New Orleans Cuisine

My Creole & Cajun Recipe Page

This is my blog dedicated to New Orleans & Louisiana cooking! I'll give links to great Creole & Cajun recipes and sites, as well as some of my own recipes. I love talkin' New Orleans, food and otherwise! Incidentally, I'm from Detroit. Go Figure. Lets just say I figured out "what it means, to miss New Orleans" and this site helps ease the pain.

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"Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins."
-Ignatius J. Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces
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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Chicory

New Orleans is a coffee town, and you can't talk about New Orleans Coffee without first discussing Chicory. Coffee and Chicory (Chik-uree) go hand in hand in New Orleans, so before I write my Coffee post, I will first post on Chicory.
Chicory describes a group of bitter greens in the sunflower family, the likes of which, those of us who love to cook are very familiar: Belgian Endive (Witloof), Curly Endive (or Frisee), Escarole, and Raddichio. The Chicory we're interested in here, the one used for extending coffee, Cichorium Intybus, is a perennial herb, which grows wild in parts of the country, and has flowers that are usually blue. It has a root resembling a white carrot, getting as large as 2" at the top and 14" long. Before Chicory root is used for coffee, it is sliced, kiln-dried, roasted with a little oil until dark, and ground to desired fineness. The addition of Chicory to Coffee makes it stonger, thicker, and slightly bitter. I think it adds an almost unsweetened Chocolate flavor and consistency.
I've read different versions of who first starting using Chicory to extend coffee, here is what I've heard. The first known use was in the 1600's, some say of Dutch origin (as am I), some say French, some say Chicory was first used to extend coffee for Napoleon's troops. As far as New Orleans and the United States is concerned, maybe it started during the Civil War due to Naval blockades, which blocked the import of coffee. Maybe the French brought it with them. Who knows? One thing I do know is that Chicory makes New Orleans Coffee distinctive from all other Coffees in the States, and possibly the world.
Certain grocery stores in my area sell Ground Roasted Chicory on its own for extending coffee, and French Market brand Coffee with Chicory, which is what Commander's Palace uses, is available just about anywhere. If you live in the Detroit area, Rafal Spice Company in Eastern Market sells a whole bean, New Orleans Style Coffee with Chicory that is very good.

5 Comments:

Blogger cookie jill said...

A little chicory coffee...a little powdered sugary mess....I'll feel right back at Cafe de Monde! ;-)

11:04 PM  
Blogger sleepybomb said...

as usual, you nailed it down. i never knew what a chicory was til now.
we get a huge box of community coffee sent here every few weeks, (we drink it like water). as every yat will tell ya, community is the locals choice for coffee. i can't stand regular coffee anymore, gotta have that chicory in there.
looking forward to the coffe post!

11:46 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

We finally harassed the office into putting Community Coffee in the break room. We brew five different pots every morning. It's heaven. Almost worth going to work.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Danno,

Every time I'm in NO I try chicory coffee to no avail. I just don't like it. But this may interest you:

"Any coffee, emasculated or not, is better than perfect if it is made with chicory." -- How to Cook a Wolf, M.F.K. Fisher.

12:27 PM  
Blogger cajuninel said...

at leasr two cups of cof & chick her in ellington ct. every morning

8:14 AM  

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