Cajun cooking made easy with Justin Wilson

by | Nov 20, 2023 | Food and Drink

If you’re a fan of Cajun cooking, you’ve probably heard of Justin Wilson. This Louisiana native was a beloved chef and TV personality who brought Cajun cuisine to homes across America. His cooking show, “Cookin’ Cajun,” aired on PBS from 1972 to 1991, and his down-home style and signature catchphrase, “I garontee,” made him a household name. In this article, we’ll explore how Justin Wilson made Cajun cuisine easy and accessible for home cooks.

One of the things that made Justin Wilson’s show so popular was his easy-to-follow recipes. He specialized in classic Cajun dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and red beans and rice, but he also introduced viewers to lesser-known dishes like crawfish étouffée and boudin. His recipes were always simple and straightforward, using ingredients that were easy to find at any grocery store. And he never skimped on flavor – his dishes were always packed with bold, spicy flavors that are the hallmark of Cajun cooking.

But Justin Wilson’s show wasn’t just about cooking – it was also about the culture and history of Louisiana. He often shared stories about his upbringing in the bayou country, and his show featured live music and dancing from local Cajun performers. Watching “Cookin’ Cajun” was like taking a trip to Louisiana without ever leaving your living room. So if you’re looking to spice up your cooking routine and learn a little bit about Cajun culture along the way, Justin Wilson’s show is a great place to start.

Remembering Justin Wilson

Justin Wilson was not only a master of Cajun cooking, but he was also a beloved humorist and storyteller. His unique blend of humor and cooking made him a household name and endeared him to audiences across the country. Even today, years after his passing, fans still remember him fondly and continue to enjoy his classic recipes and comedy albums.

Humor and Cajun Cooking

Justin Wilson’s humor was a key part of his appeal. He was known for his folksy, down-home style and his distinctive Cajun accent. His jokes and stories were often centered around his experiences growing up in rural Louisiana, and he had a knack for finding the humor in everyday situations.

But Justin was more than just a funny guy. He was also a talented chef who specialized in Cajun cuisine. His recipes were simple and easy to follow, and he had a knack for making even the most complicated dishes seem approachable. Whether he was making gumbo or jambalaya, Justin always emphasized the importance of using fresh ingredients and taking the time to let the flavors develop.

Legacy in Comedy Albums

In addition to his cooking show, Justin also released several comedy albums over the course of his career. These albums featured his trademark humor and storytelling, and they quickly became fan favorites. Many of his jokes and catchphrases, such as “I guarantee!” and “How y’all are?” have become synonymous with Cajun culture and are still used today.

One of Justin’s most iconic features was his suspenders. He was rarely seen without them, and they became a signature part of his look. In fact, he even joked that he wore suspenders because he was too cheap to buy a belt!

Although Justin passed away in 2001, his legacy lives on. His recipes and comedy albums continue to inspire new generations of fans, and his unique blend of humor and cooking remains as beloved as ever.

Cajun Cuisine and Its Roots

Understanding Cajun Cuisine

Cajun cuisine is a unique blend of French, African, and Native American influences that developed in the rural areas of Louisiana. The word “Cajun” comes from “Acadian,” the name given to French colonists who settled in Acadia, Canada, in the 17th century. The Acadians were expelled by the British in the mid-18th century and many of them settled in Louisiana, bringing with them their French culinary traditions.

Cajun cuisine is known for its spicy and flavorful dishes, often featuring ingredients such as seafood, rice, and sausage. Some of the most popular dishes include gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish étouffée. These dishes are typically made with a roux, a mixture of flour and fat that is cooked until it turns brown, giving the dish a rich, nutty flavor.

Spice and Seasonings

Spices and seasonings are an essential part of Cajun cuisine. The most commonly used spices include cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic, onion, and thyme. These spices are used to add flavor and heat to dishes, and they are often combined in unique ways to create complex and delicious flavors.

In addition to spices, Cajun cuisine also makes use of the “holy trinity” of vegetables: onions, celery, and bell peppers. These vegetables are used as a base for many dishes, providing a savory and slightly sweet flavor that complements the spiciness of the seasonings.

Justin Wilson’s Cooking Show on PBS

Justin Wilson’s cooking show on PBS was a popular television series that aired from the 1970s to the 1990s. The show was known for its humorous and entertaining approach to Cajun cuisine, making it accessible to viewers of all cooking skill levels.

Memorable Episodes

Some of the most memorable episodes of Justin Wilson’s cooking show on PBS included his famous gumbo recipe, which he taught viewers how to make step-by-step. In addition to gumbo, Wilson also shared his recipes for jambalaya, red beans and rice, and other classic Cajun dishes.

One particularly memorable episode featured Wilson cooking a crawfish etouffee while wearing a bright purple shirt and matching hat. Another episode had him preparing a roast beef po’ boy sandwich, complete with homemade remoulade sauce.

Production Information

The cooking show was produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting and aired on PBS stations across the country. The show’s production team worked closely with Wilson to ensure that each episode was informative, entertaining, and engaging.

The set for the show was designed to look like a traditional Louisiana kitchen, complete with a brick fireplace, copper pots and pans, and colorful Mardi Gras beads. Wilson himself was always dressed in a colorful shirt and matching hat, adding to the show’s overall festive and lighthearted tone.

Easy Cajun Cooking with Justin Wilson

If you’re looking for a way to spice up your meals, look no further than Justin Wilson’s Cajun cooking. With his easy-to-follow recipes and cooking tips, you’ll be able to create delicious Cajun dishes in no time.

Popular Recipes

One of the most popular recipes from Justin Wilson is his classic gumbo. Made with onions, bell pepper, white wine, and a variety of spices, this dish is a staple of Cajun cuisine. Another favorite is his Cajun roast in a bag, which is seasoned with salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic and cooked in the oven for a tender and flavorful meal.

