So I probably should have posted these recipes last week before Thanksgiving, but I forgot and I wanted to test them out twice to get all kinks out of the way. I was lucky to have two Thanksgivings this year, a “friendsgiving” down in NOLA (which was way better then my family Thanksgiving) and family Thanksgiving. I still never want to eat again. Below is an amazing crawfish stuffing that Chef John’s family has requested a double batch of for next year. Perhaps you can save in your Thanksgiving recipe file for next year or break it out for the December holidays! Chef’s note: make sure to use dry corn bread so it soaks up all the sauce. – ts
Chef John Says: Everyone knows that the best part of Thanksgiving is the stuffing. I usually dedicate about 3/4 of my plate to it. My family always has a traditional stuffing/dressing but this past Sunday we had a pre-Thanksgiving feast at our friend’s house in New Orleans and it was decided that we should make a more NOLA-style dressing. Tanya came across this beauty: Besh’s Crawfish Corn Bread Dressing. Like ALL of Besh’s recipes, this is very easy and delicious.
You can make the corn bread ahead or use leftover corn bread. In fact, the dressing may be prepared a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator until an hour before serving. I used more andouille, hot sausage, and garlic than it calls for… obviously. This recipe makes 8–10 cups, more than enough to stuff a turkey, but at our Thanksgiving we stuff our bird separately and serve dressings like this alongside. Serves 10
4 tablespoons rendered bacon fat (I used a couple tablespoons of butter instead)
¼ pound andouille sausage, diced
¼ pound hot pork sausage meat, removed from casing
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups peeled crawfish tails, chopped (you can usually find a package of frozen tails)
2 green onions, chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
2 tablespoons Basic Creole Spices
6 cups crumbled Basic Corn Bread
2 cups Basic Chicken Stock
½ cup heavy cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
- Put the bacon fat, andouille, and pork sausage into a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the pork with the back of a wooden spoon.
- When the pork sausage meat has browned, add the onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the crawfish and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the sausage and crawfish and stir together until well combined. Spoon the dressing into a large heatproof dish.
- At this point, the dressing may be covered and refrigerated (for up to 1 day) until you are ready to bake it. Bake the dressing in a preheated 350° oven until it is piping hot and golden brown, 15–30 minutes.
This recipe comes from JR’s friend Sewell, a good ‘ole Georgia boy who knows the importance of Cajun seasoning in anything that bears the “Creole” name. I normally wouldn’t post something from a Georgia fan two days before their (likely not epic but here’s-to-hoping good) battle with the Vols, but this looks too darn good to ignore.
The main thing to remember with this recipe is that juice is your friend. Don’t drain anything here. All of that sauce the ‘maters are packed in provides flavor and richness, so feel free to add more as you go if your Creole looks a little thirsty.
2-3 links andouille sausage, sliced
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 small sweet onion, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 ear of corn, cut off the cob (or 1/2 cup frozen)
4-8 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 large cans diced tomatoes (Italian) + juice
1-2 cans of rotel + juice
1 cup rice, cooked according to package directions
olive oil or butter
- Brown sausage in large dutch oven with olive oil. Remove and reserve.
- Saute bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic in same pan until soft (about 5-10 minutes) with the Cajun seasoning.
- Add sausage, corn, tomatoes, and rotel.
- Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Add shrimp and cook for three minutes.
- Serve over rice with hot sauce.
I rarely order shrimp at restaurants for some reason, but when it comes to cooking at home they are a go to ingredient for me. Living in NOLA, we have access to the best gulf shrimp. Also, since Chef John and I plan on cooking every recipe in Besh’s My New Orleans, there are lots of shrimp dinners ahead of us, so expect more shrimp recipes to be posted! Below is one we used on these amazing huge fresh gulf shrimps that our friend gave us. I wish I had a picture of them raw because they were beauties. This is a very basic recipe so really feel free to change it up with whatever spices and herbs you like. I think this recipe was adapted from an Emeril recipe, but honestly I cannot remember. We served this with a frisse salad and roasted veggies. -ts
1/2 pounds large unpeeled shrimp
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
Coarse salt and ground pepper
- Devein shrimp, leaving shells on.
- In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Reserve 6 tablespoons lemon mixture for serving. Place shrimp and remaining lemon mixture in a resealable plastic bag; seal bag and shake to coat shrimp. Refrigerate 1 hour.
- Heat grill high. Remove shrimp from marinade, wiping off excess. Grill until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve shrimp drizzled with reserved lemon mixture.
The Chef brought this home last week for us to share. For two days I stole bites every time I was in the kitchen until he gave up and said I could have the rest. Which was good… because I had already eaten it. What I’m saying is, this is badass.
Clearly this recipe targets the rich and famous as it requires a whole pound of lump crab meat, but it is worth every penny. (I say this as a person who got hers for free, but whatevs. Details.)
For those of you who are budget-conscious, The Chef would like to remind you that you can use a lot of different things to supplement the crab if you don’t want to burn your whole paycheck on this dish. Cooked shrimp, lobster or scallops can be substituted for part of the crab, and I’ll attest that the 1/2 shrimp-1/2 crab combo is plenty delicious. Just please, for the love, leave the krab out of it.
