What do you get when you combine the French House of Bourbons, Shrove Tuesday, spring breakers and the historic city of New Orleans? Easy: an iconic, rowdy and unrivaled celebration of revelry and tradition. But just because you can’t make it out to New Orleans for the festivities, there’s no reason you should miss out on all the fun! From classic desserts to New Orleans cocktails and Creole-inspired main courses, we’ve gathered 14 themed recipes to get you in the spirit of the season.
Dive right into New Orleans cuisine with this classic BBQ Shrimp recipe. The staple ingredients in this recipe are shrimp, butter and garlic—need we say more? This latecomer to the game originated in Pascal’s Manale restaurant in New Orleans in 1954 and has become an irreplaceable item on the Louisiana Creole menu. This version calls for French bread, so you don’t miss a drop of the delectable sauce.
Andouille is a traditionally-French smoked sausage and now an integral part of New Orleans cuisine. This recipe uses both chicken and andouille to achieve the rich, hearty flavor characteristic of gumbo.
This quintessentially Louisianan dish is the combination of all things New Orleans: a French-influenced recipe featuring a heaping serving of seafood and rice. This dish uses the Cajun method of “smothering”—which is what etouffee literally means in French. Get in the Mardi Gras spirit with this recipe for Emeril’s version.
Who needs gold, frankincense and myrrh when you have King Cake? This Mardi Gras-colored dessert is made to commemorate Epiphany (the occasion when wise men brought gifts to baby Jesus). A fake baby is placed somewhere inside the cake, and whoever finds the baby in their slice is responsible for providing next year’s King Cake. This recipe is made with brioche dough, filled with cream cheese and covered in a buttermilk glaze. Swoon.
Rather than visiting the swampy marshlands of Louisiana, we suggest you just imagine the banjo-playing, crawfish boils of Cajun country by partaking in these delicious Bayou Fried Shrimp. These shrimp are fried so that they’re crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. Simple, but delicious.
This twist on the classic cocktail is a historic New Orleans drink with strong liquors and a unique mixing technique. Check out this recipe from gorgeous food-and-drink blog Honestly Yum—and follow the instructions carefully to get the full effect!
Not all traditional New Orleans food is of French origin. This sandwich traces its roots back to a Sicilian immigrant named Salvatore Lupo. He designed this hearty meal for the local workers and it has stood the test of time as a delicious, Italian-flared New Orleans meal.
This multicultural dish shares a name with a dish from Southern France (jambalaia) and yet distinctly resembles Spanish Paella. Some speculate that it was created right in Louisiana, but regardless of its exact origins, Jambalaya has become an essential part of New Orleans cuisine. We recommend you try this recipe from Taste of Home.
Okay. Lets just say that New Orleans natives know how to do dessert right: bourbon, day-old baguette, heavy cream, eggs and sugar make this classic Southern dessert an enticing indulgence, perfect for Mardi Gras (or any time for that matter).
Crawfish tails, lobster and rock shrimp all go into these scrumptious little hush puppies. Find detailed instructions for how to make this fried treat, recipe courtesy of the James Beard Foundation.
Nashville’s famous Loveless Cafe brings us this recipe for classic Creole shrimp n’ grits. The spiciness of the shrimp paired with cheesy grits makes for an unforgettable ode to Southern cuisine.
History time: New Orleans was the major port of entry for bananas in the 1950s (who knew?) and thus, the Bananas Foster was born. This dessert calls for butter, sugar, cinnamon, bananas, liqueur and rum, all served over ice cream. You will be lighting rum on fire, so get ready!
The Vieux Carre was named for the French quarter of New Orleans in the 1930s. It was invented at the famous Carousel Bar (a winner of the Vogue Living’s top 20 bars in the world). Try this drink for a strong but smooth cocktail.
Oh, the French and their pastries. This twist on the New Orleans classic coming from Joy the Baker gives step-by-step instructions and chronicles Joy’s time spent in New Orleans. You’ll feel like you’re right there with her while making this delicious recipe.