I am not from Louisiana, nor have I ever lived there. I do, however, have some Louisiana ties (my mama’s mama’s people are from Shreveport), and I grew up drinking Coffee with chicory and eating things like gumbo and shrimp creole and putting Tobasco sauce on just about everything. The holy trinity is in my blood, so to speak. All of that to say I’m mostly tied to Louisiana through a series of culinary clichés. So, in the spirit of Mardi Gras and laissez-ing les bon temps rouler (pardon my French), I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes from years past.
Turns out, Red Beans and Rice was Louis Armstrong’s favorite meal. It happens to be one of mine, as well. This version uses cranberry beans, but I think that speaks to the nature of Red Beans and Rice – it uses what you have. You want a dense bean – one that will stand up to long, slow cooking (red beans, kidney beans, cranberry beans – all of these will work here).
This gumbo is always a big hit, and can be made with leftovers. I’m roasting a chicken for dinner tonight and plan to use the scraps that we have left in gumbo tomorrow. Delicious and economical. Shrimp creole is just about one of the easiest things you can make, and yet it’s so flavorful. Pardon the terrible photo – this was taken before I knew much about photography. This jambalaya is yet another example of something to do with leftovers. Now I’m torn. Gumbo or jambalaya tomorrow? Such a conundrum. If you’re looking for something sweet, then this king cake might just do it for you. Made with an eggy, buttery brioche base, and stuffed with a rich cream cheese filling, it’s perfect for Fat Tuesday. Of course, if none of these are to your liking, there’s always Crawfish Etouffee, or Dirty Rice, or maybe even a Muffaletta Sandwich. Or how about some Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce? All terrifically indulgent ways to celebrate before a season of abstinence. What are your plans for Fat Tuesday? And do you give anything up for Lent? I’d love to hear your family’s traditions.