February has always been the month that New Orleans shines the brightest.The azaleas start to bloom, crawfish season is starting, and then, there’s Mardi Gras. You have never seen a city truly alive until you’ve been to Mardi Gras. So, just when the krewes are starting to roll, and the sidewalks are filling with families and beads, something even BETTER happens. The Saints, the team that has been the hope of a city for 5 years, goes to the Super Bowl. D and I both lived in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. We both went back to school, even after our house was flooded and we knew the city would never be the same. And we saw how the city rallied around a team and a stadium that became a symbol of the future, which was the most important thing when a lot of people weren’t certain the future was there.
So, when our team made it to the Super Bowl we could feel the excitement, even 2000 miles away. We sent out an evite 5 seconds after they won the NFC Championship, and started planning an authentic NOLA menu for the big day.
First for the party – we wanted to lay a good foundation, like any good Mardi Gras parade. So, when D’s coworker Noelle offered to track down some Abita beer we handed her check and said “yes, please!”
Then — Before the guests even came over, us party throwers got hungry for a little … “while you are cooking” snack. D made some peanut butter and celery sticks. We were out of raisins… but did have Craisins… and there it was…
Fire Ants on a Log: (the only good way fire ants can be in your living room!)
After receiving an oil thermometer for Christmas,I have been itching to try frying something (for the first time!). So, of course, beignets! Those wonderful pillows of french-doughnut-perfection. I copped out a bit and bought Cafe du Monde mix, but they were still a great half time snack.
But what you’re all waiting for, the pies-de-resistence, is Jambalaya, and man o man was it tasty. D brought home John Besh’s new cookbook after Christmas, so we had decided which recipe we were going to make. When Brandi (Delancey’s new pastry chef!) from I Made That blogged about it this week it made me even MORE excited. Just as she did, we adapted the recipe a bit, but it tasted just as spicy and authentic as the best New Orleans Jambalaya. And even though we made a HALF BATCH it still took two 5.5 qt Le Creusets and could have fed an army. We froze a ton and will be eating Jambalaya throughout the spring, which will be a great reminder of New Orleans and all the wonderful spring traditions.
shrimp chicken and andouille jambalaya
by john besh
(I though did not include shrimp.)
(I would recommend halving this recipe to feed 15 people, actually. only make a fourth of it for your everyday dinner crowd…)
2 lbs diced bacon
3 lbs diced andouille sausage
1/2 cup butter
2 lbs fresh pork sausage without casings
8 skinless boneless chicken thighs cut in 1 inch cubes
6 large onions, diced
4 peppers diced and seeded (we used yellow and orange)
10 stalks celery, diced
12 c garlic minced
9 c White Rice
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
3 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons cayenna
1 tablespoon celery salt
6 c canned crushed tomatoes
6 c chicken stock
5 lbs shrimp peeled and deveined
3 bunches green onions, chopped
(above, the tulane alum group in seattle gave out bags of spicy at a crawfish boil last year.. which we used for this recipe. … It definitely was spicy!)
1. Heat a pot (3-5 gallons) over high heat until hot then reduce heat to moderate.
2. Render the bacon w the sausages and lard/butter in hot pot. stir slowly w wooden spoon. Season chicken w s and p… then add chicken to the pot, stirring and cook until the chicken becomes golden, about 5 min
3. Add onions to pot – allow to carmelize. Add peppers, celery, garlic, and cook for 5 min. Continue stirring occassionally.
(our two pots ready for rice!)
4. Add rice, thyme, bay leaves, paprika, cayenne, 2 T salt, 1T Pepper, and celery salt. Stir often for about 3 min.
5. Increase heat to high and add tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring stock to a boil. Reduce to medium heat cover and simmer for 15 mn.
6. While rice is cooking in covered pot season shrimp w s & p and save them w/ green onions to be added at the very end.
7. after rice simmers for 15 min remove lid. fold in shrimp and green onions. Turn off heat and let cook in pot for 10 mor min.
remove fluff and serve.
served in D’s new sagaform, with tabasco and abita. roaring fire optional.
I love homemade jambalaya!
(photos provided by very proud members of the WHO DAT nation.)
Who Dat, Who Dat, Who Dat WON the Super Bowl!