Mardi Gras Recipes: King Cake & Jambalaya

standard March 11, 2014 Leave a response

Below are a couple of my favorite recipes. In our house, Jambalaya and King Cake are not just for Mardi Gras. I met my wonderful husband on New Years Eve 1997 in New Orleans, and yes, I knew from the first kiss at midnight that I had found the love of my life. So, we always celebrate our wedding anniversary and New Year’s with some New Orleans traditions. Next week Preston and I celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary, and will enjoy a dinner of Jambalaya and King Cake. Cheers! 

New Orleans is known for the rice dish jambalaya. It’s typically a blend of chicken, sausage, seafood, and the bold flavor of Creole seasoning. The recipe is quite flexible since it’s meant to be easily adjusted depending on the number of people at the meal. You can really just throw it together–which is actually how the dish came to be named (for the French word “balayez”). 

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  1. • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  2. • 1 (14 ounce) package andouille sausage, sliced
  3. • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  4. • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  5. • 3 large celery ribs, chopped
  6. • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  7. • 1 bunch scallion, chopped
  8. • 1 (32 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, with juices
  9. • 1 (15 ounce) cans chicken broth
  10. • 1 1/4 cups long grain rice
  11. • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  12. • 2 bay leaves
  13. • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  14. • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  15. • 1 teaspoon paprika
  16. • 1 tablespoon creole seasoning,
  17. • 1 teaspoon salt
  18. • cracked black pepper
  1. 1. Cook sliced sausage over medium high heat in a 6 quart stock pot until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. 2. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic and scallions and cook until softened but not translucent, about 4 minutes.
  3. 3. Add cubed chicken breast and worcestershire sauce and cook just until you can no longer see pink.
  4. 4. Add the bay leaves, basil, oregano, paprika, creole seasoning, salt, black pepper, tomatoes and chicken broth.
  5. 5. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  6. 6. Add rice, bring back up to a boil.
  7. 7. Boil for 1 minute.
  8. 8. Cover reduce heat to low, simmer for 30 minutes.
  9. The jambalaya should still be wet, but not soupy.
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One of the signature desserts associated with the celebration is King Cake. The Mardi Gras season officially starts on the Feast of the Epiphany, the 12th night after Christmas when the Three Kings visited the baby Jesus. This is known as “Little Christmas,” and the King Cake (in honor of the kings) was one of the traditional dishes that came from the celebration. Today, the tri-colored cake is a symbol of Mardi Gras Day, which takes place the day before Ash Wednesday. 

King Cake
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  1. DOUGH
  2. • 1/4 cup butter
  3. • 1 (16 ounce) containers sour cream
  4. • 1/3 cup sugar
  5. • 1 teaspoon salt
  6. • 2 (1/4 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
  7. • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  8. • 1/2 cup warm water ( 100 to 110 degrees)
  9. • 2 eggs
  10. • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  12. • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened ( 16 ounces total)
  13. • 1 egg
  14. • 3/4 cup sugar
  15. • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  16. • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  18. • 3 cups powdered sugar
  19. • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  20. • 3 tablespoons milk
  21. • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  23. ▪ 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  24. ▪ 2 drops green food coloring
  25. ▪ 2 drops yellow food coloring
  26. ▪ 2 drops red food coloring
  27. ▪ 2 drops blue food coloring
  1. 1. Cook first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts; Cool mixture to 100 degrees to 110 degrees.
  2. 2. Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes; Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until smooth; Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  3. 3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes; Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top; Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
  4. 4. Using an electric mixer, mix cream cheese until smooth; Add egg and blend well; Add sugar, salt and vanilla and mix until smooth and creamy; Set aside.
  5. 5. Punch dough down; divide in half; Turn 1 portion out onto a lightly floured surface; roll to a 28- x 10-inch rectangle; Spread half each of cream cheese mixture on dough; Roll dough, jellyroll fashion, starting at long side; Place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet; Bring ends together to form an oval ring, moistening and punching edges together to seal; Repeat with remaining dough and cream cheese mixture.
  6. 6. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  7. 7. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden.
  8. 8. Decorate with frosting, and sprinkle with Colored Sugars.
  9. COLORED SUGARS: Place 1/2 cup sugar and drop of green food coloring in a zip-top plastic bag; seal; Shake and squeeze vigorously to evenly mix color with sugar; Repeat procedure with 1/2 cup sugar and yellow food coloring; For purple, combine 1 drop red and 1 drop blue food coloring before adding to remaining 1/2 cup sugar.
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