You don't have to travel to New Orleans this year to satisfy your cravings for Mardi Gras dishes. The Creole dishes that make you salivate- gumbo, Jambalaya, red beans, etouffee, muffulettas, grits and okra - can all be prepared at home in honor of one of the nation's biggest annual parties.
Below are 10 easy recipes for Mardi Gras cuisine. Don't forget to serve most Creole dishes with a side of some good hot sauce. Creole food is supposed to pack a punch. A rum cocktail is also a good addition if you truly want to honor New Orleans' party culture.
1. Chicken Gumbo: The trick to making tasty gumbo is to cook the flour until it turns a dark caramel color before adding in a sausage mixture and then simmering for at least an hour. Try this recipe if you want a classic dish.
2. Jambalaya: This recipe is all about celebrity chef Emeril's ESSENCE Creole seasoning, also known as Bayou Blast.
3. Red Beans and Rice: Add cayenne, paprika, bay leaf, thyme and ham hock to complete this delicious Mardi Gras essential.
4. Shrimp Etouffee: Etouffee (Ay-2-FAY) roughly means smothered, stewed or braised. Intoxicating is another good defintion, especially if you use this recipe.
5. Classic Muffulettas: Combine olives, capers, peppers, parsley, giardiniera and garlic to make this addicting sandwich.
6. Shrimp and Grits: A good roux will help make this dish thick and creamy.
7. Creole Okra: Okra with bacon. Need we say more?
8. Oyster Po'boys: Martha Stewart released this easy video to show you how to make this classic New Orleans treat.
9. King Cake: When making this recipe, make a small slit in the bottom of the cake and put a miniature plastic baby in after the cake has cooled to follow Mardi Gras tradition.
10. Beignets: Powdered sugar and fried dough make this recipe a keeper.