Mardi Gras is a time to celebrate with parades, masked balls and king cakes. Translated to ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French, Mardi Gras is truly a time to indulge – as it ends the night before fasting for Lent begins.
Don’t let southern cuisine intimidate you – it is easier than it looks. Celebrate the New Orleans Carnival season at home with some of these incredible yet easy to make traditional recipes of the region.
No Mardi Gras event is without a rendition of a King’s Cake. Baked with a trinket of value, or in the Southern US since the 1930’s, a small porcelain baby, right into the dough, the receiver of the trinket is a then asked bring the cake next time.
Ah, the deep, rich chicory coffee served at Café Du Monde. Chicory is the root of the endive plant. The root is roasted and ground, then added to the coffee giving it an almost chocolate flavor. It. Is. Amazing. With the coffee comes 3 handmade Beignets. These square piece of lightly fried dough covered with powdered sugar literally melt in your mouth.
Chef Paul from Brennans Restaurant in New Orleans created Bananas Foster in 1951. This dish of bananas sautéed in butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and banana liqueur, then flamed in rum is served over vanilla ice cream. It is absolutely scrumptious and amazingly easy to make at home.
At Brennan’s they actually set fire to the pan at your table – it is quite a sight!
Pralines are an European sweet, originally made with almonds. As almonds were in short supply in the South, cooks began substituting in the nuts of the native Louisiana pecan trees, and this sugary, creamy, pecan-laden candy quickly spread throughout the New Orleans culture and has remained a fixture ever since.
Not quite ready to try these on your own? Aunt Sallies Confections in The French Quarter in New Orleans has amazing pralines, and will deliver them straight to your door.
Originating in the Caribbean Islands, the Spanish culture mixed with the native foods created what is known as Jambalaya. Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts: meat then vegetables, then completed by adding stock and rice. It can be made with as many different varieties of veggies and meats you choose.
Gumbo originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th century. It typically consists of a strongly flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and seasoning vegetables. Seafood, chicken, sausage, okra – no matter what goes into your gumbo, you can’t go wrong.
Cajun Crawfish and Shrimp Etouffe
Etouffee (pronounced: [e.tu.fe] ay-TOO-fay) is typically shellfish over rice. The dish employs a technique known as smothering, a popular method of cooking in Louisiana which ‘smothers’ the meat with sauce.
Hushpuppies are finger-shaped dumplings of cornmeal that are deep-fried and traditionally served with fried catfish. Also know as corn dodgers, they are especially popular throughout the South.
Just what are collard greens? They are various loose-leafed plants in the same family as contains cabbage and broccoli. The plants are grown for their large, dark-colored, edible leaves. The name “collard” is a corrupted form of the word “colewort”, or the wild cabbage plant.
Remoulade, an aioli or mayonnaise based sauce, has become more commonplace in recent years. It is most often used as an accompaniment to seafood dishes, especially pan-fried breaded fish and seafood cakes and can be as spicy as the cook desires.
Red Beans and Rice
Traditionally made on Monday this dish is red beans, spices and pork bones cooked slowly together and served over rice. It became a Monday ritual, as Sunday dinner was traditionally ham, and Monday was wash day. This dish could simmer away on the stove all day.