Jambalaya and Hurricanes for Mardi Gras
I've never been to a real Mardi Gras or Carnival celebration. The closest I've come up here in the cold North is attending outdoor Bock Fests, always just before the Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday celebration, kicking off the Lenten season.
At Bock Fests, however, there is a lot of huddling around warm fires and drinking beer outside in the snow, perhaps with a gleaming, hot poker from the fire used to stir your beer and get it to froth and foam, only causing you to drink it faster. Plenty of bratwurst, sauerkraut, beer cheese soup and dumplings will be consumed at such and event, and there will be a lack of Mardi Gras beads and elaborate parades and costumes, pancakes, and fried dough.
If, like me, you live somewhere that doesn't go all out for Fat Tuesday, you can still celebrate. Be sure to plan a feast as you head towards Lent, with pancakes, fried doughnuts and other rich food and drink, like a bowl of spicy jambalaya and a hurricane to wash it down with.
Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup diced celery
1/3 cup diced green onions plus 1-2 additional for garnish
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more to taste)
2 cups white rice
4 cups chicken stock or broth
3 bay leaves
8 ounces spicy chicken sausage or other cased sausage of your choice, sliced ½" thick
8 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Sauté red pepper, celery, diced green onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Add in Worcestershire, hot sauce, onion powder and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Add in rice, broth and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add in sausage and shrimp. Continue cooking until shrimp is done and sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper, serve with extra hot sauce.
Mardi Gras Hurricanes
For each drink:
2 ounces light rum
2 ounces dark rum
2 ounces passion fruit juice
1 ounce orange juice