March 21, 2020
Crawfish Étouffée, Alligator Stir Fry, and Goat Curry
Pg. 73, 76, + 129
Avery (Season 4), Cory (Season 3), and Jasmine (Season 5, winner!)
73-75 down…24 to go!
I have been intimidated by of all 3 of these dishes for the last 10 months. And if you would have told me 11 months ago that I would be making not just one but all 3 (and all in the same week no less) I would have thought you were crazy. It’s times like this that I am so glad I took on the challenge of cooking my way through the MasterChef Junior Cookbook. I love that I can say that I can cook all of these unique proteins. If it weren’t for this journey, I wouldn’t know how good they all are.
Yup, they were all seriously delicious. If I had to pick a favorite though, I would probably pick the goat. The meat itself was incredibly tender and I love that I got to use Vadouvan again (a delicious curry like spice that I used for the first time recently when making MasterChef Junior Monkfish.) Plus, it was a shockingly easy recipe because the pressure cooker did all the work. Flavorful and easy? You know I’ll be making this again (and the other curry that Jasmine made on her journey to winning the MCJ trophy, her delicious West Indian Lobster Curry.)
I actually was gifted the goat meat from a vendor at my local farmer’s market. I was walking around taking photos for some of the vendors and stumbled upon a booth that exclusively sold Goat meat. I felt like it was destiny because I knew goat was on my to-make list for MCJ. The owner of J&J Meats generously gifted me a pound of his stew meat to make this incredible recipe. I wish I could have shared a bowl with him as a thank you.
I got the crawfish and alligator from THE Cajun Market, thanks to a recommendation from one of the local Facebook food groups I’m in. They apparently go to Louisiana once a week to get the their products. I didn’t know if there was good or bad alligator meat to buy but I knew that getting it from our neighbors in Louisiana was probably a safe bet.
Out of all 3 proteins, I’d say I was most nervous to try the alligator. I had no idea what to expect, and as cliché as it is, it ended up tasting like chicken (just a little chewier :P). This stir fry recipe, by Cory from Season 3, called to be topped with pineapple. I have always wanted to serve a meal in a pineapple (like it’s been on my to-make bucket list for years) so I couldn’t resist using the unused pineapple half as the “plate.”
Lastly, the crawfish étouffée made me feel like I was in NOLA. I have not eaten a ton of creole or cajun dishes in my time (so far anyway), but I feel like this dish could be the poster child for those cuisines. I distinctly remember Avery, the young season 4 home chef from Louisiana who made this dish. She often wore pigtails and talked about the food she cooked for her family in the bayou in her adorable southern drawl. Actually getting to have a taste of the food that is such a part of who she is felt like getting to know her in real life.
I hope to make all of these again, but maybe switch some things up and make them my own. Every new MasterChef Junior dish expands my knowledge of food and cooking methods, and I know that’s turning me into a even better home chef + recipe developer. I can’t believe I only have 24 more to go!
All my love,
Dani, a big tid
This Is Gonna Be Fun.
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