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A Classic Mardi Gras Dinner

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Capture the flavors of New Orleans with shrimp rémoulade, gumbo, and authentic King Cake

Menu Timeline

Up to 2 days ahead:

  • Cook the gumbo up to but not including the rice and scallions. Cool the gumbo and refrigerate it. Skim off any solidified fat from the surface.

Up to 1 day ahead:

  • Make the rémoulade sauce.
  • Make the simple syrup for the cocktails.
  • Make the king cake but don’t make the icing yet.

Up to 2 hours ahead:

  • Cook, cool, drain, and refrigerate the shrimp.
  • Shred the lettuce for serving the shrimp; keep it refrigerated.
  • Ice and decorate the king cake.

30 minutes ahead:

  • Reheat the gumbo.
  • Cook the rice and slice the scallions for serving the gumbo

Just before dinner:

  • Coat the shrimp with the remoulade and arrange on the bed of lettuce.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 2 medium heads tender, leafy lettuce (such as bibb or Boston)
  • 4 green or red bell peppers
  • 4 large and 1 medium onions
  • 1 large bunch celery
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 3 lemons

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • 1-1/2 lb. large (21-25 per lb.) shrimp
  • 2-1/2 lb. skinless chicken thighs, preferably bone-in
  • 1-1/2 lb. andouille sausage or other spicy smoked sausage
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 5 Tbs. unsalted butter

Other Groceries

  • 8 cups lower-salt chicken broth (or use homemade)
  • 3 cups white rice
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups bourbon
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 (1/4-oz.) package dry-active yeast
  • 2 Tbs. Creole or country-style Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. filé powder
  • 4 tsp. Herbsaint (or Absinthe or Pernod)
  • Tabasco or other Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 plastic baby figurine to hide in the king cake (optional)
  • Green, gold, and purple food coloring (you can make your own purple using the standard red, and blue)

Pantry Staples

  • 3-3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbs. light corn syrup
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. cayenne
  • 1 Tbs. white-wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 3/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp.ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • kosher salt (at least 1/2 cup)
  • whole black peppercorns

The Menu

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