Mardi Gras foods

Gumbo Ya Ya from Celebrate Magazine
Makes 8 to 10 servings

 2 tablespoons olive oil
 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
 3 tablespoons Creole seasoning, divided
 11/2 cups vegetable oil
 11/2 cups all-purpose flour
 2 pounds andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
 2 cups chopped yellow onion
 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
 1 cup chopped celery
 10 cups low-sodium chicken stock*
 1 teaspoon salt
 3 bay leaves
 1/4 cup chopped green onion
 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
 1 tablespoon filé powder
 1 tablespoon hot chopped pepper sauce
Hot cooked rice
Garnish: sliced green onion, chopped parsley
In a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning. Cook, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned.Remove chicken to a bowl; cover, and refrigerate.
In same pan, combine vegetable oil and flour. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, whisking constantly, until flour mixture turns dark brown. Add sausage, onion, bell peppers, and celery, stirring to mix well. Add chicken stock, remaining 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning, salt, and bay leaves, stirring until well combined. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 11/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add chicken; cook for 15 minutes, or until chicken is heated through.
Remove from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes. Skim surface to remove any fat. Stir in green onion, parsley, filé powder, and hot pepper. Remove and discard bay leaves. Serve gumbo with hot cooked rice. Garnish with green onion and parsley, if desired.

*For testing purposes, we used Swanson cooking stock.

King Cake from Taste of the South
Makes 20 to 24 servings

 2 (1-pound) loaves frozen yeast dough, thawed
 1/4 cup butter, melted and divided
 1 cup finely chopped pecans
 1/3 cup sugar
 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
 11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
 1 cup confectioners' sugar
 2 tablespoons milk
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Gold, green, and purple sanding sugar

Lightly grease a baking sheet.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each loaf of bread dough into a 12x8-inch rectangle. Brush each rectangle with about 11/2 tablespoons melted butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border. In a small bowl, combine pecans, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle half of pecan mixture on top of butter on dough rectangle; repeat procedure with remaining pecan mixture and dough rectangle. Starting with long end, roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, pinching seam to seal. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet, forming dough roll into a half circle. Repeat with second roll. Bring ends of rolls together to form a circle or oval ring. Pinch the dough together at the ends to seal. Brush top of dough with remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Loosely cover, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, for 1 to 11/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack, and cool completely.
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread frosting on top of cake, and sprinkle with colored sugar.

Reprinted with permission from Hoffman Media, Taste of the South, and Celebrate.

Supereasy King Cake
Adapted from Froggy Bottom, a cookbook by Faye Brydels and Donna Jenkins
Yield: 10 servings
Preparation: 10 minutes
Bake: 15 minutes

1 (17.5-ounce) can refrigerated
cinnamon rolls with icing, such as Pillsbury Grands!
Colored sugar in green, yellow, and purple (See page 82.)

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
2. Unroll 3 cinnamon rolls into long strips. Carefully fold each strip in half. Twist each strip a couple of times. Place twisted rolls in prepared cake pan to form a circle.
3. Repeat using 2 remaining rolls, placing 2nd circle of dough inside 1st circle of dough and leaving a hole in the center.
4. Bake until golden, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Spread icing from cinnamon rolls over king cake. Sprinkle with desired amount of colored sugar.

Reprinted with permission from Hoffman Media and Taste of the South and Celebrate magazines and
*Easy King Cake recipe adapted from the Froggy Bottom Cookbook ( by Faye Brydels and Donna Jenkins.

Good Day Cooking - February 5, 2009