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Mar 18, 2008 03:28 PM

NOLA party in Wisc. - One more dish (CH, please leave in NOLA board)


You're all eaters of New Orleans. As such, would like your opinion.

We need one more dish to round out our offerings for an open house through which we move about 70 to 80 people.

It needs to be something that will hold well in a steamtray over time.

The current menu is:
Red beans and rice
Gumbo (Turkey/andouille)
Shrimp and corn chowder
40 pound crawfish boil (we don't do the corn and taters, sorry)
Bread pudding two ways - Traditional and cranberry as a nod to Wisc.
King cake (yes, homemade)
Hurricanes from scratch

We're adventureous cooks so please "bring it". If you have a recipe, great. If not, I can probably find it.

(If anyone has a suggestion from Chef Folse's "Encyclopedia", I'd love it. When the Post Office gets its act together, my order from Octavia Books should deliver any day.)

Thank you in advance. And thank you, Chowhound, for leaving this non-restaurant, but purely NOLA, post on this board. I really appreciate it.

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  1. We were at a large catered party in NO this past weekend and one of the items was shrimp cheesecake - it was to die for. We also had shrimp creole over cornbread which held up well, IMO. Williams Sonoma catalog has a yummy looking recipe for muffaletas which you could premake and serve on large platters. Sounds like a fun party!

    1 Reply
    1. re: sillysully

      Wow, SS,

      You're reading our minds.

      Did a shrimp/andouille cheesecake two years ago, but it didn't "sell". It was very dense and I think the chef (me) should have whipped more air into the batter.

      My wife is really thinking about shrimp creole and our local Italian deli is very proud of their house-made olive salad.

      Keep 'em coming, gang!

    2. This guy is a great cook. Maybe you can get some ideas here.

      Maque choux would keep in a steamer as will stewed okra & tomatoes. See if you can get some French bread too. Your menu choices already sound wonderful to me.

      5 Replies
      1. re: mrsfury


        Thanks, I had forgotten about that site.

        What does everyone think about maque choux using canned or frozen corn? The fresh stuff is a ways off. It's a great idea since we'll be working up QUARTS of trinity.

        Though we can't get good andouille (I scratch-make my own) here in Wisc, there's a decent tasso at a German sausage house.

        I like the Okra/tomato idea, but sourcing okra will be a challenge.

        You've got the right of it, though. We need some veggies in the menu!

        1. re: Monch

          Frozen corn would be my choice over canned. Frozen okra (sauteed to remove the slime) would be just fine too. As long as your seasoning is right, IMO it does not matter if you're using frozen veggies. Tasso or chaurice would be good sausage choices. Oh there's also the gumbo pages website. Good stuff on there. Have fun with this project!

          1. re: mrsfury


            We are leading parallel lives. Our hurricane recipe, and the recipe for the andouille, already come from gumbopages! (My personal Sazerac is based on Taggert's recommendations, also!)

            Thank you. My wife's excited about making it.

            The whole project is an effort...but the food is a labor of love.

          2. re: Monch

            Hey fellow Wisconsinite may I invite myself to your party? When we can't be in New Orleans we order sausages from Poches. The shipping is very reasonable. Here's the website:

            Have a great party!!

            1. re: sueinwis

              Beautiful, Sue.

              Great lead on the sausage. Early on, in our Creole cooking career, we became frustrated with our inability to source andouille.

              We've been hand-making it now for several years...even upgraded to a digital electric smokehouse this year!

              I will keep this link (no pun intended) in my back pocket, though!

        2. I'd vote for grits and grillades, the eternal Carnival Queen's Supper buffet item. It is basic enough but don;t try to improve on it with mustard or kiwi fruit or some oof the other "cutting edge innovations" that have ruined my nights over the years. Keep is simple. Make certain the tomatoes are peeled, seeded as best you can. Despite some TV cooks' comments, the meat MUST be pounded and never cubed. Use half beef stock and half red wine for the liquid. I do not recommend cheese grits as the cheese repels absorption of the gravy.

          Shrimp creole is always good. The NOLA Jr League Plantation Cookbook is far and away the best recipe. I have literally been at a dozen parties in the last thirty years where many of us take one bite and look knowingly at each other: "Plantation cookbook!" we say, and we are right. Their grillades recipe is good too. Use beef instead of veal for large parties.