The Chef suggests serving this on avocado halves as a first course or with crackers or crispy wontons. I, however, think this salad is something that should remain between a girl and her spoon.
1 lb jumbo lump crab meat
1/2 cup mayo
juice of 2 lemons
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
half bunch of green onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, fresh minced
- Drain crab and pick through for shells.
- Add everything except crab to a mixing bowl. Gently fold in crab meat.
- Eat immediately, preferably alone, before anyone else can get their hands on it.
Well corporate America, it’s almost quittin’ time on our most hallowed of holiday weekends. And nothing’s more American than using company time to do entirely personal things on a Friday afternoon, so that’s what I’m doing here.
This recipe is obviously of the rich and famous variety (because we clearly are SO VERY both), and it is as good as you think it is. The Chef made this in honor of our last dinner with The Grosshans (while we were still official Memphians, that is), and sitting on a porch eating this with a cold glass of white wine and good company is about as close to perfection as you can get. While you’re outdoors in Memphis in June, anyway.
The freshness of the tomatoes, the sweetness of the lobster and the bite of the balsamic make this dish truly addictive. So if you’ve decided to turn in your hot dogs for fancier fare this Fourth of July, this is a recipe not to be missed. (I obviously will not be doing that because hot dogs and me are an American love affair for the ages, but it’s your life.)
2 lobster tails
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of butter
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Season lobster with salt and pepper and dab one tablespoon of butter on each tail.
- Roast for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Once done place in a ice bath to cool.
- Once cool dice and squeeze the juice of one lemon over them.
Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction:
2 yellow tomatoes, diced
2 orange tomatoes, diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
salt to taste
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 cup balsamic vinegar
- Take one cup of balsamic vinegar and cook in a pot on low heat for thirty minutes or until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Season tomatoes with salt and toss with Basil Vinaigrette.
- Top with goat cheese and lobster. Drizzle balsamic reduction over salad and serve. (Makes 4 servings)
Luxuriate. That’s the only word that does this justice. And justice is American as hell.
So as it turns out, mangoes are kind of amazing. As in you know you like them but you’re not sure how much until they’re all dressed up in their killa heels and slinky black dress.
And I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but combining mangoes with the fresh scallops from Paradise Seafood is simply and surprisingly blissful. I don’t know how, but all of their seafood that tastes like tiny sweet little lobsters. You put a perfect sear on one and hit it with this vinaigrette and you are dunzo.
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and rough chopped
1 lime, juice and zest
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon, fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon honey
salt to taste
1/2 cup of olive oil
- Place all ingredients except oil, 1 mango in a blender or food processor.
- Slowly add oil. Once blended, you are good to go.
- Toss the chopped avocado and mango together and reserve to top scallops with.
- Heat a non stick skillet on high heat.
- Dry off moisture from scallops. The Chef places them in between 2 paper towels. Usually on Bonnie’s counter instead of a plate like a normal person, but it’s your life. Do what you need to do.
- Salt and pepper scallops. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon of butter to the skillet.
- Add scallops to the pan and be sure not to mess with them or they will stick. Patience, my dear.
- Sear 2 minutes on each side for medium rare. “Cook longer for you and Bonnie,” says The Chef. Yes, I will eat meat that is still mooing, but for seafood I prefer it well done.
- Top scallops with mango vinaigrette and serve with mixed greens. Refreshing and tangy. Nothing better.
The Chef will be happy to know this shellfish recipe is not for mussels, but it is close; it’s for clams! Sorry I felt like that needed an exclamation point for some reason. Recently Chef John and I had a lovely trip to Newport, RI. While there I must have stuffed my face for every meal with clam chowda and lobster rolls. It was amazing. However, you can really go to just about any small town in New England and get amazing clam chowder or lobster rolls. Two dishes we had (both clams of course) stood out as very Newport, very amazing and will always remind me of this trip, Portuguese Littlenecks and Clams Casino. I had never had either before going to Newport and now I can’t get enough! Below is a great recipe for Portuguese Littlenecks. –ts
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces dry-cured chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch coins
One 1/4-inch-thick slice prosciutto cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 medium yellow onions, cut lengthwise in half and sliced into thin half-moons
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, minced
One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, drained and chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
4 pounds littlenecks or any small clams, such as cockles, manila, or butter scrubbed and rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Bread for serving
- Heat the oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add chorizo and prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until touched with brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium; drop in the onions and bay leaf, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the tomatoes and any accumulated juice, the wine, and paprika. Discard any clams that feel heavy (which means they’re full of sand), have broken shells, or don’t close when tapped. Add clams into the pot and turn the heat to high. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally until the clams pop open, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Discard the bay leaf and toss out any clams that refuse to pop open. Season with a few grinds of pepper, shower with parsley, and ladle the stew into wide shallow bowls. Oh, and have a big bowl on hand for the shells. Serve immediately with a large piece of bread to soak up juices.