Bring a bit of the Big Easy to your KU watch party

Gumbo. Jazz. Basketball.

This weekend, New Orleans has it all — especially if you happen to be a Kansas University basketball fan.

Unfortunately, not every Jayhawk fan can make it to the Big Easy this week to see the team in action for Saturday’s (and hopefully Monday’s) Final Four game in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

But that New Orleans spirit can come to you.

Especially by way of the kitchen.

Arguably, New Orleans has a style of food all its own, done in a way no other city in the United States can claim. Blending the goods of the Gulf Coast with traditions rooted in French, Caribbean and American cuisine, New Orleans’ food is as unique as the city’s famed music, celebrations and spirits.

So, put on some jazz, don your favorite Jayhawk gear and get in the kitchen to create a watch party spread so spicy and inspired, even Emeril would be jealous.


Catfish Gumbo

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

10 ounces frozen cut okra

11 ounces frozen corn kernels

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or fish stock

2 teaspoons bay seasoning

2 teaspoons dried thyme

Sea salt, to taste

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 pound catfish fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add garlic and sauté briefly, until lightly golden, then remove and set aside. Add pepper, celery and onion to pot and cook, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add flour and stir into vegetables until well coated. Add sautéed garlic, tomatoes, okra, corn, stock, bay seasoning, thyme, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir well, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the fish and cover. Cook, stirring gently occasionally, until fish is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

— Recipe from

Seafood Dirty Rice

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

2 1/2 cups water

1 package dirty rice mix

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup sliced green onions

Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add bell peppers; cook and stir 3 minutes or until tender. Add water; bring to boil.

Stir in Rice Mix; return to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and green onions; mix well. Cook, uncovered, 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and rice is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

— Recipe from

Classic Beignets


1/2 cup (4 ounces) lukewarm water

1/2 cup (4 ounces) lukewarm milk

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) butter, melted

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor, optional

1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar

2 teaspoons salt

4 cups (17 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons instant yeast

Combine all of the ingredients, and mix and knead them together — by hand, mixer or bread machine — till you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 hour, or until it’s puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk). Gently deflate the dough, and place it in a greased bowl or greased plastic bag, choosing a bowl or bag that’ll allow the dough to expand. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 2 days.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and place it on a lightly greased or floured work surface; a silicone rolling mat works well here. Roll it into a 14-inch x 10-inch rectangle, squaring off the corners as well as you can without being overly fussy. Cut the dough into 2-inch squares.

Pour peanut, safflower, or canola oil to a depth of at least 3/4-inch in a 10-inch electric fry pan (first choice), or a deep, heavy-bottomed 10-inch frying pan set over a burner. Heat the oil to 360 degrees, and drop 5 or 6 squares of dough into the hot oil. They’ll sink to the bottom, then after about 5 seconds or so, rise to the top. Fry the beignets for 1 minute, then use a pair of tongs to turn them over. Fry for another minute, till the beignets are puffed and golden brown all over. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. When the beignets are cool, sprinkle them heavily with confectioners’ sugar. For a real New Orleans experience, serve with strong coffee.

Yield: about 30 beignets.

— Recipe from

Quick Vegetarian Gumbo

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1 (16-ounce) package frozen bell pepper strips

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 to 1 tablespoon blackened cajun spice

1/2 pound vegetarian sausage links, Cajun or spicy variety, cut into 1-inch slices

3/4 cup rice (white or quick-cooking brown)

8 ounces frozen cut okra

Hot sauce to taste

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot until warm. Add garlic and sauté briefly. Stir in peppers. Cook another 4 minutes then add tomatoes, beans, seasoning and sausage. Bring to a boil and add rice. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add okra and simmer another 10 minutes or until rice is cooked. Serve with hot sauce on the side.

— Recipe from

Simple Jambalaya with Shrimp and Sausage

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup diced onion

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

1/2 cup diced carrots

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 (12-ounce) package andouille sausage, sliced in 1-inch pieces

2 cups jasmine rice

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 pound (16-20 count) fresh raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Heat oil in 4-quart pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots; season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sausage; cook 2 minutes. Add rice, tomatoes, broth and shrimp; stir to evenly distribute. Cover; cook 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately.

— Recipe from

Mini King Cakes


1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted

3/4 cup lukewarm milk

2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, white reserved

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup nonfat dry milk

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon lemon oil, or 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

1/2 cup lemon chips, optional


1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 to 1 teaspoon milk, enough to make a thick but pourable glaze


Yellow, purple, and green sparkling sugars

Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients to make a smooth, soft dough.

Let the dough rise, covered, for 1 hour.

