If you won’t be attending a Reveillon dinner at one of New Orleans’ restaurants during the holiday season, you may want to bring a taste home to your own Christmas dinner table. Here are four recipes that drip with local flavor and culture that you can try in your kitchen.
Barq’s Root Beer inventor Edward C. Barq, Sr. was born here to a French family who moved Edward back to France at five years old. He eventually returned to home to earn a degree in chemistry. He then moved to Biloxi, Miss., where he created and sold his first Barq’s. But even though the original wasn’t sold here Barq’s Root Beer is still a New Orleans institution, and glass bottles are sold in many restaurants and stores around the city. This recipe for Barq’s Root Beer-Glazed Ham lends the perfect touch to a traditional Christmas main entrée.
Around this time of year, it is popular for New Orleanians to use mirlitons in their cooking, particularly for the holidays in the form of Mirliton Dressing. This dressing is most often prepared with shrimp to add protein and flavor, but it may also be mixed with sausage or crabmeat. Mirlitons are packed onto vegetable stands in local markets throughout fall and winter, so Christmas is a popular time of year to enjoy this casserole.
For dessert, you may try a Caramel-Pecan Buche de Noel, which combines a traditional Christmas yule log with a classic New Orleans dessert, bananas Foster. Bananas Foster is a dessert made from bananas and vanilla ice cream with a sauce made from butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum and banana liqueur. It was invented in the early 1950s by Brennan’s chef Paul Blange when he was challenged by Owen Edward Brennan to create a new dessert using bananas. This was because, in the early 1950s, the city was the major port of entry for bananas being shipped from Central and South America.
If you want to serve cocktails with your meal, one of the finest cocktails is the Sazerac, which is dubbed as the first cocktail ever created. It was first made in the 19th century by Antoine Amedie Peychaud’s, who owned a apothecary and treated his friends to brandy toddies made with a mixer of his own recipe, what was then and is now known as Peychaud’s Bitters. The Sazerac became the first branded cocktail. The recipe was slightly altered in 1873 to replace the French brandy with American rye whiskey and add a dash of absinthe, and it was altered again in 1940 to use Herbsaint as the absinthe. It was altered once more in 2000 to use Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey as the main liquor.