Perhaps the biggest thing I miss about not being able to travel right now is the thrill of discovering new foods and regional interpretations of foods common across the United States. Earlier this year while I was in Lafayette, Louisiana I was introduced to a flavor combination that frankly, I'm now obsessed with. The simple combination of rice, scrambled eggs, and a dusting of Cajun spice took something that would otherwise be mundane but now it was unique, fun, and exciting.
I had this at Buck and Johnny's Zydeco Breakfast where they call it "Cajun Swamp Rice" and the rice and scrambled eggs are mixed together, then topped by crawfish etouffee for that perfect Cajun breakfast experience. Unfortunately, I neither possess the skills to make a great roux nor do I have access to fresh crawfish like they do - so I'm adding a different twist to the concept instead. Not only is my version WAY easier but it also gives me an opportunity to talk more about culinary evolution and the blending of traditions.
So, instead of crawfish etouffee, I'm using Uncured Canadian Bacon from Coleman Natural that you can buy direct on the Perdue Farms website. This is super delicious, all-natural with No Antibiotics, No Hormones or Steroids added, 100% Vegetarian Fed pork back bacon that is hardwood smoked over applewood. It's fully cooked, so you can enjoy it right out of the package though cooking it up in the skillet brings out more flavor. Plus, right now there's FREE shipping on orders over $119.
The name "Canadian Bacon" is a bit of a misnomer because that name is only used in the United States. However, the style of "bacon" is very popular in the UK, Ireland, and Canada. I find that a lot of things in this country are actually called things that aren't really right but if you scratch below the surface you discover a fascinating history. For instance, most folks think of "Cajun" as a generic term for people from Louisiana and while they know there's a French influence, people don't look much deeper.
Cajun culture actually comes from French colonists who were kicked out of the Candian Provinces, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick because of religious and cultural persecution. These settlers had named their area "Acadia" and were known there as Acadians in the 1600s. When the British took control of the area in 1710, the culture began to change and this included the demand to drop their French Catholic faith for an unconditional oath of allegiance to Britain and the Church of England. Many battles were fought during this time and ultimately in 1763 the "Great Upheaval" commenced where the Acadians were deported from the area. Many of these French Canadians headed south to the French territory in Lousiana and ultimately created a new and unique culture in the swamps and coastal areas of Louisiana where they continued to face bigotry and discrimination for their refusal to fully integrate into the increasingly protestant and English speaking culture over the following centuries.
There is WAY more to this story than I can share in a post about one of my new food obsessions and I encourage you guys to visit the area some time and meet some of these folks and read more online as well. It is one of the few unique cultural areas that we still have in the United States and it is filled with amazing people, incredible storytellers, fantastic food, and some of the best music you can find anywhere in the country.
Ultimately though, as refugees who were mostly poor but scrappy and innovative, they have manifested a talent for taking common foods that might seem simple and combining ingredients and cooking traditions into something new.
That's how we ultimately get to today's recipe for Cajun Swamp Eggs!
This recipe for Cajun Swamp Eggs is simple to make, inexpensive, and hearty for a day of fishing out on the bayou, working in the yard, or simply hanging out at home watching TV and dreaming of where you'll go once we can all travel again!
How To Make Cajun Swamp Eggs ...
Normally, I'd include proportions here but just adjust the instructions to your own preference depending on how hungry you are and how many people will be eating.
- Steamed Lousiana Long Grain White Rice
- Coleman Natural Uncured Canadian Bacon
- Cajun Seasoning (I used Don's Specialty Meats from Scott, Lousiana)
- Tabasco Hot Sauce (I used Scorpion Hot Sauce since I love the super hot searing flavor)
Steam the rice in a medium pot, I like to add olive oil or butter and salt to the water to help with seasoning and texture.
Once the rice is cooked, heat you skillet and start frying up the Coleman Natural Uncured Canadian Bacon so that it is warm throughout. This meat is pre-cooked so you don't have to worry about temperature but I do like mine with a nice crispy char, especially on the fatty edges.
While cooking the Canadian Bacon, scramble up some eggs. I don't add any seasoning to the eggs here except salted butter to keep it from sticking to the pan.
Once the food is cooked, place a nice big heaping portion of the rice in a flat bowl or plate, then cover the rice with one or more pieces of Canadian Bacon and top with eggs.
Finally, season the Cajun Swamp Eggs to taste with the Cajun Seasoning and add Tabasco Hot Sauce to taste.
I can't wait to get back to Louisiana and explore more Cajun food but for now, this reminds me of the people and culture there and that's important. Equally important right now is that it is easy and inexpensive to make and it scales well for a single serving or your whole family. Plus, it tastes great and depending on how much seasoning you add it can be relatively healthy. Those with glucose and sodium sensitivities can moderate the seasoning and rice amounts to make it even better for your diet.