Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mardi Gras Feast!

In the spirit of Mardi Gras, I decided to have a very New Orleans-type dinner for JP and friends.  On the menu:
-Blackened Catfish
-Black beans and rice
-and of course -- King Cake

I did the main dishes, both of which (of course) I've never made before.. but I was up for the challenge.

Onto the gumbo: (and I'm sure you can sub shrimp, more hearty veggies for a different/healthier route.. but it is Fat Tuesday, after all.)

[adapted from Gumbo Ya-Ya from Ms. B's Bistro, New Orleans]

Start with a roux.  This is the base for your gumbo, and is essential.  
-heat 2 sticks of butter (1 cup) until it's melted
-add 2 cups of flour (all purpose)
Stir this frequently at about medium heat until it becomes a medium brown in color (I started off too low of a temp, but it'll take about 45 min or so.. find some good tunes and take this time to clean the kitchen while watching the pot -- if you're me that is haha)

-Add onions, peppers, and celery.  (I used the cheapest option for me, flash frozen mixture of all 3 which was labeled for this exact purpose -- adding to a roux).  about 3-4 cups of all total
note, the recipe recommends 1 red bell pepper diced, 1 green pepper diced, 1 medium onion diced, and 1 medium celery stick diced.. but the bag is essentially the same thing.

-Let them simmer on medium for about 5 minutes to soften them up
-Whisk in the chicken stock, and bring it all to a boil
-Add 1 TBL Creole Seasoning, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp crushed red pepper, 1 tsp chili pepper, 1 tsp thyme, and a big scoop of garlic
-Lower the temp and let it simmer for about 45 minutes

-In the meantime, take a roasted chicken (whole foods has them for about the same price as reg grocery stores.. but they're organic here!) and pull the meat off it (you'll need about half the chicken, but you can freeze the rest to use in a casserole.. or chicken salad)
-Saute the andouille sausage (about a pound) and discard the oil/fat

-Once it's almost done simmering, add the chicken and sausage for another 15 minutes or so.. and then let it cool down just a bit

I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.. but, I still have leftovers, so I will make sure to snap a pic of that to show ya'll.  It was delicious!

And now for the catfish (and who knew, I'd like catfish?)
[adapted from Gourmet mag]

-Start with about 1 fillet or so per person (in my case, 3; whole foods)
-Combine the following spices:  2 big scoops of paprika (I don't really measure when it comes to meat rubs), 2 good shakes of oregano, same amount of thyme, a dash (or two) of cayenne pepper, a scoop of salt, a scoop of sugar (regular sized spoons used), and a few turns of the black pepper grinder
-Rub it on both sides of the catfish

-Heat (medium) the pan with some butter, add a scoop of garlic and saute that in the pan for about 2-3 minutes.
-Add the fillets and cook on each side for about 4 minutes (or until it gets flaky)


-Remove from heat, garnish with lemon.. and it's all done!

Cornbread, from Scotty

Black beans and rice, from JP

Salad from JV and wine/spirits from Taj (not pictured).

And the King Cake was delicious.. even the 2nd time around!  Can't wait to do it again next year in NOLA!


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