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Steak Around The World - Southern U.S Cajun - Butter Steak Bites

What is Cajun Cuisine?

Cajun cuisine is a showcase of spices, flavours, and hearty cooking that is laden with history and culture in every bite of hearty food.

The Cajun way of cooking and its staple recipes can trace their origins back to the early 1600s when the Acadians, who were the original French settlers in North America, began their journey into Canada, taking their peasant-style recipes of the French countryside with them. Root vegetables and game meat cooked together in a single pot with lashings of thick sauce were the staples of French peasantry cooking and the Acadians adapted this to what they could catch or gather from land and sea in the North Americas.

Fast forward to 1755 when the British Crown ruled the land, over 14,000 of the original Acadians refused to pledge their allegiance to the Crown and were swiftly deported from the land eventually settling in the southern US in what is now known as Louisiana.

It didn’t take long for the French-Canadian farmers to once again get to grips with the local produce, adapt it to their tastes, and bring an entirely new cuisine to the locals. Everything that could be caught, harvested, or scavenged was thrown into the Cajun pot with crab, oysters, crawfish, alligators, catfish, and shrimp being plucked from the bayous.

When it came down to the carbohydrates, potatoes were replaced with readily available rice which thrived in Louisiana’s hot, sticky climate. Sweet bell peppers took the place of the humble carrot in the Holy Trinity base of stews and new spices (black pepper, cayenne) were introduced to give Cajun cuisine that spicy kick and influences from the Spanish, Native Americans and African-Americans also played a key role in shaping the cuisine that is known today.

Cajun Cooking Today

Cajun cooking today is steeped heavily in tradition with the numerous restaurants in the area and home cooks putting their own spin into recipes but the core building blocks remaining relatively unchanged from all those years ago.

Seafood is still the undisputed staple of cooking with the smell of a crawfish boil bringing in friends and family from streets away while a hot chocolatey roux is a sure sign of good eating in the house. The Holy Cajun Trinity consists of bell peppers, celery, and onions. It’s these three ingredients that give heart and soul to popular Cajun dishes like gumbo and jambalaya.

While seafood is surely king in Cajun cooking, the soft buttery texture and flavour of the famous butter steak bites are still close to the heart of the intrepid foodie and dedicated Cajun cooker alike.

Cajun Butter Steak Bites

Cajun butter steak “bites” are a fantastic treat and a dish that is revered across the Cajun states for its ease of cooking, its budget-friendly ingredients, and its ability to please an entire crowd out of a single pan.

But surely if you wanted to eat steak then you would just cook up a steak right? Well, not all of the time. A top quality piece of beef is expensive and hard to come by in the modern age let alone 1800s Louisiana, back then you had to make do with what you had which was, more often than not, cheap and cheerful cuts.

Now we’re not here to start listing recipes and this is by no means one of those interminable, long-winded recipes that have a story tacked on but it would be a bit silly to talk about something as delicious as Cajun Butter Steak Bites on a Steak focused blog page and not at least give you an idea on how to make them.

Your first step is to make a full bodied Cajun seasoning mix that will give your steak bites the kick and warmth that the cuisine demands:

  • 1tbsp Paprika

  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt

  • 1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

  • 1 tsp Onion Powder

  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder (As hot as you can handle)

  • 3/4 tsp Dried Thyme

  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano

  • 1/2 tsp Brown Sugar

  • 1/2-3/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

  • 1/4 tsp Cracked Black Pepper

Once you have all of these spices together your kitchen should smell amazing BUT don’t smell the seasonings too much, if that chilli powder gets up your nose you’ll soon know about it. Onto the next step.

Take your steak, be it a cheap cut or a splurge on something extra fancy, and cut it up into roughly 2 inch cubes. Dump those cubes into the bowl of seasoning and stir well to combine making sure every square millimetre of meat is covered.

Now to get things cooking.

Add some oil to a ripping hot pan and add the steak in batches to sear. You want a nice hard crispy sear so don’t be afraid to let them stick a bit. Once you’re happy with your sear, recover the steak from the pan and kill the heat.

Add some freshly chopped garlic and a good half cup of butter to the pan and allow them to meld together with all of the steak flavours in there. Be careful at this step, if your pan is still too hot from the initial sear then your garlic and butter will burn so definitely err on the side of caution.

Once you’ve got the garlic cooked and fragrant, throw the steak bites back into the pan and toss to combine and coat.

Your steak bites should be thoroughly cooked and thoroughly coated in a deliciously spicy, garlicky, and buttery sauce that will have your neighbours peeking through their blinds as you tuck into this Cajun classic that’s just as good for the should as it is the wallet.

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