Road Trip: Boudin and Crawfish Kolaches in Louisiana
Note: Katie Walsh and her pops, cookbook author and food historian Robb Walsh, embarked on a delicious road trip last week from Houston, Texas, to the Southern Foodways Alliance annual symposium in Oxford, Mississippi. Two days. Three states. And plenty of good eats along the way. For the next nine days, Katie will share one of her stops with us daily. Take it away, Katie! —The Mgmt.
I'd never heard of a boudin kolache until my dad (cookbook author and food historian Robb Walsh) wrote about them for Houston Press's Eating Our Words blog, but they seemed like a perfect second course after Texas kolaches at Rao's.
These things are a testament to fusion food in America. Boudin is a French word for "blood sausage," but in Louisiana it means rice dressing with pork and spices inside of a sausage casing. So here we have boudin, a French-Cajun hybrid, stuffed inside a Texan spin on an Eastern European pastry. At Shipley Donuts in Houston, you can even throw a little Mexican into the mix if you order the jalapeño boudin kolache.
Following a lead from an Eating Our Words reader, we stopped at Delicious Donuts in Lake Charles to grab a true Louisiana boudin kolache. But alas, they didn't have any. Instead, we tried their crawfish- and shrimp-filled "kalotchies."
Fried like donuts and made with three cheeses, owner Paula Stevens insisted they were "nothin' like kolaches from Texas," hence the unique spelling. And boy was she right. Crispy on the outside, soft and oozy on the inside and filled with shrimp and crawfish tails, we knocked them out in a couple of bites.
But I was still bent on boudin. Thanks to yet another Eating Our Words reader, we found it at Happy Donuts just down the road, where the boudin kolache is rumored to have originated. No one could say for sure just how the combination came about, but owners Tracy and Selena Schultz and their sister Yanna Men all agreed they were a hot seller.
"It just happened one day," Tracy said. "They traditionally use smoked sausage, so we thought, why not boudin?" The result is sinfully soft and delicious, if not a little carb-heavy. It wasn't the best boudin I'd ever had, but the idea is just so darn cool.
Besides, with Scott and Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, next on the trail, there will be plenty of good boudin as the journey continues.
2283 Country Club Road, Lake Charles LA 70605 (map)
3612 Ryan Street, Lake Charles LA 70605 (map)
About the author: Katie Walsh is a native Austin writer passionate about food and all things cultural. She holds a degree in sociology and Spanish from UT Austin and is both a columnist and senior editor for multicultural publication TODO Austin.