Bouille au Lait Pie and Pork Backbone Stew

Wilbert Carmouche
Wilbert Carmouche

Food, Food, Food, that is all we have heard for the last month or so.  And you know what, it does not bother me at all.  With Avoyelles Parish’s French Creole ancestry it seems like we talk about the next meal before we finish clearing the table.  With 2015 being the year of food, I want to share a couple of recipes that are not necessarily unique to Avoyelles but somehow are favorites.


Bouille au Lait Pie (bouille au lait, French for custard)



4 Eggs
1/4  Cup Milk
2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon Crisco
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
4 Cups Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Teaspoon Vanilla
Pinch of Salt


Cream butter, Crisco, and sugar.  Add egg and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Begin adding dry ingredients and milk to butter and sugar mixture alternately, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on a floured board.  Using 2/3 of the rolled dough, line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan.  Reserve 1/3 dough for top of pie.



1/2 Cup Flour
2/3 Cup Sugar
1/4 Tsp. Salt
4 Cups Milk
2 Tablespoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg (Optional)


In a saucepan, combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar and salt.  Add enough milk to make a paste.  Slowly stir remaining milk.  Place over medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a near boil.  Cook 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Mix in the remaining sugar.  Return to heat.  Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla, nutmeg (if desired) and butter.  Stir approximately 5 minutes while cooling.  Pour into prepared crust.  Decorate top with 1/2 inch strips of remaining dough, making a lattice weave.  Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


Note:  You may top with egg white meringue rather than dough lattice.  Make basic meringue and at end of 45 minute baking period, remove from oven, top with meringue and return to oven to brown meringue.


Pork Backbone Stew with Turnips


5 Pounds Pork Backbone Pieces
2 Teaspoons Seasoned Salt
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2  Vegetable Oil
2 Cups Chopped Onion
2 Tablespoons Chopped Garlic
1 Quart Water
8 Turnips, Peeled and Quartered


Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet.  Brown pork and set aside on platter.  Stir flour into oil/drippings and stir until brown on medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, continue to cook for about 2 minutes.  Add water; whisking until smooth.  Put browned pork back into skillet and cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes.  Add turnips and cook until they become tender.


Note:  Any cut of pork can be substituted; you may have to adjust cooking time for tenderness.  You may also substitute hen or fryer, if desired.  Irish potatoes may also be substituted for turnips.