Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mardi Gras March

March 2014

Sausage making is really old. Humans have been doing it for eons. Most of the credit goes to the Germans for bringing it to the United States, (and they were undoubtedly the first to commercialize it here) but you can’t tell me they haven’t been making sausage in some form or another down on the bayou for a million freaking years. And they make sausage out everything.

But it’s not just sausage that makes Louisiana such an enigma. It’s jambalaya and etoufee. Rustic Cajun and uptown Creole dishes. Crawfish and red beans. And the essential musical fragrance that wafts through the streets. Man, it’s eerie too…you can really feel the voodoo. Forget Vegas…the really funky ass stuff happens in NOLA.

So this month, in celebration of Mardi Gras, we pay our due respect to the cuisine of Acadiana and the entire ethos of it’s epicenter, New Orleans with the release of our Cajun Seafood Sausage and other accoutrements listed below. And don’t forget to come by JJ’s Red Hots in Dilworth on Fat Tuesday (March 4th) for live music at lunch and a free cup of GUMBO!

Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!

Cajun Seafood Sausage with Pork, Shrimp, Green Onions and Roasted Peppers//  This recipe is adapted from John Folse’s version. We changed some things around and decided to poach it in stock before we grill it, but it’s pretty close. And it is because John Folse is that good. We are proud to call him our friend. ( We are serving this on our toasted Martin’s Potato Roll with our house-made remoulade and green onions.

Red Beans with House Smoked Tasso Ham//  This is a traditional ‘washing day’ recipe flavored with our own house smoked tasso ham.

House Pickled Okra//  Sharp and crunchy with a wonderful texture. Okra is made for pickling.

Dog of the Week (March 3-9) // Who Dat’ Dawg! // Sahlen’s Hot Dog/Martin’s Potato Roll/Red Beans/Green Onions/Remoulade

RECIPE | Red Beans
This is a traditional staple of New Orleans cuisine made a thousand different ways all across Louisiana. Smoky and satisfying, (and inexpensive) red beans were traditionally made on Mondays – or ‘washing day’ – when housewives would put up the beans, do the wash and catch up on all the gossip. When the wash was done, so were the beans, and there was always plenty to share. Ladle the beans over steamed rice, top with green onions and serve with a hunk of crusty bread and a chunk of grilled andouille sausage. And don’t forget the hot sauce, mon cher.

3            Lbs. Red Beans, Soaked in water overnight, drained and rinsed well.
2            Cups onions, chopped
1            Cup Bell Pepper, chopped
1            Cup Celery, Chopped
3            T Garlic, minced
2            Hamhocks or other smoked ham.
1            Cup chopped andouille sausage
3            T Bacon fat or olive oil
3            T Kosher Salt
1            T Ground black pepper
1            Tsp Smoked Habanero Confit (optional, may substitute hot sauce)

Chopped Parsley
Green onions

1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, Render the hamhocks and andouille in bacon fat or olive oil for 3 min.
2. Turn up the heat to medium-high, add ‘Holy Trinity’ and garlic, and sweat for 3 min, stirring often.
3. Add beans and cover with water by 3”.
4. Bring to boil, reduce and simmer about 2.5 hrs. Beans should be soft but not mushy. Add salt/pepper to taste.
5. Mash beans on side of pot until slightly thick and creamy, stir and simmer until thickened, adjusting the texture to your taste
  Serve over steamed rice and top with green onions, a shot or two of Tabasco, grilled andouille sausage and chunk of crusty bread.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February @ JJ's Red Hots

This month, JJ’s is bringing the heat. Let’s face it - this winter has been pretty crappy,  weather-wise. So we thought we would warm this winter up with the bright flavors of balmy Mexico!

The sausage of the month for February will be a house-made CHORIZO. This pork sausage has many variations including a Spanish cured version, a South American version, a Portuguese version (a/k/a/ Linguica) and a ‘dry’ Mexican version.  All of which have their own merits, but we especially liked the Mexican ‘Fresh’ version we came up with, which combines some South American flavors with more traditional Mexican seasonings.

JJ’s Chorizo includes cayenne pepper and chile d’arbols along with fennel, red wine (A nice Argentinean Malbec) and smoked paprika. After we grind, season and stuff the sausage, we gently poach it until it is fully cooked. This technique ensures a crispy grilled char on the outside, while retaining it’s internal moisture and texture. We then serve it in our famous toasted Martin’s roll with the traditional Mexican ‘street taco’ toppings of diced onions and cilantro. 

We are also offering this with fresh tortilla chips and our house-made Grilled Salsa Verde, made from fresh tomatillos. (See recipe below) Grilling these little beauties (sort of a cross between a small green apple and a tomato) really brings out their subtle sweetness and deepens their wonderful green hue. Like any bona fide Salsa Verde, it includes ‘green’ ingredients like fresh lime juice, roasted jalepenos and fresh cilantro.

Hope you enjoy!

Salsa Verde
This Mexican “green” Salsa features lesser known but wonderful tomatillos. Grilling them really
brings out their subtle sweetness and livens up steak, chicken and especially fish. We love it on grilled swordfish or grilled chicken tacos. Adjust lime and cilantro to your taste. It should have a chunky/smooth consistency and should not be too runny. As with all salsas, this should be served at room temperature if possible.

4 LB Tomatillos, Husked and Rinsed
1/2 C Onion, Grilled and Diced
1/4 C Minced Cilantro, loosely packed
1/4 C Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1 Large Jalapeño, Blackened and Minced
1/4 C Freshly Squeezed OJ
1/4 C Pickled Jalapeño Brine (optional)
2 TBS Salt (adjust to taste, if needed)
1 TBS Ground Black Pepper

Makes about 1/2 gallon. Adjust accordingly for smaller batches.


1. Grill tomatillos until softened and skins are black all over.
2. Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse until ‘chunky/smooth’ but not liquefied. Blend in batches if needed.
3. Cool and store in the fridge. Keeps for about a week.

Tomatillos in their husks. These must be removed and the fruit needs to be rinsed of all residue before cooking.

 Husked and rinsed tomatillos on the grill

Tomatillos should be grilled until blackened all over. Be careful to remove smaller fruit before they get too soft. 

 Blend all ingredients together until smooth but NOT liquified.

 The finished salsa, perfectly blended.

Also, don’t forget about these exciting new menu items that are still available all day, every day!

 Chicken Sandwiches – We’ve been thinking about how to expand our product line without straying too far from our core – which will always be hot dogs and sausages. Well, our chicken tenders have been really popular, and they fit perfectly into a toasted Martin’s Roll, so we thought we’d give them a try! Check out the BLT with our house made Buttermilk Ranch Sauce, or dig into a JJ’s Fil-A sandwich – Fried Tenders, Cole Slaw and a Pickle Spear. One bite, and you’ll forget all about those ‘other’ guys with the silly cows that can’t spell.

Sahlen’s Premium All Beef Jumbos – Many of you have been asking for an all beef dog, so we thought we’d step it up and give you the best one we could find – from Sahlen’s of course. They are about twice the size of our regular dogs and we have designed some toppings that will complement their beefy deliciousness. Like the Quarter Hounder –Beer Queso, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Onion and our own ‘Special Sauce.’ And that’s just the beginning. Try them all!

Hall of Fame Dogs – These are some of our most popular dogs of the week from last year that we thought we’d bring back. The ‘Hey, Hey, Fry, Fry’ is a staff favorite with Cole Slaw, Tomatoes, French Fries and Remoulade. Also, the  ‘Weiner the Pooh’ is back! Peanut Butter, Bacon and Honey. You’re welcome!