Whether you’ve ever been-or never been-to the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana, you are no doubt aware of the revelry that takes place there this time each year. If you’re interested in having even a small part of Mardi Gras in your home, these recipes will help to bring the flavor of the celebration to your table.
Information about Mardi Gras Celebration
Translating the French Mardi Gras into English simply means Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday, this year falling on February 25, 2009, with Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras Day, then being February 24, 2009.
Mardi Gras celebrations begin officially on Twelfth Night, or 12 days after Christmas-January 6.
The colors of Mardi Gras-purple, green and gold each have a significance. Purple represents Justice, Green represents Faith and Gold represents Power (mardigrasday.com).
No Mardi Gras celebration would be complete without the King Cake.
History of the King Cake
The Twelfth Night celebration, which is celebrated in European countries, is called Epiphany or Little Christmas of the Twelfth Night (mardigrasday.com). For celebrants, gifts are exchanged and feasts are held, in honor of the three wise men who brought gifts to the Christ child.
The King Cake represents the Three Kings who brought gifts to the child (mardigrasday.com). The cake is made in the shape of a hollow circle and is topped with the three colors of Mardi Gras-purple, green and gold. It is traditional to place a one inch baby figurine within the cake; whoever gets the piece of the King Cake containing the baby figurine must either buy the next King Cake or throw the next party.
King Cakes are traditionally enjoyed each Sunday of the Mardi Gras season, right up to Mardi Gras Day, or Fat Tuesday.
If you’re looking to enjoy an authentic Mardi Gras meal or party at your home, it would not be complete without the King Cake. You can find that recipe here.
1 oz. Bacardi 151 Rum
1 oz. White rum
1 oz. Dark rum
½ oz. Grenadine
3 oz. Orange juice
3 oz. Pineapple juice
Serve in a hurricane glass filled with crushed ice, garnish with orange slice and cherry.
Mardi Gras Mojito
2 Leaves fresh mint
1 tablespoon Simple syrup
2 Cubes ice
1 ¼ oz. White rum
1 oz. Carbonated water
1 Sprig fresh mint or lime wedges
In a cocktail glass, or any clear glass of your choice, crush mint leaves with simple syrup. Add cruched or cubed ice and rum. Top with carbonated water, almost to rim of glass. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint or lime wedges. (mardigrasday.com)
Cheesy Shrimp Canapes
10 Slices white bread
2 tblsp. Butter
½ tsp Thyme leaves
6 ounces Cooked shrimp, cleaned and chopped
½ cup Shredded Swiss cheese
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
¼ tsp. Salt, or to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Using a 2-inch round fluted pastry cutter, cut 2 circles from each bread slice. (Reserve scraps for crumbs.) In small saucepan, melt butter and add thyme. Brush bread circles with this mixture. Place on cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes, until golden. Combine shrimp, mayonnaise, cheese, bread crumbs and salt. When bread circles are cool, top with a rounded tablespoon of shrimp mixture. Sprinkle a pinch of dill on each and place under broiler for about 3 minutes. (mardigrasday.com)
Serves about 16
1 gal. Water for boiling sausage
1 qt. Water for roux
1 lb. Andouille, cut in 4-6 inch lengths
1 lb. Smoked pork sausage, cut in 4-6 inch lengths
8 Large chicken breasts, skinned, boned, and well-seasoned
1 c. Vegetable oil
1 ½ c. Flour
1 c. Finely chopped onion
3 Shallots, finely chopped
1-2 tblsp. Chopped parsley
1 (14 ½ oz.) can chicken broth
1-2 Pints oysters, drained, liquid reserved
Gumbo file (optional)
In a large pot, gently boil Andouille in 1 gallon of water for 30 minutes. Add smoked pork sausage and continue boiling for another 15 minutes. Remove and cool, reserving stock.
In a large, heavy pot, make a roux with flour and oil. When roux is dark brown, add chicken pieces. Over medium heat, brown chicken pieces, 15 minutes on each side. In center of pot, push chicken aside and add onion. Cook over low heat until onions are clear, stirring occasionally. While onions are cooking, heat 1 qt. of water. When onions are clear, stir in heated water gradually, reserved stock and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Stir to mix thoroughly and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut cooled Andouille and pork sausage into bite-sized pieces. At the end of the 45 minutes cooking time, add sausages, shallots and parsley. Cook another 15 minutes. Oyster liquid can be added to taste. Oysters should be dropped in just before serving, cooking just until curled. Serve over steamed rice. Sprinkle with file, if desired.
If gumbo is going to be frozen, do so without adding oysters until thawed and reheated. (mardigrasday.com)
Louisiana Red Beans and Rice
1 lb. Red beans, washed, soaked in water over night and drained
2 Cloves garlic, chopped
½ c. Chopped celery
1 large bay leaf, crushed
1 Medium onion chopped
½ c. Cooking oil
Salt and pepper
1 lb. Smoked sausage, sliced
2 tblsp. Parsley, chopped
Place beans in cold water in a 4-qt. Pot. Add garlic, celery, bay leaf, onion and oil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Add water as needed, stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper, sausage and parsley, continue cooking over low heat for 1 hour. Serve over a mound of steaming rice. (mardigrasday.com)
Down-Home Stuffed Trout
16 Speckled trout fillets
¼ c. melted butter
½ c. Butter
½ c. Chopped onion
½ c. Chopped green onions
1 lb. Crab meat, picked to remove all shells
¼ lb. Shrimp, peeled
¾ c. Bread crumbs
Salt and red pepper to taste
½ c. Butter
¼ c. Chopped celery
¼ c. Chopped onions
¼ c. Chopped green onions
2 Cloves garlic, minced
¾ lb. Shrimp
¼ lb. Fresh mushrooms, sliced
¼ c. White wine
To prepare stuffing, saute onions and celery in butter. Add crab meat and shrimp and simmer, uncovered, until shrimp is cooked-about 5-8 minutes. Add bread crumbs to thicken mixture. Add salt and red pepper to taste.
Butter two 9 x 13-inch baking dishes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place four trout fillets in each and top with a scoop of stuffing, followed by another trout fillet. Drizzle melted butter on top. Bake for 30-40 minutes until fish is done.
While fish is baking, prepare sauce by melting butter and sauteing celery, both type of onions and garlic. Add shrimp and simmer until pink. Add mushrooms and white wine. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Arrange trout on serving platter and pour sauce over fish. (mardigrasday.com)
Mardigrasday.com is a wonderful site filled with information such as the history of Mardi Gras, King Cakes and more. There are lesson plans available there for all grade levels and links so you can order your own Mardi Gras supplies, if you choose.