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Next up for my DIY culinary herb and spice blends, in collaboration with Mountain Rose Herbs: Cajun Spice Mix!
My husband has spent time in virtually every state in the US (and quite a few Canadian provinces) courtesy of being the youngest son of a traveling preacher. This meant not only spending time in many states but spending time in people’s homes, graciously eating the foods with which they were welcomed. As such, he developed strong preferences for the flavors of certain regional cuisines. Not the least of which is the bold flavors Cajun/Creole flavors.
I, on the other hand, am not as well traveled. The Pacific Coast and Mountain West represent the majority of my travels. My adventurous palate was developed by watching cooking shows with my father as a child.
Needless to say, our upbringings were quite different.
But I, too, love the Cajun/Creole flavors. My love was just informed by the quite stout Paul Prudhomme ala 1980’s PBS programming.
The terms Cajun and Creole are used somewhat interchangeably, perhaps too much so, referring to the cuisine of bayou South, but more specifically local to Acadian Louisiana. Cajun is often referred to as “country food” and Creole as “city food.” However, there are distinct differences among the cuisines, and a true Southern foodie could school a person that says otherwise in the notable distinctions. From the use of tomatoes (Cajun found largely does not use) to butchering techniques, offal preferences, to the use of more regional versus exotic herbs and spices, Cajun and Creole are like sibling cuisines – similar but unique.
For the purposes of this recipe, I feel fairly confident in calling this a Cajun spice blend. First, from my inclusion of celery seed (a slightly more Cajun note) and my lack of anything too fancy or exotic, and the fact that I am a bit of a country mouse myself, my blend seems to err on the Cajun side. Paprika, cayenne, thyme, garlic, onion, and black pepper are simple and straightforward bold flavors that provide a volume of flavor. And perhaps a bit untraditionally, I include a bit of fennel seed as I think the slight anise-y notes are a suitable replacement for the more regional sassafras (forgive my PNW sensibilities).
The resulting blend is bold and flavorful. This Cajun spice blend is the perfect compliment to shrimp and grits (my husband’s favorite), and a superb seasoning for roast chicken. My next pork butchering season, I plan to try my hand at some homemade Andouille sausage with this mixture. Also, gumbo anyone? Fried okra? How about giving your Bloody Mary some cajun spice flair? Although I am basing this blend a more Cajun profile, only the more discerning Southern palates would know if you subbed the blend for a more Creole-fied recipe. I mean, it’s all good.
Cajun Spice Blend
A flavor with profound soul & flair, Cajun spice is a bold blend of paprika, cayenne, onions, garlic, black pepper, and even a little celery seed & fennel.
- 1/2 cup paprika
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon granulated onion
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
Combine all cajun spice herbs and spices and place in a tightly lidded jar out of direct sunlight.