Dive into the delicious world of Cajun and Creole cuisine with students from SOWELA's Culinary, Gaming, and Hospitality Center! Join the culinary students as they spill the secrets to crafting gumbo, étouffée, bread pudding, crab cakes, and jambalaya. Get ready to unleash your inner chef and savor the flavors of Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana!

SOWELA's Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality Center student recipes

Ingredients (serves 40 people)

  • 5 yellow onions 
  • 5 green bell peppers 
  • 10 ribs of celery 
  • 30 cloves of garlic (or a big jar of minced garlic) 
  • 1c vegetable oil 
  • 20 links of sausage 
  • 2.5lbs Tasso 
  • 15lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs 
  • red pepper flakes 
  • kosher salt 
  • 64oz chicken stock 
  • 4 cups long-grain rice 
  • 5 bunches of green onions 



Cook down sausage, and remove. Season chicken with 1T all-purpose seasoning, then add to pot and brown, remove. Add oil and sauté celery, bell pepper, and onion until fork tender, then add garlic, red pepper, and 1T All Purpose. Use beer (acid) to deglaze the pot. Add all meat and cook for approximately 10 minutes. Add rice to toast. Add stock and 1T All Purpose, salt, pepper, and hot sauce.  Bring stock to a boil, close the lid, and simmer for 20 minutes, turn the burner off and keep lid on for 15 minutes. Top with green onions. If you want to make a Creole-style Jambalaya, you could add crushed tomatoes.



SOWELA's Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality Center student recipes


  • 2 yellow onions diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 bunches of green onions chopped
  • 3lbs of chicken breasts cut into medium size cubes
  • 8-10 boneless chicken thighs  
  • 2 packs or 3lbs of Rabideaux’s smoked pork sausage, cut into thin slices
  • 3 packs of Savoie’s Pork Tasso, cut into small pieces
  • 1 gallon of water 
  • 32oz of chicken stock or broth
  • 2-4 smoked turkey legs.


Seasonings (season to taste)

  • Tony Chachere’s More Spice 
  • Salt 
  • Black Pepper  
  • Mustard (Yellow Classic) 
  • Worcestershire Sauce 
  • Cayenne pepper 
  • Garlic powder  



Heat water and chicken stock in a large gumbo pot on a medium heat. Meanwhile, make your roux by mixing a cup of flour and a cup of oil in a black iron skillet stirring constantly. As it heats up it will start to change colors from White (blonde) to Caramel then to a chocolate brown color. This is the color you want it to be, remove from heat at this point. You will add the roux to the pot of boiling water. Stir and watch closely so that it does not boil over, reduce heat if need be. Once the roux is incorporated and completely melted into the water. Then add your smoked turkey legs and boil on medium heat to add some depth and flavor.  

Season your chicken with mustard, creole (Tony’s), salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. In another pot brown the chicken well on both sides then remove from pot and set aside. In the same pot, you used to brown your chicken, brown your cut sausage, and season with a little garlic powder, Tony’s, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Take your Tasso and add it to the pot of sausage and let brown a little bit. Add your onions and sauté until wilted. You can add a little water to help. Throw your chicken back into the pot and add a little more water to deglaze the pot getting all of the flavor and goodness off the bottom!!!  

Boil this for a few minutes then pour into the roux pot. I usually boil this on medium heat for about an hour to tenderize the chicken and enhance the flavors. You can remove the turkey legs and debone them at this point. Then either put the turkey meat back into the gumbo or just snack on them! Taste test the liquid of the gumbo to see if you desire more seasoning, add more if desired. If more seasoning is added let boil for a little longer then taste again. If the seasoning is where you want it to be add in your green onions. I like to cook mine in it for about 10 minutes, but you can add them in at the end if you would prefer. Serve over white rice. In my house, we have to have a side of potato salad. 



SOWELA's Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality Center student recipes

Ingredients for Bread Pudding

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the sides of the baking dish 
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, cut into coins 
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar 
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon banana extract 
  • 2 tablespoons of bourbon 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 1 (1 pound) loaf of Brioche bread, cut into 1’’ cubes 
  • 2 cups of milk 
  • 2 cups half and half 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 


Ingredients for Pecan Praline Bourbon Sauce

  • 1 1/4 cup roughly chopped toasted pecans. 
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar. 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/4tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda 
  • 3 Tbsp bourbon 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 


Directions for Bread Pudding

We will make a deeply flavored banana foster base with butter, bananas, brown sugar, and granulated sugars, and then the vanilla and bourbon. Let this cool a bit while you prepare the rest of the recipe. While the banana foster base is cooling, we will add the milk half and half to our dry-out bread cubes. Use a rubber spatula to press the milk into the bread. once the bananas foster base cool to room temp, stir in some lightly beaten eggs into it. If your banana mixture is still very warm, whisk about ½ cup of that into the eggs to temper/warm the eggs up a bit. Then stir that egg mixture into the remaining bananas until well incorporated. The bananas foster mixture will get folded into the soaked bread, and then you spread it all into a greased casserole dish. It will look soupy but trust me, it will bake into a soft and silky bread pudding that is to die for! During the last 10 minutes of the bread pudding baking, we will make our pecan praline bourbon sauce. It is super simple to make and comes together quickly! Once it is done, keep it warm covered in a dish on the stovetop until ready to serve. When the bread pudding is done, It will start to pull away from the sides of the pan and be slightly jiggly in the center. It will be very puffy, but this will deflate a little once you pull it out of the oven. Serve the still-warm bread pudding with the pecan praline bourbon sauce and enjoy! 


