Is it Cajun or is it creole?

A question that has plagued New Orleans visitors for decades. When do you use which term? Are they interchangeable? Does it even matter? The answer is…well…yes and no. Both are essential to Louisiana cooking and sometimes can be used in the same context, but they do have different histories.

The term Cajun derives from the term Acadian, the Acadians being some of the first French-Canadian settlers to inhabit the area. The history of Cajun food grew around these settlers taking French cooking traditions and mixing them with what was locally available. Whether it be he “nose to tail” use of the whole animal, the mirepoix inspired “Holy trinity” of vegetables  or the heavy use of dark roux for flavoring; the more rustic of New Orleans culinary traditions grew from these settlers more rural roots.

Creole cuisine on the other hand grew out of more metropolitan origins. Creole just being an amalgamation of ingredients, cuisines and people. But in this case, the Creole consisted of European immigrants that were new to the Americas and tended to be on the wealthier side. Many of them bringing along their own Chefs from their homeland. This mixture of French, Spanish and Italian traditions blended over time with that of Caribbean and African to form what we know of today as Creole cuisine.

You don’t talk about Creole cuisine without invoking the very sauce that bears the name of this tradition. Good ‘ol full of veggies, touch of tomato, hint of sweetness and enough spice to make you take notice creole sauce. At Harry’s we take that holy trinity of peppers, celery and onion and to it we add some diced red peppers, a touch of honey and a good healthy dash of our very own Harry’s Hot Sauce. Now many people serve just Shrimp Creole, but at Harry’s we feel you deserve a little more. So, we mixed in a little turf to go with that surf to make a homemade chicken and shrimp Creole that is guaranteed to fill you up and set you at ease thinking of all the beautiful New Orleans tradition that you just ingested. Served over white rice and accented with a touch of our lemon cream sauce, we keep our Creole true to its hearty but upscale roots. Come on by and have a bowl, just don’t ask for Chicken and Shrimp Cajun…we haven’t thought up that dish yet 😉

-Chef Bennett