For those looking for something a little lighter, Justin Wilson also has a recipe for Cajun shrimp and rice. This dish is made with shrimp, green onions, and a variety of spices, and is perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

Cooking Tips

One of the keys to Justin Wilson’s Cajun cooking is his use of roux, a mixture of flour and oil that is used as a base for many Cajun dishes. He recommends cooking the roux until it is a dark brown color, which adds depth and flavor to the dish.

Another tip from Justin Wilson is to use a variety of spices and seasonings to create complex flavors. He recommends using a mix of cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder to add depth to dishes like gumbo and jambalaya.

Justin Wilson’s Cookbooks

Justin Wilson was a beloved Cajun cookbook author and host of several cooking shows on PBS. He was known for his humorous storytelling and expertise in Louisiana-style Cajun cooking. Wilson published several cookbooks throughout his career, which are still popular today.

Best-Selling Cookbooks

One of Justin Wilson’s most renowned books on Cajun cooking is the “Justin Wilson Gourmet and Gourmand Cookbook.” This cookbook features over several gourmet recipes that are easy to cook and enjoy. It weighs 1.2 lbs and has dimensions of 10.25 × 8.5 × 0.5 inches.

Another popular cookbook by Wilson is “The Justin Wilson #2 Cookbook: Cookin’ Cajun.” This treasury of authentic Cajun recipes perfectly complements his highly successful first cookbook, “The Justin Wilson Cookbook.” It has gone through numerous printings and is a must-have for those who want to know the secrets of Cajun cooking.

Recipe Highlights

Some of the recipe highlights from Justin Wilson’s cookbooks include:

  • Crawfish Etouffee
  • Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
  • Shrimp Creole
  • Red Beans and Rice
  • Jambalaya

Wilson’s cookbooks are filled with delicious and easy-to-follow recipes that bring the flavors of Cajun cooking to homes all over the world. His humor and storytelling also make for an entertaining read while cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

Justin Wilson’s cookbooks are a great resource for anyone looking to bring the taste of Cajun cooking to their home. With a variety of recipes and his humorous storytelling, Wilson’s cookbooks are sure to delight all.

The Influence of Louisiana and Its Culture

Louisiana’s unique culture and cuisine have had a significant impact on Justin Wilson’s cooking style. As a native of Roseland, Louisiana, Wilson grew up surrounded by the rich flavors and vibrant music of his home state. In this section, we will explore the ways in which Louisiana’s culture and customs have influenced Wilson’s cooking.

Louisiana’s Influence on Wilson’s Cooking

Louisiana’s cuisine is a fusion of various cultures, including French, Spanish, African, and Native American. Wilson’s cooking style reflects this diversity, combining different ingredients and techniques to create unique and delicious dishes. He often used traditional Cajun ingredients such as crawfish, shrimp, and Andouille sausage to create his signature dishes.

Wilson’s love for Louisiana cookin’ is evident in his popular cooking show on PBS. He often shared his passion for the state’s cuisine with viewers, teaching them how to make classic Cajun dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya, and red beans and rice. His recipes were always easy to follow, making it possible for anyone to enjoy Louisiana’s delicious cuisine.

Music and Cajun Culture

Music is an essential part of Louisiana’s culture, and Wilson was no exception. He often incorporated music into his cooking shows, playing traditional Cajun tunes in the background while he cooked. His love for music and food was evident in his humorous stories and jokes, which often featured both topics.

Wilson’s hometown of Roseland is located in Tangipahoa Parish, which is known for its vibrant music scene. He often talked about his childhood memories of listening to Cajun music and attending local festivals. These experiences helped shape his love for Louisiana’s unique culture and cuisine.

Louisiana’s culture and cuisine had a significant influence on Justin Wilson’s cooking style. His love for Louisiana cookin’ and music was evident in his popular PBS cooking show, where he shared his passion for the state’s cuisine with viewers. Whether he was cooking up a pot of gumbo or telling a humorous story, Wilson always celebrated Louisiana’s rich culture and traditions.

Looking Back at Justin Wilson

Justin Wilson was a master cook and storyteller who brought Cajun cuisine to the masses through his cooking shows and cookbooks. His show, “Justin Wilson’s Louisiana Cookin'” aired on PBS from 1979 to 1992, and his cookbook “Looking Back at Cajun Cooking” was published in 1998. In this section, we will take a look back at Justin Wilson’s legacy, including reviews and critiques of his work, as well as photos and memories of the man himself.

Reviews and Critiques

Justin Wilson’s cooking shows and cookbooks were beloved by many, but they were not without their critics. Some reviewers felt that his cooking was too simplistic and lacked the depth and complexity of other Cajun chefs. Others criticized his use of humor and storytelling as distracting from the cooking itself.

Despite these critiques, Justin Wilson’s influence on Cajun cuisine cannot be denied. He introduced many people to the flavors and techniques of Cajun cooking, and his recipes continue to be popular today. His emphasis on using fresh, local ingredients and simple, straightforward techniques remains relevant and valuable to home cooks and professional chefs alike.

Photos and Memories

For many fans of Justin Wilson, the man himself was just as important as his cooking. Wilson was known for his larger-than-life personality, his infectious laugh, and his love of storytelling. He was a natural entertainer who could captivate an audience with his tales of growing up in Louisiana and his experiences as a chef.

Photos of Justin Wilson show a man who was always smiling and always ready to have a good time. Whether he was cooking up a storm in the kitchen or posing with fans at a book signing, Wilson seemed to be in his element. His legacy as a chef and storyteller lives on, and his influence can still be felt in the world of Cajun cuisine today.

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