Cuisine…Mardi Gras a celebration of New Orleans flavors

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While most people associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans, you can throw your own Fat Tuesday fest wherever you live. Let the good times roll with authentic New Orleans-style food to make your party as genuine as the Big Easy celebration. Mardi Gras is actually part of a larger celebration, Carnival, that begins 12 days after Christmas (Jan. 6) and ends Fat Tuesday, 46 days before Easter, so the celebration can extend beyond just one day.

No matter where you live, celebrate Mardi Gras with authentic New Orleans-style flavor and your guests will come dancing in.

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This Mardi Gras, celebrate New Orleans-style by jazzing up your menu with popular and traditional dishes that will feed a crowd. Of course, don’t forget to wrap up the party with a King Cake—whoever finds the toy baked inside is king or queen of next year’s celebration!

(For more New Orleans-style recipes, visit http://www.zatarains.com.)

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Crescent City Jambalaya

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 35 minutes
Makes 8 (1 cup) servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 bell peppers (preferably one yellow and one green), diced
1 can (14.5 ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
3/4 cup water
1 package (8 ounces) Zatarain’s Reduced Sodium Jambalaya Mix
1 package (12 ounces) fully cooked smoked andouille sausage, sliced
1 pound peeled and deveined uncooked large shrimp, thawed if frozen
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)

Heat oil in large deep skillet or 5-quart Dutch oven on medium heat. Add onion and bell peppers; cook and stir 7 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.

Stir in tomatoes, water and Jambalaya Mix. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and sausage. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer or just until shrimp turn pink and rice and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

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Shrimp Boil

In New Orleans, crawfish is the boil of choice, but shrimp is another great choice available outside the Gulf Coast. Some of the fun of seafood boils is personalizing your meal by adding your favorite accompaniments such as artichokes, mushrooms, sausage or even broccoli.
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes 6 to 8 servings
5 pounds shrimp
4 cups of water
1 package Zatarain’s Pro-Boil
1 package Zatarain’s Liquid Crab Boil
8 ounces pearl onions, peeled
1/2 bunch celery, chopped
Additional meats/vegetables of choice
1 lemon, sliced

Mix 4 cups water and 7 ounces Pro-Boil in an 8-quart pot. Bring to boil on high heat. Stir in 1 ounce of Crab Boil, shrimp, celery and onions.

Cook shrimp for approximately 4 minutes or until a liquid forms between the shell and meat, and they are easy to peel. Remove pot from heat, adding in ice and 2 ounces more of Pro-Boil.

Soak for 10 to 20 minutes, more or less depending on desired heat level.

Drain contents and toss with lemon slices before serving.

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Andouille Dirty Rice

Courtesy of Executive Chef John Besh, Restaurant Proprietor, New Orleans
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 40 minutes
Makes 6 servings
1-1/2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup finely minced onion
1 cup andouille sausage, removed from casing and chopped in food processor
1 stalk celery, finely minced
1/4 cup finely minced bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
2-1/4 cups chicken broth
18-ounce box Zatarain’s Dirty Rice Mix
1/2 pound chicken livers or duck livers, finely minced (optional)

Make dark roux by combining cooking oil and flour in heavy bottomed 6 to 8-quart saucepot, over low flame. Stir constantly using wooden spoon.

When roux is finished, stir in onion and allow to brown, leaving flame on low. Next, add andouille, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Add dirty rice mix and stir for five minutes to toast rice.

Stir in broth, allow mixture to come to a boil, cover with lid and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes. Before serving, season with minced green onion and parsley.

Note: If including chicken/duck livers, add livers and stir for an additional 4 minutes before adding broth.

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