Recipes

Senator Ellender was called "Chef Supreme" and "#1 in the Senate, #1 in the Kitchen." His Cajun cuisine has been tasted by Presidents, first ladies, Congressmen, and many other political dignitaries. Even today the U.S. Senate cafeteria serves an "Ellender gumbo." From gumbo to pralines, we hope you enjoy these recipes taught to Senator Ellender by his mother when he was still a boy in Terrebonne Parish.

Basic Sauce
5 tablespoons fat (vegetable oil or smoked bacon fat)
1 rounded tablespoon flour
2 pounds onions, chopped fine
3 pieces celery, chopped fine
1 medium bell pepper, chopped fine
1 lemon (Use grated rind, then remove white pulpy membrane and chop rest of lemon)
3 pods garlic
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, thyme, McCormick "Season All"
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste
To the fat, add flour and brown, stirring constantly, to make scorchy-tasting roux. Add the onions, fry slowly until well browned and reduced to pulp. Add the rest of the ingredients at one time and continue to cook slowly for at least 30 to 45 minutes.

Courtbouillon
Basic Sauce (If a thicker sauce is preferred, make roux with 2 to 4 tablespoons of flour instead of one.)
6 pounds fish, preferably channel bass or red snapper, cut in pieces
1 can tomato sauce
2 cans tomato paste
Cook tomatoes with sauce thoroughly, then add fish and cook slowly until done, stirring very gently in order not to break up fish pieces. Serve with rice.

Gumbo
Basic Sauce
2 1/2 pounds okra
3 pounds peeled shrimp tails
1 pound crab meat
1 pint oysters
Parsley and onion tops
After cutting in small pieces, cook the okra slowly in a small pot in about 2 tablespoons of fat until no longer ropy, stirring often to prevent scorching or browning. Add to basic sauce and continue to cook for not less than 20 minutes. Add shrimp and crab meat, and about 10 minutes later, the oysters. Add water to make the sauce of a soupy consistency. Cook for about 20 minutes after the mixture has started boiling. About 10 minutes before serving, add a handful of chopped onions and parsley. Serve over rice in soup plates.

Oyster Stew
2-1/2 tablespoons fresh bacon fat
1 pound onions
2 pints fresh oysters
3 cups milk
Parsley and onion tops
Put fat in a 3 quart saucepan and when hot, add chopped onions. Cook onions until clear but not brown, on slow flame. Add oysters, with liquid, and cook until oysters curl. In meantime, add a handful of chopped onion tops and parsley. Add hot milk. Serve immediately.

Shrimp Creole
Basic Sauce (If a thicker sauce is preferred, make roux with 2 to 4 tablespoons of flour instead of one.)
3 pounds peeled shrimp tails
2 cans tomato paste
Cook tomato paste with sauce thoroughly, add shrimp and continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring as necessary. Serve with rice.

Roast Duck
Salt and pepper inside of duck to taste, then stuff with a few pieces of celery, apple and onion. Stab breast portion in several places and insert small slivers of garlic. Salt and pepper outside to taste, then smear liberally with peanut, vegetable or coconut oil, or bacon fat.

In an iron Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, place one medium or small onion, chopped, one pod garlic, one stalk celery, about 1/4 bell pepper, all chopped fine. Add one bay leaf, a few dashes of ground thyme, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce and a little salt. Add a small amount of water, just enough to keep ingredients from burning, and add more water from time to time as needed.

Place duck on rack in Dutch oven and cook with above mixture so that flavors will steam through duck on rack. Keep cover on tightly and cook until duck is tender.

Remove pulp from bottom of pot; remove rack and brown duck in gravy, either by continuing to cook on top of stove or by putting it in oven. Cooked pulp may be returned to gravy, along with mushrooms, and served over rice with the duck.

Jambalaya
Basic Sauce
1/2 can tomato sauce (Not paste or whole tomatoes)
3 pints oysters
3 cups rice
Onion tops and parsley, chopped fine (about a handful, mixed together)
Add tomato sauce to basic sauce and cook thoroughly. Add oysters and cook for about 10 minutes after boiling starts. Now add rice, chopped onion tops and parsley. Add enough water to make sure you have 2 cups liquid in the pot for each cup of rice. Stir and mix thoroughly until mixture comes to a boil. Cover tightly and lower flame to simmer. Cook for about 25 minutes. Do not remove the lid. Test rice to be sure it is done thoroughly at the end of the 25 minute cooking period.

Creole Pralines
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup dark or light brown sugar
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons Karo syrup
4 cups pecan halves (If large halves, crush in small pieces.)
Put all ingredients except the pecans in a 3 quart sauce pan and cook for about 20 minutes, after boiling starts, stirring occasionally. Add the pecans and cook the mixture until the liquid forms a soft ball when a little is dropped into cold water. Stir well and then drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper. Place a few sheets of newspaper beneath the waxed paper. I find it convenient to place a small table near the stove, over which I put a few sheets of newspaper, and then put the waxed paper over that.