holy Trio.
|6 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup sliced green onions
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
|5-6 lbs pork butt aka pork shoulder
note: right now Costco sells this for less than $2/lb
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 onion, quartered
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Olive Oil & salt for seasoning
Combine the garlic, green onions, thyme, basil, salt, red pepper flakes and jalapenos in a bowl and mix it up.
Using a paring knife, cut about eight 1″ deep holes evenly across the pork shoulder and fill them up with the mixture you made above. Season the roast with salt and olive oil.
Put the pork shoulder in a very large ziplock bag or bowl overnight to marinate.
Chop up the celery, carrots & onion.
Heat the over to 37°F
In a 12-quart Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat on the stove top. Brown roast on all sides. Add onions, celery and carrots.
Cover pot, place in oven and bake 2½-3 hours or until fork tender. When the roast is tender, remove the cover and brown 15-20 minutes.
Slice meat and serve on bread for a delicious pork sandwich, it will probably all just fall apart nicely though.
Make sure your bread has a nice layer of mayo and coleslaw if you’ve got it. I usually trust Emeril Lagasse’s recipes for Creole food as he is native to New Orleans, this coleslaw recipe was really good last time I made it. It was actually tasted good and wasn’t runny and doesn’t have too much of the mayo sauce that some do. It makes a ton of slaw though, so unless you are entertaining a large party, maybe only make a portion.
Po’ Boy Bread
Up until recently, I just bought french bread to serve the Po’ Boys on, but I wanted to get a little more adventurous and used the linked recipe in the title. I converted the metric measurements to imperial though.
|4 1/2 c Bread Flour
2 1/2c Water
3 t Instant yeast
1 T Salt
|1 1/2 T Sugar
4 t Powdered Milk
4 t Butter, softened
Microwave your water for 20 seconds to make it slightly warm, add yeast and a sprinkle of your sugar to activate, make sure you see the yeast bubble before you move on, yeast that doesn’t activate can spoil your week.
Mix everything but butter, knead until gluten starts to form, add in butter, knead until pass windowpane test. The kneading would take a while, and the windowpane would be a bit thick.
In one ball, rise at room temp (75F) for 50 min until more than doubled, stretch and fold, then let set for another 20 min. This process is also known as bulk fermentation.
Divide into 4 parts/loafs, preshape and relax for 20min. For each dough, roll out to 14x6inch, get rid of all air bubbles, roll up to 16inch in length, width is more important than length here though.
Yeah, I know, what does that even mean? This link was really helpful for me.
Rise at room temp until double, 45-60min. Brush with water and score (this is where the bread starts really looking like french bread).
Place an overproof cast-iron pan on the bottom rack of your oven and bring the oven to 450°F, for 20 minutes and get 1/2 c of boiling water ready. Place your baking sheets in the oven quickly and wearing long sleeves and oven mitts pour the boiling water into the cast-iron before closing the oven door; the steam will help form a crisp crust.
Reduce the temperature to 425°F for 20min, lower to 375°F, rotate baking sheet (not necessary if you are using the convection setting on your oven), and keep baking for another 20 min. The last 5 min with door cracked open.
You made it! The bread should be very crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.