Cajun seasoning is one of the most popular and recognizable flavors that you’ll encounter, but have you ever wondered what it is and where it comes from? Well, our Bearded Butcher Blend Cajun Seasoning is one of our most popular and for good reasons. It goes great on fish, chicken, pork, and is a great way to spice up vegetables. Today, we’re going to share a little about the history of Cajun seasoning and explain how it’s made and used.
Where Does Cajun Seasoning Come From?
If you said Cajun seasoning comes from Louisiana, you might be surprised to learn that is only partially correct. In order to understand Cajun seasoning, you first have to understand the people who became what we know today as Cajuns.
A Seasoning Over 300 Years in the Making
The story of Cajun seasoning begins with French settlers living in the coastal islands of Canada. Known as the Acadians, these settlers learned from the native population how to hunt, fish, and cook, while using ingredients they got from the land.
In the mid-1700s, wars being fought between the English and French resulted in a British policy that saw around three-fourths of the Acadians deported from Canada and resettled in British Colonies. Some of the Acadians were taken back to Europe where they were recruited by the Spanish to settle the territory of Luisana, what we know today as the state of Louisiana.
When the Acadians were brought to Louisiana, Creole people already lived there. Creoles were a mixture of white European settlers, Black freemen and slaves, and mixed-race individuals. The Acadians took the skills they had learned hunting and fishing in the cold Northeast and combined them with the skills of the Creoles in Louisiana.
Instead of cooking cod, lobster, and crab common in Canada, the Acadians began to use their culinary skills to prepare crayfish, shrimp, catfish, and oysters. As they had learned to do in Canada, the Acadians also learned to use local flavors available in the South. This included rice, peppers, and spices, along with the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Cajun cuisine – onions, bell peppers, and celery.
What is Cajun Seasoning Made From?
Today, we recognize Cajun seasoning as a uniquely Southern spice, but it has its roots in rural French, Spanish, and African cooking. Herbs like oregano and thyme are common in French cooking, while paprika originates in North America, but has been a popular spice in Spanish dishes since the 16th century. Cayenne pepper is a common Cajun spice that originates from French Guiana. Garlic, a common ingredient in Cajun seasoning, came from East Asia before being introduced into European cuisine about 1,000 years ago.
The Difference Between Cajun and Creole
Today, it may be difficult to separate the terms Cajun and Creole in terms of cuisine. Creoles were a mix of Europeans, Africans, and natives living in the region around New Orleans in early American history. As explained above, Cajuns came from Arcadia in Canada but settled in the Southern Louisiana region in the 18th century.
Culinary differences are slight, with dishes such as gumbo often being considered a Cajun dish, though it originates with Creole cuisine. Both Creole and Cajun foods have roots in French cooking, for example, the use of a roux is common in both. Other ingredients like andouille sausage are also French and common in both Cajun and Creole cooking.
Differences lie in the details. For example, a Cajun roux uses lard and flour, while a Creole roux is generally butter and flour. Creole dishes often use tomatoes, while Cajun recipes do not. Many people view Creole cuisine as “city food,” while Cajun cooking is more closely associated with “country food.”
Our Favorite Ways to Use Cajun Seasoning
Cajun seasoning makes for an excellent dry rub on chicken and fish, and these are dishes we tend to gravitate toward when getting this spice involved.
One of our all-time favorites is seared Golden Pompano with a heavy rub of Cajun seasoning. Cajun seasoning is also ideal for kicking up the flavor of a crawfish boil or as a primary seasoning for barbecued okra.
Sauteed shrimp seasoned with Cajun spices are delicious on a fresh crusty hoagie roll, while it is an essential ingredient in Cajun rice with andouille sausage, a very traditional Acadian recipe popular all over Louisiana.
Next Time You’re Cooking, Throw in Some Cajun
Cajun seasoning is spicy, fragrant, and has layers of nuance that accentuate all sorts of dishes. Our Bearded Butcher Blend Cajun Seasoning captures the essence of classic Cajun cooking and makes it simple for you to add a little Louisiana flavor to anything you cook.