Directions for Pecan Praline Bourbon Sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 6-8 minutes. Set aside. Bring brown sugar, heavy cream, butter, corn syrup, salt, and cinnamon to a boil in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once boiling immediately lower the heat and let bubble for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the baking soda. Stir until incorporated. Add bourbon, vanilla, and toasted pecans. Mix well. Cool slightly (about 10 minutes) Serve warm. 



SOWELA's Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality Center student recipes

Ingredients for Cajun Crab Cakes (serves 12)

  • ½ lb. Lump Crab meat                                           
  • 1/3 Cup Mayo 
  • 1 Egg, beaten. 
  • 1 ½ Cups Panko  
  • 1 Lemon, zest, and juice 
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning 
  • ¼ Cup Pepper Jack Cheese 
  • ½ Onion 
  • ½ Bell Pepper 
  • ½ stick butter 


Ingredients for Shrimp Deviled Eggs (serves 12)

  • 12 Large Shrimp 
  • 6 Large eggs 
  • ¼ Onion, finely chopped 
  • ¼ Bell pepper, finely chopped  
  • 1 tsp minced garlic 
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard 
  • 3 Tbsp Mayo 
  • 2 dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce 
  • 2 Claussen Dill Pickles 
  • Paprika, Jalapenos, and Chives for garnish 
  • Cajun Seasoning 
  • ½ stick of butter 


Directions for Cajun Crab Cakes

Saute your onion and bell pepper in butter. In a large bowl combine crab meat, mayo, egg, panko, seasoning, cheese, and sauteed veggies. Roll out 12 balls of mixture and flatten into cakes. Oil a skillet and sear the crab cakes on medium-high heat.   


Directions for Shrimp Deviled Eggs

Saute shrimp, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in butter. Bring eggs to a boil, then turn to low and leave covered for 10-12 minutes. Shock them in ice water. Peel your eggs and cut them in half. Add yolks to a medium-sized bowl. Add in mayo, mustard, hot sauce, sauteed veggies, and seasoning, and cream these ingredients together. Pipe them into the eggs. Put in fridge to cool. Slice your pickles and add your shrimp and pickle slices to the top of the egg. Garnish with jalapeno slices, and chives, and sprinkle paprika. 



SOWELA's Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality Center student recipes

Ingredients for Cajun Catfish 

  • 3 cup buttermilk 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1/2 cup Mustard 
  • 4 Eggs 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
  • Cajun mix of herbs and spices ( A good Cajun or Creole season works best.) 
  • 10-pound catfish fillets, cut in strips 
  • 5 1/2 cups fine cornmeal 
  • 4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 3 tablespoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay 
  • For vegetable oil for deep frying, I suggest using a deep fryer. 


Ingredients for Crawfish Étouffée

  • 1/2 Cup butter  
  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 can cream of celery
  • 4 can rotel tomatoes
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce
  • 3 medium onions chopped
  • 2 medium bell pepper chopped
  • 1 jalapeno  
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic chopped
  • 4 teaspoons Cajun seasonings or to taste 
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional, for spicier 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 4 cups chicken stock or seafood stock. 
  • 5-pound crawfish tail meat par-cooked or more depending on your liking of crawfish 
  • chopped parsley
  • FOR GARNISH: Extra chopped parsley, spicy chili flakes, hot sauce 
  • Cooked rice for serving if desired


Directions for Cajun Catfish

In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, water, mustard, eggs, salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Add catfish strips to the buttermilk mixture, ensuring they are fully coated. Marinate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors absorb. In a separate bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, and seafood seasoning. Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer to 350°F (175°C). Dredge each marinated catfish strip in the cornmeal mixture, ensuring they are evenly coated. Fry the coated catfish strips in batches until golden brown and crispy. This should take about 5-6 minutes per batch. Remove the fried catfish from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. Serve the Cajun Fried Catfish hot with Crawfish Étouffée on the side.


Directions for Crawfish Étouffée

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir continuously to make a roux. Cook until the roux reaches a medium to dark brown color. Add cream of celery, Rotel tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions, bell peppers, jalapeno, celery, and garlic to the roux. Stir well. Season the mixture with Cajun seasonings, cayenne pepper (if using), salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Pour in chicken stock or seafood stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let it cook for about 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add the crawfish tail meat to the pot and cook until heated through. Garnish with chopped parsley and additional spicy chili flakes if desired. Serve the Crawfish Étouffée over cooked rice with Cajun Fried Catfish on the side. Optionally, garnish with extra chopped parsley and hot sauce.