          19 Replies
          1. re: hazelhurst

            Grits-n-grillades is a great idea. What about some appetizer-type food? I was thinking of homemade cocktail-size meat pies (check the Cane River Cuisine cookbook for the definitive recipe). They're as good baked as fried, and you can make the pies ahead, freeze, and cook just before serving. The typical LA meat pie has a filling made with half ground pork, half ground beef, beaucoup green onions & garlic, and a healthy dose of red & black pepper, wrapped in a short-crust dough (made from self-rising flour).

            Or how about miniature crawfish pies...I won't tell if you don't make the crusts from scratch. Buy prefab tart shells and just make a filling. Again, these can be frozen & baked a la minute.

            1. re: hazelhurst

              this is my go-to grits and grillades recipe. it's fantastic. it's adapted (very slightly) from one of the river road recipes books:

              Grits and Grillades

              2-3 lbs. sirloin tip or beef round, in small 1/4-1/2" thick pieces
              5 T oil
              3 T flour
              3 onions, chopped
              small bunch green onions, chopped
              2 bell peppers, chopped
              4 or 5 ribs celery, chopped
              1/3 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
              2 cloves garlic (or more), chopped
              2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped
              2 cups beef stock
              1 T Worcestershire sauce (or more to taste)
              Bay leaf
              1/2 teaspoon thyme, crushed
              salt and pepper

              Trim fat from meat and brown meat in 2 T oil in a heavy 5-8 quart pot (preferably cast iron). Set aside. Warm remaining 3 T oil in pot. Add flour and stir continually for several minutes to make a dark roux. Add onions, green onions, bell peppers, celery, parsley, garlic. Sauté over medium heat until onions limp and transparent, about 6-8 minutes. Add meat and remaining ingredients (tomatoes, stock, Worcestershire, bay leaf, thyme). Stir. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2.5-3 hours, adding salt and pepper to taste and water as necessary for desired thickness. Spoon over hot, buttered grits.

              1. re: Shiloh

                My method is slightly different....I pound the hell out of the meat, then sprinkle with flour seasoned w/salt, black & red pepper, and a little dried thyme. Brown well, remove from the skillet, then brown the onions to a nice brown (past golden, but not quite dark brown). Then add the green pepper, celery, garlic and saute until soft. Return the meat to the pot w/ the tomatoes (I use fresh), equal parts beef stock, red wine, a bunch of fresh thyme tied together, two bay leaves, and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Bring to a simmer, stirring & scraping the bottom of the pot. Cover & turn heat to low...cook until fork-tender. I don't add salt until the end, as the wine & beef stock usually provide plenty of sodium. Once the beef is tender, you can remove the lid & cook to reduce the pan juices, if it seems too thin.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  That's just about the same way I do mine except I ususually wipe out the pot after browning the meat becuase the flour often burns. I also add white pepper and reserve some of the meat to add about halfway through since some of the thin stuff cooks into the gravy.

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                    i'll have to try it out that way. sounds good, and looks to be a much quicker method. i suppose pounding the meat thin affords the tenderness that i get from simmering for so long. i like the addition of the wine. any particular reason for no tomato? personal preference? or do the wine and vinegar compensate, acidity wise?

                    1. re: Shiloh

                      Read it again--she is putting in tomatoes. It's not grillades without them....

                        1. re: Shiloh

                          Thank you all!

                          I'm going to try to work out the grillades and grits recipe this weekend.

                          I've also, already, ordered a copy of the Plantation Cookbook from the NOLA Junior League.

                          I'm still open to other ideas.

                          Can't use them all at this party, but it's the Seventh Annual (not counting the post-K Red Cross benefit party) and there will be many years to come!

                          1. re: Monch

                            Have you considered souffle potatoes? It's not the easiest thing in the world to pull off, because it requires frying the thinly sliced spuds twice, but it's spectacularly good.

                            Also, if you're looking for a good New Orleans cookbook, give this a shot:

                            1. re: Robert Peyton


                              I've ALREADY ordered the Plantation Junior League book today.

                              My wife's going to NOLA next month for a conference...I'm sending her with a laundry list and fistful of cash to get me all the cookbooks I need!

