Not heading to the Big Easy for the celebration and revelry of Mardi Gras? Thankfully it's quite easy to enjoy the festivities at home, and as with so many occasions there is no better way to do it than with some iconic and inspired New Orleans cuisine. Cue up some jazz, stir up a drink (like a French 75 or a hurricane), and dig into one of these NOLA classics to get your fill of Mardi Gras at home.
Dark roux, shrimp stock, slow-cooked vegetables, a hit of spice, and tender shrimp — this classic Southern stew has a lot going for it. All you need is a side of rice, and dinner is served. You can buy frozen shrimp for this recipe; just defrost in the refrigerator the day before. Make the shrimp shell stock a day ahead to save some time.
This play on the traditional Cajun or Creole dish swaps spicy chicken andouille sausage for the usual chicken liver and giblets to fit dinner any night of the week.
3. King Cake
I think we can all agree that Mardi Gras is not complete without king cake! This version is filled with a layer of cinnamon-sugar and rolled into a giant spiral. It has spiraled layers on the inside, and a signature purple, green, and gold sugared topping.
Red beans and rice is a New Orleans classic, and one to slot into your meal plan for an at-home Mardi Gras celebration.
During Mardi Gras the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent is known by several names including Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, and, because of the breakfast-for-dinner ritual on this day, Pancake Tuesday.
If you can get your hands on some frozen crawfish tails, this fast-and-fancy pasta, gilded with a rich white wine and cream sauce, is a must.
This veggie-heavy jambalaya is a lightened-up version of the Southern classic. While it doesn't have a long cook time, you can still expect lots of delicious, slow-cooked flavor.
A bowl of creamy grits piled with tender shrimp is a Southern staple, and there is no better time than Mardi Gras to work it into your meal plan.
Inspired by Killer Poboys in New Orleans' French Quarter, this sandwich brings a Vietnamese twist to the po'booy sandwich. It features coriander and lime shrimp and a tangle of pickled vegetables, slathered with a spicy-sweet mayo and stuffed into a classic-style bun.
Of course if you're having a Mardi Gras celebration at home, you're going to need an inspired drink for the festivities, and there's nothing we'd rather sip than eponymous cocktail at Arnaud's French 75 bar in New Orleans' French Quarter, which calls for cognac in place of gin.