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RECIPES: Mardi Gras Celebration

Posted: March 3, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Cajun Jambalaya

Mardi Gras King Cake

2 (.25 oz) packages active dry yeast

2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees)

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Frosting:

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1 tbsp water

Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.

Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

Cook's Note: Make sure to buy a new small plastic baby so you can get the full effect from this cake! Sprinkle with purple, green and gold sugar, or decorate with whole pecans and candied cherries. Note: Be sure to tell everyone to inspect their piece of cake before they begin eating it. To be extra careful, use a plastic toy baby that is too large to swallow, or hide an orange wedge or 3-4 pecan halves inside the cake (avoid items that may hurt someone's teeth) and then simply place the honorable toy baby outside on the top of the cake for all to see and adore.

-- Jo LeBlanc

Louisiana Red Beans & Rice

1 lb. dry kidney beans

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 tbsp minced garlic

2 stalks celery, chopped

6 cups water

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried sage

1 tbsp dried parsley

1 tsp Cajun seasoning

1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced

4 cups water

2 cups long grain white rice

Rinse beans, and then soak in a large pot of water overnight.

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, bell pepper, garlic, and celery in olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes.

Rinse beans, and transfer to a large pot with 6 cups water. Stir cooked vegetables into beans. Season with bay leaves, cayenne pepper, thyme, sage, parsley, and Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

Stir sausage into beans, and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the rice. In a saucepan, bring water and rice to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve beans over steamed white rice.

-- Georgie Hamilton

Cajun Jambalaya

2 tbsp peanut oil, divided

1 tbsp Cajun seasoning

10 oz. andouille sausage, sliced into rounds

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 onion, diced

1 small green bell pepper, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (16 oz.) can crushed Italian tomatoes

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp file powder

1 1/4 cups uncooked white rice

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a large heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the sausage and chicken pieces with Cajun seasoning. Saute sausage until browned. Remove with slotted spoon, and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil, and saute chicken pieces until lightly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

In the same pot, saute onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic until tender. Stir in crushed tomatoes, and season with red pepper, black pepper, salt, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce and file powder. Stir in chicken and sausage. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

-- Terri Cummings

NAN Dining Guide Spotlight on 03/03/2017

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