                              1. re: Monch

                                I love the Grits and Grillades idea, just an idea... I use boursin cheese (one tube per batch of grits) added to my grits, it does not repel the gravy of the grillades, and tastes fierce!! I also use pounded veal for the grillades. (pound super thin)

                                1. re: nolalawyer

                                  It's possible to get away with cheese you suggest the type is iimportant, but grits on a steam table are going to "set up" after awhile & it just seems that they'd need help. Certainly you would not use ordinary rubber cheese--although Kraft's jalepeno wsa essential for spinach Madeleine--trying to use really good cheese with that is an afffront to every child of the 1950's and 60's--but boursin would work OK, and especially if you made garlic cheese grits. But some something as described I'd strick to the basics, myself.

                                  1. re: hazelhurst


                                    Thanks for the advice. The party's tomorrow. The crawfish are on their way.

                                    We settled on maque choux as the "new" dish.

                                    I'm going to keep the grillades and grits in my back pocket for next year. In the mean time, I have to try out some of the tips you've provided.

                                    Thanks again.

                                  2. re: nolalawyer

                                    Goat cheese also makes a nice addition to the grits.

                                    1. re: JazzyB


                                      This "self-bump" is coming as the annual party rolls around again next weekend.

                                      The menu, in the original post, remains the same. My wife has primary authority over the menu, as she is the primary cook.

                                      To the menu, she's adding macque choux and crawfish ettouffee.

                                      My concern is a steam-tray based ettouffee, especially made with the frozen tail meat she intends to use. Won't it become thin? Watery ettouffee has been described, here on CH, as an "affront against God and man".

                                      I'm trying to steer her to the grillades and grits (I'll make it!) and save the tailmeat for another meal.


                                      1. re: Monch

                                        what about some dirty rice:

                                        1lb pork sausage, 1 lb chicken livers, 1 cup onions, 1/2 cup each chopped celery and chopped green pepper, 4 cups cooked rice, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley.
                                        start with the sausage, then add the livers whole, and as they cook begin breaking them apart with the end of a metal spatula. Once the meat is mixed together, add the vegetables and saute until almost soft, then add the cooked rice and parsley. (I like to cook my rice in chicken stock made from rotisserie chickens)

                                        1. re: Monch

                                          Etouffee should be fairly easy but you are right---it will tend to be watery if set out for a long time. restaurants hearabouts get around that by making it with a heavy roux----they order it by the boatload from the LIbrary of Congress who uses it for library paste. It wqouod be easy to just whip up a batch and toss it out on the table for a few minutes, then whip up another batch..etouffee is all about simplicity. But, if you kust, you can make the heavy roux-type and, in truth, most people won't know the difference. even Food Critics down here have failed to note this.

                                          I hope you get teh grillades done---you'll be thanked in heaven for your service to mankind

                                          1. re: hazelhurst


                                            I am going to make the dirty rice. My wife won't cook liver in any form, so it's up to me.

                                            I'm ALSO going to make a batch of Grillades and Grits...HH, you have swayed me!

                                            Finally, I'll warn my wife to make the ettouffee VERY thick to start...she can use some of my pre-made roux, from the fridge, that she thinks is "cheating"!

                                            Any other ideas? My guests are going to eat WELL this year.

                                            1. re: Monch

                                              A quick note of thanks to all who responded to this request again this year.

                                              The party was a hit and the guests loved the food.

                                              We did decide to go away from the ettoufee.

                                              We DID do the dirty rice and grillades & grits. Big hits!

                                              You should see the look on people's faces when you tell them there are chicken livers in the dirty rice...priceless!

                                              Again, thanks all for your great advice.

                  2. I too thought of the cheesecake! I have a recipe for crawfish, andouille cheese cake but for parties instead of just having it as a cheesecake, I put the filling in puff pastry shellls. YUMMY!

                    1. Darn I just realized this is an old post.... I don't know if I can delete my post so I'm editing it to say OOPS.

                      Forgive me if this has been mentioned but how about stuffed artichokes? I boil mine for about 45 minutes with a Pyrex lid over them to weigh them down. Then I take a huge bowl with whatever stuffing mix you like (I add asiago cheese to breadcrumbs, lemon, parmesan, garlic, olive oil, a little water and your choice of spices also you can add shrimp and crab if you like) and place the choke in the bowl & put stuffing in every leaf. Then you can refrigerate or freeze. Bake for 15-20 minutes (thawed) at 450. They are so much easier to stuff after being boiled. Next time I'm going to boil them in crab boil. Stuffed artichokes are fun. Everyone has to pick at the choke. ;)