Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day no matter what you call it, there’s one thing we can all agree on today: it’s time to indulge! Whether you’re lucky enough to be in New Orleans today probably getting too cray cray for your own good or plan on throwing your own mardi gras themed party, you’ll need some strong drinks and lots of good food to really get you in the spirit of things. To make sure you celebrate mardi gras the right way, I’ve gathered some of my favorite recipes New Orleans has to offer. So eat, drink and be merry, and as they say, Laissez les bons temps rouler!
P.s. my favorite recipe in on page three…
Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Recipe: Emile Stieffel, Foodnetwork
2 pounds mild smoked pork sausage, or any lean high-quality smoked pork sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thigh meat
1 1/2 pounds onions, diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 pound tasso, cubed
3/4 tablespoon whole fresh thyme leaves
3/4 tablespoon chopped fresh sweet basil leaves
1/2 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon white pepper
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/3 gallon chicken stock
1 1/4 pounds long-grain rice
1 tablespoon freshly chopped curly parsley leaves
1) Use high heat to preheat the dutch oven, cast iron skillet or heavy-duty pot and add the sausage. Using a large spoon, constantly move the sausage from the bottom of the pot. Be careful not to burn the meat.
2) Add the thigh meat and brown the chicken on all sides. Again use the spoon to scrape the meat from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot. Browning the sausage and chicken meats should take 20 minutes. Be careful not to over cook the thigh meat to the point that it shreds.
3) Lower the heat to medium and add the onions and garlic; saute for about 15 minutes or until the onions are very limp and “clear”. Scrape the bottom of the pot to remove all the “graton.” This is where the jambalaya gets its distinct brown color and taste.
3) Add the tasso, thyme, basil and black and white pepper. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. This will give the seasonings time to release their oils and flavors.
4) At this point the jambalaya concentrate can be transferred to smaller containers, cooled to room temperature, covered and refrigerated for future use.
5) When you are ready to cook the jambalaya, add the stock to the concentrate and bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce the heat to medium and gently break up the rice, insuring that the rice is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
6) After about 5 minutes, fold in the parsley. Continue to scrape the pot to insure that no rice sticks to the bottom. When the jambalaya returns to a boil, reduce heat to the lowest possible setting and simmer, covered, for at least 25 minutes. Do not remove the cover while the rice is steaming.
Recipe: serves 4, thebar.com
2oz. Captain Morgan Original Spiced (25 oz. per bottle)
3oz. dark rum
12oz. passion fruit juice
12oz. mango juice
8oz. sweet and sour mix
1) Add Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, dark rum, passion fruit or mango juice, and sweet and sour mix.
2) Shake and pour into crushed ice-filled hurricane glass or other specialty glass.
Garnish with lime wheel.
Olive Salad Ingredients:
1 cup each pitted green and black olives, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon tiny capers
1/3 cup diced (1/4 inch) roasted red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced (1/4 inch) celery, with leaves
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 round peasant bread (about 7 inches in diameter, 5 inches high), halved crosswise, insides pulled out
4 ounces each thinly sliced Genoa salami and mortadella (found in the deli section)
4 ounces thinly sliced provolone cheese
1) Prepare the Olive Salad ahead of time: Combine all the ingredients and set aside in the refrigerator for 4 hours or longer.
2) Assemble the sandwich: Spread half of the Olive Salad on the bottom half of the bread. Layer with salami, provolone and mortadella, then top with the remaining Olive Salad. Cover with the top of the bread, press down and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour.
3) Unwrap, cut into 6 wedges using a serrated knife, then wrap them for the road. Be sure to hollow out the bread so the salad can fit inside. Doing so also cuts carbs and calories.
French Quarter Beignets
Recipe: Paula Deen, Foodnetwork. Yields 3 dozen
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup shortening
Oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1) Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
2) In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
3) Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
4) Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.
5) Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.
The Big Easy’s Red Beans and Rice
1 lb dried red beans, rinsed and sorted over
3 tbsp bacon grease
1/4 cup chopped tasso, or chopped ham
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 lb smoked sausage, split in half lengthwise and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb smoked ham hocks
3 tbsp chopped garlic
10 cups chicken stock, or water
4 cups cooked white rice
1/4 cup chopped green onions for garnish
1) Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.
2) In a large pot, heat the bacon grease over medium-high heat. Add the tasso and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
3) Add the onions, celery and bell peppers to the grease in the pot.
4) Season with the salt, pepper and cayenne, and cook, stirring until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes.
5) Add the bay leaves, parsley, thyme, sausage, and ham hocks and cook stirring, to brown the sausage and ham hocks, about 4 minutes.
6) Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and stock or water, stir well, and bring to a boil.
7) Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 2 hours.
8) (Should the beans become too thick and dry, add more water, about 1/4 cup at a time.) Remove from heat and with the back of a heavy spoon, mash about 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the bay leaves.
Emeril’s Bananas Foster Pancakes
Recipe: Emeril Lagasse, Good Morning America
Buttermilk Pancakes Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (plus about 1/4 cup for the pan)
Bananas Foster Ingredients
4 ripe bananas, peeled
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup banana liqueur
1/2 cup dark rum
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Confectioners sugar, garnish
Ground cinnamon, garnish
1) Preheat the oven to 220 F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, egg and 1 tablespoon of oil, and stir just until blended, being careful not to over mix. (Lumps are OK.)
2) Heat a large heavy skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to lightly grease and leave a film on the bottom of the pan.
3) Ladle the batter into the pan in batches of about 1/4 cup each. Cook until golden brown and bubbles start to form on the top side, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side. Transfer to a baking dish and place in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve.
4) Keep the pancakes warm on a baking dish in the oven at 220 F.
5) Cut the bananas in half across and then lengthwise.
6) Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add the bananas and cook on both sides until the bananas start to soften and brown, about 3 minutes. Add the banana liqueur and stir to blend into the sauce. Carefully add the rum and shake the pan back and forth to warm the rum and flame the pan. (Or, off the heat, carefully ignite the pan with a match and return to the heat.) Shake the pan back and forth, basting the bananas, until the flame dies. Remove the pan from the heat.
7) Remove the pancakes from the oven and divide among 4 large plates. Top each serving with 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream. Gently lift the bananas from the pan and place 4 pieces on each stack of pancakes. Spoon the sauce over the bananas and ice cream and garnish with confectioners sugar and cinnamon. Serve immediately.