Recipes and Memories: A Cajun Christmas with Rachel Harris

A Cajun Christmas with Rachel Harris



I love the holidays. To me, Thanksgiving and Christmas means Harry Connick Jr. on the radio, a lot of wine, and even more heaping dishes of food on the table. Turkey and ham (because no one can pick a favorite), candied sweet potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese, a big pot of gumbo, at least three different stuffings, and a plethora of pies waiting for dessert.


Now, we’re Cajun and most of our recipes include phrases like “a little bit of this, and some of that.” Getting precise measurements of anything is impossible with many of our dishes. But everything is always delicious! Here are two of our family’s recipes that always make the cut. And again, my apologies for some of the imprecise measurements he he.


Merliton Casserole:  




  • 6 to 8 Merlitons
  • 1 to 2 lbs Ham cubed or 1 to 2 lb Shrimp small (your choice, and sometimes we do both. You can even use ground meat—and note the Cajun use of ‘ground meat’ not ‘ground beef’ lol)
  • 1 large stalk of Celery chopped fine
  • 1 medium to large Onion
  • 4 toes of garlic
  • 1handful of fresh Italian Parsley
  • 1 small bunch of Shallots
  • Butter or margarine
  • 1 to 2 cups grated bread crumbs or more (whatever gives you the right consistency)
  • Romano and/or Parmesan cheese to taste.


  1. Boil Merlitons with skin on until soft. (It’s best to cut them in half or quarters for quick cooking)
  2. Scoop out cooked Merliton with spoon and reserve (Take out the little white thing that’s in the middle and discard)
  3. Fry down all the seasonings until soft in butter or margarine
  4. Add Merlitons and mix well
  5. Add grated bread crumbs and mix until you get the consistency you like.
  6. Add grated Romano or Parnesan cheese or both to taste.


Bake 30 to 45 minutes until done. (Everything is already cooked, so basically you’re just heating it to get all the flavors mixed)


Note:  You may want to dot a little butter or margarine on top for the bake.


Grandma Genevieve’s Pumpkin Pie


  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 1 tbl Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • ¾ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Cloves
  • 1 tsp Ginger
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 ¼ cup canned or fresh Pumpkin
  • 1 tbs Molasses
  • 1 tbl Margarine
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 9’’ Pie shell.


  1. Mix sugar, flour, salt, and spices together.
  2. Add pumpkin. If fresh pumpkin, make sure to drain it well.
  3. Add Molasses and margarine and blend thoroughly.
  4. Beat slightly, then add milk and eggs to pumpkin mixture.
  5. Pour into 9’’ pie shell.
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes then 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

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