Celebrate Mardi Gras With These New Orleans-Inspired Recipes

January 26, 2016 Entertaining, Seasonal Tips

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Mardi Gras - French for Fat Tuesday - is the time just before Lent when some Christians celebrate with a big blowout before 40 days of prayer and self-denial.

In the United States, the biggest Mardi Gras celebration happens in the French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans, where people eat king cake and enjoy Creole and Cajun food.

What's the difference between Creole and Cajun food? Creole food is considered "city" food, and Cajun food is from the "country." Creole versions of classic recipes like gumbo and jambalaya use tomatoes, whereas Cajun versions do not. Either way, these dishes are a delicious way to enjoy the flavor of Mardi Gras no matter where you live.

Use Andouille Sausage in This Red Beans & Rice Recipe Red beans and rice is a Louisiana staple. Originally a dish that used up leftover Sunday ham on Monday, it utilizes a blend of vegetables known in the region as the "holy trinity" - bell pepper, onion and celery. Our favorite red beans and rice recipe includes sausage. We suggest andouille sausage for a spicy, authentic flavor, or you can substitute your favorite sausage. Serve this dish on top of rice with a side of cornbread.

Add Beans to This Gumbo Recipe Gumbo is a slow-simmered stew that's been thickened with one of three traditional thickeners: roux (a mix of butter and flour that is cooked until brown and toasty), filé gumbo (dried sassafras leaves) or okra. This chicken gumbo recipe takes the essential flavors of gumbo and builds upon them by adding canned beans. For an added kick, be sure to use your favorite hot sauce.

"Enjoy a taste of New Orleans … "

Cook Up This Dirty Rice Recipe on a Busy Weeknight What is dirty rice? It's long-grain white rice - a Louisiana staple - that appears "dirty" after being cooked in stock with spices. This dirty beans and rice recipe includes chicken stock, the "holy trinity" vegetables, garlic and Cajun seasoning. It takes half an hour to prepare, making it perfect for those busy evenings.

Enjoy a taste of New Orleans at Mardi Gras or any time of the year with these simple, quick recipes that pack a lot of flavor in just a little bit of time.

Meet Julie Niesen

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