My husband is a Stuttgart native, but chose to attend Louisiana State University for undergrad. While in Baton Rouge, he was exposed to the best Louisiana had to offer…including New Orleans and Mardi Gras.
My first experience with New Orleans was with my husband as my tour guide. We had been dating a couple of months and his love for the city transferred to me.
There is no place like it. From the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, the Garden District, the Mississippi River, the sites, the smells, the beverages, the parades, the festivals, the music, the people, and…the food!
I often imagine the days before the roads and bridges were built and how New Orleans seemed a world away, only accessible by River. And still, there’s nothing on earth like it.
Even though we aren’t in New Orleans for the festivities, we decorate our home with splashes of Mardi Gras flair. You don’t need much to feel like you are there. Just throw some colorful beads over things haphazardly around your house…indoors or out.
To add to our Mardi Gras enthusiasm, my husband prepares great gumbo and étouffée throughout the season making our home smell delicious.
Many years ago, a good friend of mine gave me the Breakfast at Brennan’s and Dinner, Too cookbook as a thank you gift for dog sitting. We cherish this cookbook and are heartbroken Brennan’s is no longer open. (Brennan’s closing last year is a long story, but you can read more about it here.)
Our favorite recipe from that cookbook is our adaptation of Crawfish Samantha, which we have now named Butter Soup.
My husband recalls the first time we prepared Crawfish Samantha, “We ended up nicknaming the dish Butter Soup, because we either accidentally added too much butter or decided it needed more about hallway through preparing. The latter was more than likely the case because you love butter.” And I do.
The additional butter is only the beginning of the changes we made. Just as rules are made to be broken, recipes are made to be altered, right?
Brennan’s Crawfish Samantha notes shrimp can be substituted, but we use both and double the recipe. After all, it is so good, you know.
If you are looking for something other than the standard gumbo or étouffée for a Mardi Gras dinner or party, Mardi Gras Butter Soup is a great option.
If your crawfish or shrimp are frozen, begin thawing them and then remove the shells and tails. Save these shells and tails in a freezer bag for some other time when you want to make seafood stock (or in our case, want to open your freezer to find years of shrimp shells and tails stockpiled for that time you are going to make seafood stock and never do).
The list of ingredients is relatively short, but several items require chopping and slicing. My husband finds this chopping and slicing task very zen-like so I say, “be one with your sweet knife skills, grasshopper”.
- 2 sticks butter (the real stuff. If you use anything else and tell me…I’ll judge you)
- 1 cup chopped white onion
- 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 8 cloves or more garlic, finely chopped or pressed
- 3/4 pound andouille sausage, sliced
- 3/4 pound smoked sausage, sliced
- 1-2 pounds crawfish tails, blanched
- 1-2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup scallions 2 tbsp parsley chopped fresh
- 1 cup white wine
- 3-4 cups white or brown rice, cooked separately and set aside
- Melt butter in a large skillet and sauté the onion for a few minutes. Add the sliced mushroom, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Mix in the andouille, smoked sausage, crawfish, shrimp and scallions and sauté 5-6 more minutes. Add the parsley and white wine. Reduce the heat and simmer briefly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. And, of course, add more butter if needed.
- Mound 1/2 cup rice on plates and generously top each plate with the butter soup mixture and serve.
- If you are fresh out of rice (which would be sad in this rice-growing state), you could enjoy Mardi Gras Butter Soup by itself, over french bread or on pasta.
- For the final dish, present it any way you like, but if company is coming over, throw some NOLA at them.
- Bon Appétit!
- P.S. Mardi Gras Butter Soup is even better as a leftover.
- Delta Moxie
In 2007, Kellee Mayfield and her family moved to Lake Village. Kellee was quickly given the nicknamed “Kelly Jo” and the name stuck. As an Oklahoma native, Kelly Jo writes about living in very southeast Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta which has been penned the most Southern place on earth. She also shares her art as well as the art of resourcefulness as being the key to really small town living. Kellee is a mother, wife and contract clinical specialist for a medical device company. And she has a southern drawl. Catch up with Kellee Jo at Delta Moxie.
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