Place 12 mini-panettone papers on a baking sheet. Or line a standard muffin pan with cupcake papers, and grease the papers.

With greased hands, divide the sticky dough into 12 equal pieces, forming each into a smooth ball.

Place the balls of dough into the papers. Cover the pan, and let the cakes rise for 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon water, and brush it over the cakes.

Bake the cakes for 20 minutes, then tent them lightly with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

Beat together the icing ingredients, dribbling in the final teaspoon of milk until the icing is thick yet pourable.

Dip the top of each cake in the icing, or drizzle icing over the tops of the cakes. While the icing is still tacky, sprinkle with the colored sugars.

Yield: 12 cakes.

— Recipe from

Seafood Courtbouillon

1 package Etouffee base

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, sliced

1 pound catfish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon creole seasoning

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup crabmeat

Hot pepper sauce, to taste

Cooked white rice

Prepare Etoufee base as directed on package, omitting shrimp.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepot on medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and garlic; cook and stir 5 minutes or until softened.

Season catfish with Creole seasoning. Add to pot along with shrimp, wine and prepared Etouffee sauce. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Gently stir in crabmeat. Season to taste with few dashes of hot pepper sauce. Serve over white rice. Serves 8.

— Recipe from

Linguine with Cajun Sausage Cream Sauce

2 cups half and half

Grated zest of 2 medium lemons

1⁄2 cup shredded parmesan

12 ounces fresh lemon pepper linguine (or substitute plain fresh linguine)

2 tablespoons organic olive oil

3 links smoked Cajun-style sausage, cut into rounds

2 red peppers, cut into strips

4 cups chopped fresh spinach leaves

1 bunch green onion, chopped into 1-inch pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine half and half and lemon zest in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high flame until the cream has reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. Reduce heat to very low. Whisk in the Parmesan a little at a time. Keep sauce warm.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add linguine and cook until barely tender.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high flame. Add sausage and red peppers; cook until ingredients sizzle and peppers begin to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and green onions. Cook briefly, stirring often, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When linguine is done, drain it then toss it with the sauce and sausage mixture. Serve immediately.

— Recipe by Terese Allen for

New Orleans-style Maple-Bacon Pralines

6 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, finely chopped

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup maple-flavored or pancake syrup

1/4 cup whipping cream

1 package (6 ounces) pecan halves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cook bacon in skillet on medium heat 12 minutes or until crisp, stirring frequently; drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, cook next 5 ingredients in large saucepan on medium heat 15 minutes or until temperature reaches 239 degrees (soft-ball stage) on candy thermometer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Stir in bacon, nuts and cinnamon. Immediately pour onto baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray; refrigerate 10 minutes or until firm. Break into bite-size pieces.

— Recipe from

Spicy Red Beans and Rice

2 cups dried red beans

2 medium (2 cups) onions, chopped

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can chicken broth

2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic

4 cups hot cooked long grain rice

Place beans and enough water to cover in 4-quart saucepan; soak overnight. (If needed, add more water to cover beans.) Cook beans over high heat until water comes to a full boil. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking until beans are tender (30 to 45 minutes). Drain beans.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine beans and all remaining ingredients except cooked rice in 2-quart casserole. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 hours or until sauce is slightly thickened. Remove bay leaves. Serve over hot cooked rice.

—Recipe from

Cajun Tilapia with Broccoli and Brown Rice

2 cups low sodium vegetable broth, divided

1 small onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons salt-free Cajun seasoning, divided

1 cup uncooked brown rice

3 cups small broccoli florets

3 (4-ounce) tilapia fillets

1 large lime, cut in half

Heat 1/4 cup broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning and cook about 3 minutes or until onion is beginning to soften. Stir in rice and cook 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 3/4 cups broth and heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes. About 15 minutes before rice is done, place broccoli florets on top of cooking rice, replace lid and continue cooking. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes then fluff rice with a fork and gently stir everything together. Squeeze 2 tablespoons juice from half of lime and stir into rice.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place tilapia on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning. Bake tilapia 8 to 9 minutes or until flesh is opaque. Flake tilapia into bite-sized pieces and serve over rice and broccoli mixture. Cut remaining half of lime into 4 wedges for squeezing over tilapia at the table.

— Recipe from


mom_of_three 11 years ago

two days for Beignets?? there are other recipes which are delicious and only require a couple of hours wait or even a half an hour.

lily 11 years ago

I had to read that again as I thought it odd. It says it can keep up to 2 days not that you have to leave it that long. I wouldn't make them if it really did take 2 days!

Sarah Henning 11 years ago

Just thought you guys could make the beignet dough ahead Friday night and then make them on Saturday. It's a complicated recipe, but sounded it worth it.

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