As most of you know I grew up in Louisiana in the heart of Cajun Country. The above picture is of the Natalbany River. This river bordered the back of my father's farm. Yes people this was my backyard playground. I have sank many a fishhook in this river and drowned many a worm. This river was an integral part of my childhood. A childhood of catching bullfrogs, swimming, nutria, cotton mouth water mocassins, crawfish and catfish plenty.
Although I am not Cajun I spent all of my childhood surrounded by them absorbing their language and culture. A colorful people but also a frugal people that lived simply in the swamps and bayous that others feared to tread into. This way of life greatly influenced the way I cook. A mixture of Cajun, traditional southern, and later influence from my first husband's Italian grandmother and later my own midwestern mother in law all left their marks on my dinner table. But perhaps the greatest influence of all was the Cajun style of using what was available and combining it with the traditional french sauces and gravies of fame. All across Louisiana you could find fried frog legs, turtle or alligator sauce piquant, crawfish etouffee, and chicken, crawfish, shrimp, alligator or turkey gumbo.
Whatever the land, or swamp provided was what determined the pot.
Only in Louisiana would they take a traditional recipe like spaghetti and transform the taste by adding different meats. Ever had a chicken wing or pork chop spaghetti. In a bar that my husband used to eat lunch at down on the Mississippi River that catered to the men building the bridge there was a Thursday special of frog back pig tail spaghetti. Years later when Baby O was a child and would want to know what was for supper the standard answer from her father was frog back pig tail spaghetti. When she went to kindergarten and cooked on the little play stove she made frog back pig tail spaghetti. So now years later ANY spaghetti is frog back pig tail spaghetti.
Rain has settled in for the day so I got up this Sunday morning and made guess what? Frog back pig tail spaghetti.
But instead of the traditional ground beef in spaghetti we are using home grown ground turkey and homemade venison Italian sausage. I started with a pound of ground turkey and several links of Italian sausage both browned in a cast iron skillet.
Once browned it is added to a prewarmed crockpot.
On top of the sausage and turkey I added 2 quarts of my homemade thick canned tomato sauce about 2 table spoons of dried sweet bell pepper and about a tablespoon of dried and crumbled basil.
To this I added about a hand full of frozen sweet onions, some garlic powder, parsley and a tablespoon of Italian seasonings. If you like a sweeter sauce you can add a little sugar. Whatever your family likes in spaghetti sauce and whatever is in your pantry. Mushrooms, oregano, whatever your family will eat. As for my family they tend to like lots of veggies in their sauce so mine tends to be full of onions, garlic, mushrooms etc.
Then I turned my crockpot on low and just let it simmer all day. By late afternoon the smell of basil and tomatoes has permeated the house.
I added to that smell with a couple of loaves of crusty homemade bread.
And let's not forget that homemade old fashioned oatmeal cake with a brown sugar and coconut icing.
And there you have it Frog Back Pig Tail spaghetti.
So the next time you want to make a pot of spaghetti think outside the box. Instead of the same old meatballs try braising a couple pork chops or chicken wings and throwing in that pot. You just might like it : )
Another recipe for the crockpot made from scratch with homegrown canned and dried ingredients. No packages or cans of soup just real food, no preservatives or additives.
( disclaimer: No frogs died in the making of this spaghetti!)
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter