23 February 2010

6 Big Easy New Orleans Chef Recipes: Jambalaya, King Cake, Praline Candy

From Denny: There were so many great food stories during Mardi Gras and the Olympics that I couldn't get to them all! What I like about this video is it gives anyone living outside of New Orleans a feel for the culture going on during the Mardi Gras parades. Featured here is the typical food we eat in Louisiana but it is also sold on the streets on the parade route which is pretty cool, especially since most of it is slow food.

King Cake is another favorite enjoyed in Louisiana leading up to Mardi Gras, during and even through the Easter season. It's so popular that hundreds of bakeries and groceries across the state ship it air freight everywhere to hungry displaced Louisianians and other gourmands!

*** To purchase, go here

Chef David Guas is the author of "Dam Good Sweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth New Orleans Style." Here are his takes on the classic Louisiana recipes: chicken and sausage jambalaya, traditional king cake, pecan pralines candy and New Orleans drinks.

Recipes Featured:

Chicken and sausage jambalaya
King Cake
Caramel peanut popcorn
Brandy milk punch
New Orleans Hurricane drink

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Chef David Guas

Serves: 6 to 8


• 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
• 1 teaspoon salt, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 pounds andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
• 2 each medium onions, chopped
• 1 each large green or red bell pepper
• 1 cup finely chopped green onions, divided
• 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 3 cups long grain rice
• 8 cups chicken stock
• 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
• 8-12 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook about 5 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Remove from pan and brown remaining chicken. Add sausage and cooked chicken to the Dutch oven. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until browned.

Remove contents of pan with slotted spoon. Add onions, bell pepper, 3/4 cup green onions, and 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes on medium high. Add chicken stock, chicken, sausage, remaining salt, and ground red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 18 minutes, or until rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup green onions and 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Garnish with sprigs of flat-leaf parsley and serve hot.

King Cake

From: Chef David Guas

Makes: 1 cake, 8-10 servings


For the cake

• 1 (quarter ounce) packet dry-active yeast
• .25 cup warm milk (105°F–115°F or warm to the touch)
• 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons bread flour plus extra for rolling
• 1 tablespoon honey
• .75 cup cake flour
• 2 large eggs
• 1 large egg yolk
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• .50 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• .50 teaspoon vanilla extract
• .25 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 plastic baby figurine (to hide in the cake), optional

For the egg wash

• 1 large egg
• 1 tablespoon milk

For the icing and decoration

• 2 cups confectioners’sugar, sifted
• 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
• 3 tablespoons milk
• .25 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 cups sugar
• Green food coloring
• Gold or yellow food coloring Purple or red and blue food coloring


Whisk the yeast with the warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer until dissolved. Add the 6 tablespoons of bread flour and the honey and, using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until fairly smooth (there will still be a few lumps), 30 seconds to 1 minute, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.

Once the dough has doubled, add 3/4 cup of the remaining bread flour, the cake flour, eggs, egg yolk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined, then switch to a dough hook, increase the speed to medium, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Increase the speed to medium-high and begin adding 4 tablespoons of the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well between additions. Continue to knead until the dough forms a slack ball (it will ride the dough hook, be tacky, and not slap the bottom of the bowl, but it should generally come together into a loose mass), 2 to 3 minutes. If the dough doesn’t come together, continue kneading while adding up to 1/4 cup of the reserved bread flour, until it does.

Grease a large bowl with 1/2 tablespoon of the remaining butter and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning it over in the bowl to coat with butter. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel and place the bowl in a draft-free spot until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper with the remaining butter. Generously flour your work surface using the remaining 1/4 cup of bread flour (if you used the bread flour in the dough, dust your work surface with more bread flour). Turn the dough out onto the work surface and sprinkle the top with some flour.

Use your hands to press and flatten it into a rectangle. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick strip that is about 24 inches long by about 6 inches wide. Starting with one of the long sides, roll the dough on top of itself, making a long, thin baguette-shaped length.

Pinch the edge to the body of the dough to seal, turn the dough so it lies horizontally on your work surface, and gently roll it on your work surface to even out any bulges and create a somewhat consistent 11/2-inch-wide rope. Bring the two ends of the dough together and pinch them into one another to seal. Carefully transfer the dough oval or circle to the prepared sheet pan. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set in a warm, dry spot to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 375°F. To make the egg wash, whisk the egg and the milk together in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash over the top and sides of the dough, and bake the king cake until golden and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, make a small slit in the bottom of the cake and insert the baby figurine (if using). Set on a rack to cool completely.

To make the icing

While the cake cools, make the icing. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla together in the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed until smooth and completely incorporated. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel until you are ready to glaze the cake.

To make the colored sugar, measure 1 cup of the sugar into each of 3 resealable quart-size plastic bags. Add 4 drops of green food coloring to one bag, 4 drops of gold or yellow food coloring to another bag, and 4 drops of purple food coloring to the last bag (if you don’t have purple, make it yourself: measure 2 drops of red and 2 drops of blue food coloring onto a spoon and mix with a cake tester or toothpick until combined). Seal each bag and then vigorously shake to combine the sugar and food coloring.

Spoon the icing over the cooled cake. Immediately after icing, decorate with the tinted sugar. I like to alternate colors every 21/2 inches, but you can also divide the cake into 3 sections and apply one color to each section. Slice and serve immediately or store in a cake box or on a baking sheet placed within a large plastic bag (unscented trash bags work well) for up to 2 days.


Chef David Guas

Makes: about 3 dozen


• 4 tablespoons (.5 stick) unsalted butter
• .5 cup plus 4 tablespoons heavy cream
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1.25 cups packed light brown sugar
• 2 cups pecan pieces


Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the 1/2 cup of cream and both sugars until they are dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and simmer until the mixture reaches 240°F to 250°F, using a heatproof rubber spatula to gently push the mixture back and forth in the middle and around the edges occasionally. (If the mixture begins to crystallize, add 2 tablespoons of the cream and continue to cook until it loosens up.)

Stir in the pecans, turn off the heat, and give the mixture a final gentle stir, making sure to get into the bottom and corners of the pan. Using a wooden spoon, portion about 2 tablespoons of the praline mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch between each praline. Usually by the time I portion out about half of the mixture, what’s left in the pan begins to crystallize and stiffen. When this happens, add the last 2 tablespoons of cream and place the saucepan back onto medium heat until the mixture looks creamy and saucy, and then continue portioning out the rest of the pralines. Cool for 30 minutes and then transfer to an airtight container. Pralines stored properly last for up to 3 days before they begin to crystallize.


Chocolate pralines:
Gently stir 1/2 cup of chopped bittersweet chocolate (preferably 66%–72% cacao) into the mixture when you add the pecans.

Coffee and chicory pralines: Bring 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of ground coffee and chicory (preferably Community Coffee, French Market® coffee, or CafĂ© du Monde® brands) to a boil. Turn off the heat and steep for 5 minutes, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside. Proceed with the praline recipe above, using the coffee-infused cream in place of plain heavy cream.


Make ahead: Store the cooled pralines in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days before they begin to crystallize.

Caramel peanut popcorn

From: Chef David Guas

Makes: 10 cups


• 1 (3.5-ounce) package plain (unbuttered natural flavor) microwave popcorn
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• .25 cup light corn syrup
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• .25 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• .5 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 cup lightly salted peanuts (extra large, if available), roughly chopped


Heat the oven to 250°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Pop the popcorn according to the package instructions. Coat a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray and transfer the popcorn from the bag to the bowl, then set the bowl aside.

Whisk the sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and 2 tablespoons of water in a pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer, stirring often, until the mixture reads 250°F on a digital thermometer, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in the vanilla and the baking soda. Immediately pour the hot mixture over the popcorn. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the caramel into the popcorn until all of the popcorn is coated. Gently stir in the peanuts and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Gently break up the popcorn and serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days (less if it’s hot and humid).

Brandy milk punch

From: Chef David Guas

Serves: one


• 2 ounces E&J Brandy
• 3 ounces half & half
• 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
• 1 teaspoon egg white
• .5 teaspoon vanilla extract
• .5 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Build drink in a highball glass. Add ice (filled to the top), and combine E&J Brandy, half and half, powdered sugar, egg white, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Shake all ingredients and pour into a highball glass, top off with a dust of nutmeg.

New Orleans Hurricane

From: Chef David Guas/Made famous at Pat O’Briens in the French Quarter

Serves: one


• 1 ounce white rum
• 1 ounce Jamaican dark rum
• 1 ounce Bacardi® 151 rum
• 3 ounce orange juice
• 3 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice
• 1/2 ounce grenadine syrup
• Crushed ice


Combine all ingredients, mix well (shake or stir). Pour over crushed ice in hurricane glass or tall 8 ozunce glass. Garnish with an orange fruit wedge if desired.

*** To purchase, go here

Chef David Guas is the author of "Dam Good Sweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth New Orleans Style."

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