Mardi Gras is a celebration of life and good food before giving up your favorite things for Lent. This year “Fat Tuesday” falls on February 16th, next week. And with our current wintry cold weather, what better way to celebrate than with a hot bowl of soup and a hearty sandwich both of which come straight out of New Orleans.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

recipe adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Old Major Market)
  • 4 skinned bone-in chicken breasts (or 1 lb. shrimp)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • celery ribs, sliced
  • 2 quarts hot water
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • green onions, sliced
  • Greens (optional — see cook’s note)
  • Hot cooked rice
  • More green onions chopped for garnish

Directions:

  1. Cook sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until browned. Drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Set sausage aside.
  2. Cook chicken in reserved drippings in Dutch oven over medium heat 5 minutes or until browned. Remove to paper towels, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Set chicken aside.
  3. Add enough oil to drippings in Dutch oven to measure 1/2 cup. Add flour, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 20 to 25 minutes, or until roux is chocolate colored.
  4. Stir in onion, bell pepper, and celery; cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until tender. Gradually add 2 quarts hot water, and bring mixture to a boil; add chicken, garlic, and next 5 ingredients. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour. Remove chicken; let cool.
  5. Add sausage to gumbo; cook 30 minutes. Stir in green onions; cook for 30 more minutes.
  6. Bone chicken, and cut meat into strips; return chicken to gumbo, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves.
  7. Remove gumbo from heat. Serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish, with green onions. Makes 4-6 servings.

Cook’s Notes: With a nod to the late NOLA chef, Leah Chase, you could easily (and tastily) add bunches of greens to your gumbo – like collards, mustard, chard, spinach, or kale. You would add the greens along with the green onions in the second part of Step 5. You can also substitute 1 lb. of shrimp for the chicken.

Classic Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe

recipe adapted from Serious Eats

Ingredients:

  • One jar Olive Muffalata (from That Pickle Guy)
  • 1 large muffuletta-style roll/bread (see cook’s note)
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced sweet soppressata (or soppressa/salami)
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced mortadella (or bologna)
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced capicola (or prosciutto)
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced provolone cheese (or mozzarella)

Directions:

Split muffuletta roll in half and spread each cut surface generously with olive muffalata, making sure to include the juices when spreading. Layer half of soppressata on bottom half of bun, followed by half of mortadella, half of capicola, and half of provolone. Repeat layers with remaining meat and cheese. Close sandwiches and press down gently to compress. For best flavor, wrap tightly in paper or plastic and let rest for 1 hour before serving. Cut into triangular wedges to serve. Makes 2 servings.

Cook’s Notes:

  1. Muffuletta rolls are difficult to locate outside of New Orleans. If unavailable, use ciabatta or focaccia in its place, or any good bread with a relatively soft crust.
  2. The 8 oz. jar of Olive Muffaletta will be enough to do about 4 sandwiches, but you may want to do this again, so consider getting the 16 oz. jar for repeat performances.
  3. You can get the meats at most deli counters.