Beignets, Jambalaya, and Muffuletta’s for Celebrating Mardi Gras

This year February to May bring about my favorite holidays! The first of which is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.  One of my ancestors moved from France to the colonies in the 1600’s via Holland. He probably never celebrated Mardi Gras as he was a Huguenot or in other words a french protestant. I have never been able to attend in person any Mardi Gras celebration except for a few years at Universal Studios in Orlando.

mardi gras

Mardi Gras is held all over the world under different names. Mardi Gras is Fat Tuesday in French. In the city of Binche, Belgium they have had the “Carnival of Binche” proclaimed one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2003.

Everyone has heard of Carnaval. This is the worlds largest and most well known Mardi Gras celebration. It is held in Rio in Brazil. In Germany, Mardi Gras is known as Karneval, Fastnacht or Fasching depending in what region you are in. Italy calls it Martedí Grasso. The Netherlands call it carnival which means the end of meat. The Swedish celebration is called Fettisdagen.

It is a Christian holiday that has it’s roots in pagen spring and fertility rites.  I really don’t know about all that.  Mardi Gras just sounds like an experience you wouldn’t forget.  I would never make it at a huge Mardi Gras celebration.  I would just run from the large crowds.

Here in the US the largest celebration is held in New Orleans. I have heard some amazing things and some scary. Even my mom wants to see it.

Since I am unable to attend a Mardi Gras celebration I choose to make Cajun or Creale foods. I love Gumbo, but my husband does not. I found a sandwich that they make in New Orleans called the Muffuletta. My husband loves it! I finally got the nerve up to attempt another Cajun food this weekend. Jambalaya. It was such a hit I was thrilled!

With today being Mardi Gras I thought I would share my menu. It is not a very long menu, but it is one that we love. I started this morning with a of Beignets. Beignet  in French, means deep fried pastry.  This is most famously served at Cafe du Monde  in New Orleans. They sell the mix online, but I love this recipe. Do not make more than you can eat in a sitting as they don’t reheat well or taste all that great stale, but the uncooked dough can sit in the refrigerator for up to a week and tastes even better after sitting.

The muffuletta is so filling and I don’t even make it with the round sour dough loaves they use in New Orleans. No hurricanes or bananas foster this year. Maybe next year?  Maybe a king cake?

Oh, and the other holidays? St. Patrick’s day, Easter, and Cinco de Mayo.


Jambalaya, Sue style adapted from Emeril’s recipe Cajun Jambalaya

  • 2 1/2 pounds of meat. some combo of pork chops, chicken,  spicy sausage, or shrimp
  • 1 TBSP Creole Seasoning (Emeril’s blend recipe to follow Jumbolaya recipe)
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 med onion chopped
  • 1/2 of a med green pepper
  • 1/4 chopped celery
  • 2 TBSP chopped garlic
  • 1 can 15 ounces of diced tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup white rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper

put 4 cups of water into a sauce pan.  Cook  meat in pot on high until boiling.  Once it boils lower temperature to med low until done.  Take meat out of pan and let cool.  Reserve liquid. This is your chicken stock.

In a large sauce pan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper, and celery for 3 minutes.  Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, and hot sauce.  Stir in Rice and slowly add broth.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs broth and is ready to eat.

Cut up meat pieces and place in a bowl once they are cool.  Add the Creaole  seasoning and toss until distributed on meat.

When rice is ready to eat add meat to pan,  Cook for 10 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (aka Bayou Blast) from

  • 2 1/2 TBSP Paprika
  • 2 TBSP Salt
  • 2 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 1 TBSP Black Pepper
  • 1 TBSP onion powder
  • 1 TBSP cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBSP dried Oregano
  • 1 TBSP dried Thyme

Combine all ingredients.  Store in a dark container.  Makes 2/3 cup

Muffuletta Sandwich from Emeril lagassie

  • 1 large round sourdough bread loaf*
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of Olive salad, recipe to follow
  • 4 oz Mortadella (spicy bologna)**
  • 4 oz cured Italian Ham***
  • 4 oz Mozzerella sliced
  • 4 oz Provolone

Slice the bread horizontally. Remove enough of the insides to make room for spreading 1/4 cup of Olive salad on bottom and top of bread. Spread to saturate the bread.  Layer with meat, cheese, and olive salad until meat and cheese is gone.

Cut into 1/4’s and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes. I have let this sit overnight or longer in refrigerator.   It is just as good maybe even better.

Olive Salad

  • 1/2 cup Black Olives
  • 1/2 cup Gr. Olives with Pimentos
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped celery
  • 1 TBSP minced parsley
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 3/4 tsp ground Black Pepper

Place into bowl of food processor and pulse until everything looks minced.

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*As you can see I did not follow the round loaf, I am not a fan of sourdough bread and I prefer going to the bakery and buying these little loaves.  These are about  6 inches long.

**I could not find spicy bologna and used hard salami

***I could not find spice ham and used basic normal ham.

Beignet’s story/html

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 2 TBSP butter softened
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 4 cups Flour
  • 3 tsp yeast
  • vegetable oil
  • powdered sugar

Place all ingredients except oil and powdered sugar into bowl.  Beat until smooth using a dough hook.

Place in a lightly greased bowl covered with plastic wrap.  Place in refrigerator 3 to 4 hours or overnight

Heat oil to 360 degrees.

Place dough onto lightly floured counter and bush out with fingers.  Cut in triangle shapes.  Fry 2 or 3 at one time, drain onto paper towels, sprinkle with lots of powdered sugar.  You will need to knead just a little bit. Just enough to not be sticky.

Make sure the vegatable oil is 360.  The batch I made this weekend was much heavier than the two I made this morning.  That may have to do with the fact that the dough has been in the fridge since Saturday.

Dough can be kept for 1 week in the fridge.  Punch down when the dough rises to high.  You can also freeze excess dough.  Just cut out shapes and freeze with wax paper in between.

2013-02-12 08.45.27

Have a happy Mardi Gras, wish I was sitting at Cafe du Monde drinking coffee and eating a beignet.  I guess I will just have to settle for a couple of beignets with a cup of my own coffee sitting out on the porch listening to the birds chirp!


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