Looking to bring a little taste of New Orleans to your Thanksgiving table? Enjoy some of the city’s unique ingredients and cooking styles to create a Southern and often Creole-style meal or sides to share with your family, friends and coworkers this holiday season. Here are three recipes to try.
Mirliton Casserole with Crabmeat, Crawfish and Shrimp (courtesy of Nola.com)
Makes 24 to 30 side-dish servings
12 medium to large mirlitons, scrubbed
2 sticks (1/2 pound) plus 2 tablespoons butter
4 cups finely chopped yellow onions
6 large cloves garlic, minced
6 medium bay leaves
1/4 cup minced parsley leaves
1 medium yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
1 pound peeled crawfish tails, coarsely chopped
1 pound peeled boiled shrimp, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
3/4 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
3 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 1/2 (about) cups Italian-style fine dry bread crumbs
3/4 cup Italian-style fine dry bread crumbs
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter, cut into thin pats
Boil the mirlitons whole until they are fork tender, 45 minutes to one hour. Let cool, then peel skins. Remove and discard the seeds and any stringy pulp. Chop the pulp in small pieces and place in a colander to drain. Set aside or, if preparing ahead, cover and refrigerate; drain well before using. In a seven-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook until onions are clear, about seven minutes, being careful not to let the garlic burn. Stir in the drained mirliton, bay leaves and parsley. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep mixture from sticking to the pan bottom. Stir the bell peppers into the mixture, then add the crabmeat, crawfish and shrimp, being careful to keep lumps of crabmeat intact as much as possible as you mix. Add salt, pepper, Tabasco and Worcestershire, mixing well.
Gradually add enough bread crumbs, about 2 1/2 cups, to absorb all liquid; once done, the mixture should be moist but not wet. Continue cooking for five minutes more, stirring and scraping pan bottom almost constantly. Remove the bay leaves from the mixture and transfer mixture to two buttered 13-by-9-inch baking pans or large casserole dishes. Sprinkle the top of the casseroles evenly with the 3/4 cup bread crumbs and dot with the pats of butter. (If making ahead, refrigerate or freeze; thaw before baking.)
To finish the dish, bake uncovered in a preheated 375-degree oven until the casserole is heated through and bubbly, and the top starts to brown, about 35 minutes.
Uncle Frank’s Oyster Dressing (courtesy of Nola.com)
Makes 12 to 16 servings
1 pint good strong olive oil
2 large white onions, finely chopped
6 to 10 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch flat leaf Italian parsley, minced
2 loaves stale po-boy French bread, cubed (French baguette)
8 to 10 dozen large freshly shucked oysters and their water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme or a few sprigs fresh
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper
Few drops Kitchen Bouquet
Fill a large frying pan with olive oil about 1/4 inch deep. Cook white onions until softened and transparent. Add garlic and green onions. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and cook 2 minutes more. Place cubed, stale French bread in a large bowl.
Cook oysters in their water for 5 minutes, until the edges curl. Remove oysters with a slotted spoon and coarsely chop (or cut in half if small). Add thyme, salt and lemon-pepper to the oyster water; pour over the cubed, stale bread and mix well. Add the cooked onion mixture and cooked, chopped oysters to the large bowl with the bread mixture. Mix well.
In the skillet used to saute the onions, put more olive oil, and fry the dressing in small batches on a high fire for about 5 minutes, adding a few drops of Kitchen Bouquet to each batch.
Spread the cooked dressing in a large baking pan; cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to bake. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until browned. Before serving, spoon some of the turkey drippings over the casserole.
This freezes well and improves in flavor when it is made a couple of days ahead. To freeze, prepare the dressing up to the point of frying it in batches and spreading it in a baking pan. Cool completely. Wrap tightly first in plastic wrap and then in foil. Defrost in the refrigerator the night before you want to serve it. Remove all wrappings and bake as directed.
Happy Thanksgiving from Southern Comfort B&B!