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Cookook Reviews: Pecans From Soup to Nuts
Keith Courrégé cracked the nut in 1984, penning the first edition of Pecans from Soup to Nuts. Reprinted several times since then, the 2009 release from Pelican Publishing is more than an update. Jady Regard, Courrégé’s grandson and president of Cane River Pecan Company, persuaded cookbook author extraordinare Marcelle Bienvenu to pick up the pieces and shell out a new version of the old chestnut. It’s a winner. There’s classics like buttery cheese wafers with pecans and pecan pralines. But look for surprises like onion soup with pecan crust, chili-roasted sweet potatoes with chopped pecans, stuffed pork chops with asparagus and pecan butter and a fig preserve cake with pecan icing. The pictures are mouth watering, the recipes simple and straightforward. So get you out in the back yard and start pecan-picking, you’ll need a sack full to cook your way through this book. Pecans from Soup to Nuts lists for $19.95 at real and virtual bookstores everywhere. — Mary Tutwiler
Cookbook has it all in a nutshell
By CHERAMIE SONNIER
Recipes for anything pecan from Basic Roasted Pecans to a Pecan Martini fill the pages of the updated version of a cookbook first printed in 1984 for the Cane River Pecan Co. store in Natchitoches.
In the introduction of "Pecans From Soup to Nuts" (Pelican Publishing Co., hardcover, $19.95), Jady Regard, who heads the family-owned pecan company, writes that his grandfather, the late Keith Courrégé, wrote the original edition. The newest version lists both Courrégé, described as a celebrated cook from New Iberia, and food writer Marcelle Bienvenu as co-authors.
Bienvenu, of St. Martinville, whose articles and recipes regularly appear in magazines and newspapers including the New Orleans Times-Picayune, also contributed some new recipes for the book's collection of more than three dozen recipes.
The 128-page book, with its interesting mix of recipes and full-color photography by Sara Essex, is sure to be especially welcomed by home cooks during the upcoming holidays.
Courrégé called the pecan the "crown prince of the nut kingdom, God's gift to the South" in the earlier self-published edition of "Pecans From Soup to Nuts." The newer book opens with a discussion on the "Crown Prince," providing a short history of the pecan and nutritional information, and explaining how to store pecans and how to cook with them.
There is an interesting mix of recipes, all written with easy-to-follow instructions. Among them are Onion Soup With Pecan Crust; Pear, Roasted Pecans and Arugula Salad; Lemon Chicken With Capers and Pecans and Super-Duper Yams; Crab Cakes With Pecan-Butter Sauce and Pecan Bread Dressing; Olivia's Perfect Pecan Pie; and Pecan Pralines.
One recipe, Pineapple Cake, particularly intrigued One recipe, Pineapple Cake, particularly intrigued me. The introduction says Courrégé called it a Cajun cake, but no one knows why. A few years ago, the Food staff was stumped when we got a request for a recipe for Cajun cake. Could this have been what that caller wanted?
Cooking in Cajun Country
By Author & Journalist Cheré Dastugue Coen
And now, from Pelican Publishing in New Orleans, we have Pecans: From Soup to Nuts, a cookbook originally published by the late Keith Courrégé, grandfather of Jady Regard, current owner of the family-based Cane River Pecan Company of New Iberia. Courrégé published his version of Pecans in 1984 for the Cane River Pecan Company store in Natchitoches, near where the company grows its pecans. Pelican’s 2009 version is lovingly updated by Bienvenue, with photography by Louisiana’s Sara Essex.
The cookbook contains the history of the pecan, unknown to the world before European settlers were introduced to the nut by Native Americans. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were fans of pecans, but it was a slave at Oak Alley Plantation who grafted the trees and began the first commercial pecan orchard.
In addition, the cookbook informs us, pecans are really good for you, containing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and phytosterols, which protect against cardiovascular disease. Pecans are also proven to be successful in decreasing bad cholesterol.
The cookbook offers recipes for roasted pecans, appetizers, side dishes and entrées, desserts and specialty drinks. You can choose from pecan-crusted fish, “super-duper yams,” all types of salads utilizing pecans in various ways and les oreilles de cochon or Cajun pig ear dessert, a fried dough topped with cane syrup and pecans. And what would bourbon balls and fudge be without the delectable nut?
About the author
"The late Keith Courrégé was a celebrated cook in south Louisiana who referred to the pecan as the “Crown Prince of the Nut Kingdom, God’s gift to the South.” He lived in New Iberia, Louisiana."