Sandra Sowder, owner of The Freight House restaurant, kitchen manager Antheia Simmons have offered some of their personal favorite dishes in honor of the Mari Gras and Valentine’s Day holidays. The dishes went over so well that they have been requested daily.
Valentine’s Day the restaurant offered options of Bourbon Bread Pudding, crawfish pies, Crawfish Etouffee, an 8 ounce sirloin, handmade crab cakes, a black and blue steak with Cajun seasoning, and Shrimp and Grits, along with their regular menu.
“I think this time of year is a good time to talk about Cajun food,” Sowder said.
Sowder said her favorite recipes and dishes seem to gravitate from New Orleans.
“It is a go-to destination since I was in college,” she said, adding that a road trip or taking a train from Birmingham to New Orleans is always fun.
She said she loves two New Orleans restaurants Brennan’s and Café Demone.
She loves Brennan’s for their Banana Fosters and Café Demone for their coffee and beignets.
The Freight House serves chicken and Andouille sausage gumbo on a regular basis, which is a dish they plan to enter in the Taste of the Valley competition for the Volunteer Center of Morgan County Feb. 25.
Simmons has started serving her Crawfish Etouffee occasionally too.
“It’s my favorite, so I cook it for myself mostly,” Simmons said. “I’ve never been anywhere around here where you could get it. It’s just different.”
Simmons keeps list of customers with requests that she calls when she is making their favorite dishes.
“I have people to call and ask what our special is for Friday night, and ‘I’ll say what do you want?’ and I’ll make if for them,” she said.
In addition to the main course dishes the restaurant also serves a variety of desserts and cakes, such as the crowd pleaser Hummingbird Cake which has banana, pineapples and nuts in it. Sowder and Simmons plan to change up the menu slightly in the spring, adding some new cheesecakes and desserts.
Simmons shared her favorite Crawfish Etouffee recipes below. Enjoy!
1 Cup butter
¾ Cup onion finely diced
½ Cup finely chopped green onions (bottoms)
½ Cup finely diced bell pepper
½ Cup finely diced celery
¼ Cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
5 ½ Cups seafood stock
2 lbs crawfish tails
¼ Cup sliced green onion (tops)
Cook first seven ingredients until tender. Add cayenne, black pepper, white pepper and salt and cook for about one minute. Add stock and bring to boil.
Make a roux with butter and flour. Stir in slowly with a whisk, just enough to thicken slightly. Add crawfish and tops of onions. Serve over rice.
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