Millet believes in his iron pot

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 18, 2000

ANNA MONICA / L’Observateur / October 18, 2000

If it’s a black iron pot, Warren Millet will cook in it. It would be hard toconvince Warren that it is worth cooking in anything else. He has used blackiron pots and skillets to cook in for a long time and probably always will. TheLaPlace native has a variety of them.

When he first married, Warren decided he would rather try to do the cooking, and he gradually began to learn how to cook a roux with the help of his mother, the late Esther Millet. She and Warren’s late father, Felix, had bothworked at Roussel’s Restaurant in LaPlace for almost 40 years, with Felix being a familiar figure behind the bar. About the roux, Warren was told to”cook it until it looks like peanut butter – golden brown with a peanut butter texture.” He still follows that advice today, although the first few times hetried it he burned it by using too high a fire. Warren is convinced, though,that you can’t beat a black iron pot or a skillet to make a roux.

A long time ago, at a festival, Warren saw some guy using a wooden spoon to make a roux, so he has been doing the same thing ever since. He buys thethree-to-a-pack kind and really believes in them, almost as much as he believes in those black iron pots. Those pots are used for all the saucepiquants, stews and jambalayas he makes.

“You just can’t beat a black iron pot or a skillet to make a roux,” Warren again declares. “You can’t beat the taste of anything that comes out of ablack iron pot.”Just about everything Warren cooks on the stove in done in one of those pots.

After the black pot is bought, it’s quite a process to cure it, Warren says.

Cooking oil is used to wipe the pot all over, then it needs to be put into an oven for several hours if you don’t have an open burner. Although it has tobe cured every time you cook in it, Warren doesn’t believe the pot has to be “sand blasted” clean because it has to be at a good cooking stage.

That was the only pot Warren’s grandmother, the late Elvin Vicknair, ever used, and she would make a dish called “Shrimp Nor Mon.” Then, aftereveryone had eaten, Warren would take his bread, swab it in what was left in the skillet and have a feast. It’s the bell pepper, he believes, that gives itthe sweet taste.

Warren’s family is not particular as to what he cooks. At least three or fourtimes a week it will be some kind of stew: carrot, potato, chicken, or whatever. Youngest son, Casey, can’t wait for it to cook. The other twoboys are Warren Jr. and Jeffrey. It is Jeffrey who likes to cook like his dad,so Warren had to give him a black iron pot and buy himself another one.

Warren likes doing chicken dishes, ground meat dishes and rib eye steaks when they are on sale. He likes to put the steaks on the grill. Wife, Wanda,works as a court reporter and doesn’t mind his doing most of the cooking.

When he isn’t working for Dupont or cooking at home, Warren loves to fish and makes a few rabbit hunts a year. His passion, though, is for Nascarracing, and he has a goal of actually seeing one some day. For the present hewatches all the races on TV, and Jeff Gordon, “the driver all the people like to hate,” is his favorite. Gordon drives the Dupont-sponsored ChevroletMonte Carlo No. 24, and Warren collects models of the cars.Whether you use a black iron pot or not, you may want to try some of these recipes Warren shares with us:

SHRIMP NOR MON 1 large onion, chopped 1 pk. shallots, chopped3 stalks of celery, chopped fine 2 large bell peppers, chopped 2 lbs. large shrimp (beheaded w/shell left on tails)1-1/2 large cooking spoon cooking oil 1-1/2 large spoon of flour

Heat oil in black iron pot and start roux on a medium fire. Use a woodenspoon, stirring roux until it cooks to a peanut butter color and texture. Addonions. Cook until clear, then add shallots, celery and bell pepper. Cook for10 minutes. I like to add more bell peppers; it gives gravy a sweeter taste.Add about 4 cups of water and bring to boil; reduce heat after boil and cook gravy for one hour. Add seasoning to taste, red pepper, salt or Tony’s. Sometimes I add a couple of drops of liquid crab boil for taste. After gravyhas thickened, add shrimp and cook for 10-15 minutes more. Add shrimplast because if added too soon shrimp will be hard to peel. Serve oversteamed rice and enjoy. You might want to have a French bread aroundbecause after all the shrimp are gone and there is still gravy in the pot, you will want to take the bread and swab it up.


1 large onion, chopped 1 pk. shallots, chopped2 stalks celery, chopped 1/2 cup bell peppers 1 lb. smoke sausage (cut up), hot or mild4 – 5 medium potatoes (cut into cubes) 1 cup cooking oil 1 cup flour

Using oil in black iron pot, add flour to start roux on a medium fire. Stir rouxusing a wooden spoon until it starts to darken to a peanut butter color. Addonions, shallots, celery and bell pepper. Cook down until onions are clear. Addsmoke sausage (cut up in slices) to ingredients and season to taste. If usinghot sausage, cut back on pepper. Cook down until cover of pot starts havingmoisture – about 10-15 minutes. Add about 3 cups of water or to desiredlevel. Cook on high fire until it comes to a boil, then add potatoes. Let cookfor about 45 minutes, then take spoon and mash a few potatoes to the side of pot. Gives it a little creamy texture. Serve on steamed rice and enjoy.


1 large onion, chopped 1 pk. shallots, chopped2 stalks celery, chopped 1/2 cup bell pepper 2 lb. pk. of carrots cut in slices3 pork butt steaks trimmed of fat and cut into cubes. Can add bone if needbe.

1 cup cooking oil 1 cup flour

Start roux in black iron pot, heating oil and add flour. Cook on medium heat,stirring roux to a peanut butter color and texture. Add onions, shallots,celery and bell peppers. Cook down until clear for 20 minutes. Add cut uppork to ingredients and brown for 15 minutes. Add 3-4 cups of water andbring to a boil. Add carrots, cook for 10 minutes and season to taste. Cookon a medium fire for about 45 minutes. until stew starts to thicken. Serveover steamed rice and enjoy.

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