Mardi Gras is one of our favorite holidays-the perfect excuse for a sinfully rich meal before Lent begins. This New Orleans-inspired party menu pairs rich and spicy Chicken Etouffée with creamy Crab Maison, while a rum-based milk punch, French pecan pastries, and classic King Cake are the perfect sweet finish to this indulgent, celebratory meal.
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1. Pair your meal with some local New Orleans beer such as Abita's
Turbodog. For dessert, mix up a pitcher of creamy milk punch, or try out
some of our other classic drinks from New Orleans.
2.Making roux is a nuanced but essential technique for good Creole cooking. For some pointers, check out this Q&A with New Orleans native John Besh.
3.While King Cake is the centerpiece of any Fat Tuesday feast, it's also good the next morning for breakfast with some creole coffee.
A popular appetizer at Galatoire's restaurant in New Orleans, this light and satisfying salad is a great lunch on Mardi Gras with crusty French bread. RECIPE: CRAB MAISON
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. high quality olive oil
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Creole or Dijon mustard
1 tsp. small capers, rinsed, drained, and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat
12 large leaves butter lettuce
4 slices tomato, halved
Whisk together mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, mustard, capers, parsley, salt, pepper, and scallions; add crabmeat and fold gently to combine. Place 3 leaves lettuce each on 4 salad plates. Divide crab mixture evenly among plates and garnish with two half slices tomato.
RECIPE: Chicken & Andoullie Etouffée
Whisking the roux constantly is the key to evenly browning it for this hearty stew served over rice.
MAKES 8 SERVINGSINGREDIENTS 3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup flour
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3 cups chicken stock
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces
1 lb. andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2"-thick pieces
6 large scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
Cooked white rice, for serving
1. Heat oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Add flour, whisking constantly, and cook for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is the color of milk chocolate, about 12-15 minutes. Add celery, onions, and peppers, and cook, stirring constantly, until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt, cayenne, black and white peppers, basil, and thyme, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add 2 cups chicken stock, and bring to a boil; cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, 4-6 minutes; transfer chicken and butter to Dutch oven. Pour remaining chicken stock into skillet, stir to scrape up any browned bits, and then pour into Dutch oven along with andouille; cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Remove pan from heat, stir in scallions, and serve étouffée with rice.
RECIPE: King Cake
This traditional cake, made here with a rich brioche dough and stuffed with a decadent cream cheese filling, is drizzled with a buttermilk glaze and sprinkled with crunchy green, gold, and purple sanding sugars. If you prefer to order rather than bake this Mardi Gras staple, check out our King Cake Guide »
For The Dough:
1 1/4-oz. package active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
8 tbsp. softened butter
For the Filling:
1 lb. cream cheese
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Zest of 1/2 lemon
For the Icing:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
Green, purple, and yellow sanding sugars
1. Make the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a hook, combine yeast, 1/2 tsp. of the sugar, and 1/4 cup water heated to 115°. Stir to combine and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Beat on low speed until thoroughly combined, 1 minute. Turn mixer off and add flour and salt. Mix on medium speed until the dough just comes together. Turn mixer speed to high and knead dough for 4 minutes. Add the butter and continue kneading until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit until doubled in size, 1 1/2-2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine cream cheese, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, salt, and zest in a large bowl and beat on medium speed of a hand mixer until combined; set aside.
3. Punch down dough and turn it out onto a heavily floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a large circle, about 1/4"-thick. Cut a hole in the center of the circle and pull with your fingers to widen. Place dollops of filling evenly around circle halfway between outer edge and inner hole. Drape outside edges over filling and continue rolling outside inward until filling is covered, widening inner hole as needed, until dough covers the seam. Transfer rolled dough circle to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour. Heat oven to 350°. Uncover cake and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
4. Make the icing: Whisk together the sugar and buttermilk in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer king cake to a cutting board or serving platter; spread icing evenly over top of cake and sprinkle evenly with sanding sugars.