The Passing of a Great Chef
I recently learned that the renowned chef of Cajun cooking, Paul Prudhomme, passed away in 2015. Chef Paul became a celebrity chef in the 1980’s when he brought Cajun cooking to national attention. He had a restaurant in New Orleans named K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen.
The most famous of his recipes and the most ordered entrée at his restaurant was Blackened Redfish. This started a trend of “blackened” fish entrees at restaurants across the country and was achieved by cooking the fish at high temperatures. In fact, the recipe for Blackened Redfish in his cookbook states to “heat a large cast-iron skillet over very high heat until it is beyond the smoking stage and you see white ash in the skillet bottom – the skillet can’t be too hot for this dish.”
A Memorable Evening
I was in New Orleans in the early 80’s, attending the American Dietetic Association’s Annual Meeting. As it turned out, several of my friends and I were fortunate enough to dine at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen one evening for dinner. (I ordered Blackened Redfish – big surprise!) Chef Paul was present that evening and he graciously autographed his cookbook, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen, for me. The food was great and we had a wonderful time at K-Paul’s.
Southern Biscuit Muffins
One of my favorite recipes in Chef Paul’s cookbook is Southern Biscuit Muffins. Southern Biscuit Muffins have the texture of a biscuit but they are baked in a muffin tin so they look like muffins. To prepare Southern Biscuit Muffins the dry ingredients are mixed together, then butter is cut into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Milk is mixed into the dry ingredients until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
The batter, which looks more like biscuit dough than a muffin batter, is portioned into a muffin tin and baked at 350° F. for 20-25 minutes. The finished muffins have a thick crust with a cakelike center.
Chef Paul’s original recipe gave instructions to work the butter into the dry ingredients by hand. I used my food processor instead, which resulted in the mixture resembling coarse cornmeal, which was the desired consistency. Below is the printable recipe for Southern Biscuit Muffins:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup cold milk
- In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; mix well, breaking up any lumps.
- Work the butter in by hand until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, making sure no lumps are left.
- Gradually stir in the milk, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overbeat!
- Spoon the batter into 12 greased muffin cups.
- Bake at 350 degrees F. until golden brown about 25 minutes.
- The finished muffins should have a thick crust with a cakelike center.
- The butter can be cut into the flour mixture quite well by using a food processor if you prefer.
So in the words of Chef Paul, I wish you Good Cooking, Good Eating and Good Loving!
Rest in peace, Chef Paul.
Remember to Savor the Flavor!
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