The extent of my Mardi Gras education went like this: eat paczki’s on Fat Tuesday (a glorified and delicious jelly-filled donut), get ashes on Ash Wednesday, give up a vice for Lent, reunite with said vice after 40 days.
Catholic school, I tell ya.
I never knew much about Mardi Gras culture growing up. I described my first St. Louis Mardi Gras experience two years ago, along with a tasty chicken and sausage jambalaya. This year though, there’s a few things that differ from my first STL Mardi Gras. First, my almost-22-year-old cousin is visiting solely for the party, so I guess I have to drag my old bones down to Soulard and party along with her.
Second, I’ve been influenced by the food. OH, the food. Jambayala is great but have you had gumbo? Andouille gumbo, to be specific. Actually, let me rephrase: Creole roasted shrimp and andouille gumbo.
Adapted from Sauce Magazine, this gumbo recipe is a fantastic way to celebrate Mardi Gras.
- 3/4 lb andouille sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper (any color), diced
- 1/2 cup diced celery (about 2 ribs)
- 1/2 cup diced carrot (about 2 medium carrots)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp neutral oil (canola, grapeseed)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 32 ounces chicken stock
- 2 tbsp Creole seasoning, divided (recipe here)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails on or off, your choice)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups cooked white rice
- Chopped green onion, for topping
- If making creole seasoning, mix spices together and set aside. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and ensure shrimp is set aside, on ice or in the fridge. Add 1 tablespoon oil to large stockpot over medium high heat. When heated, add andouille sausage. Cook until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove sausage and set aside.
- Add 1/2 cup oil and heat until just beginning to smoke. Add flour and whisk nonstop to avoid clumping until the roux turns into the color of peanut butter and begins to smell nutty (about 10 minutes). Add onion, pepper, celery, carrot, and garlic to roux and stir to combine, continuing to saute for approximately 2-3 minutes to heat vegetables. Add chicken stock and heat until simmering. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, salt, and andouille sausage. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
- At this point, toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread shrimp over pan. Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until shrimp is cooked throughout. Remove from oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes.
- Spoon about 1/2 cup rice into bowls and ladle gumbo into each bowl. Top with 5-6 shrimp and green onion slices and serve.
This andouille gumbo starts with a roux and ends with a kick in the taste buds from Creole spice mixture (which I highly recommend making from scratch, please). A roux sounds intimidating but is totally doable – a mixture of fat and flour (1:1 ratio) intended to thicken a soup or stew. You can do it.
The original recipe suggests making your own andouille sausage from a fatty pork butt. This is something I would actually like to attempt (I would love to put my KitchenAid meat grinding attachment to work!) but for this recipe, I bought premade (though not precooked) andouille. The directions in the recipe explain how to cook the sausage but if yours is precooked, just slice and add to gumbo as directed, without cooking.
Oh, and have you ever roasted shrimp? It’s my new favorite way to cook those little guys. I have a terrible habit of overcooking them until rubbery and I hate treating them that way. Now that I know how to roast them? Well, they’ll be making many more appearances in my kitchen. Especially on top of this andouille gumbo.
So tell me, do you have Mardi Gras plans this year? How do you celebrate?