Mardi Gras Grub


Chef Lesli from Harmons joined Midday with recipes to help you celebrate Mardi Gras.

Jambalaya with Chicken and Spicy Sausage
From Chef Lesli Sommerdorf for Harmons

Serves 6


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (4-lb) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 lb andouille sausage or spicy kielbasa, sliced ½” thick
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 poblano chile or jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 medium celery rib, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 lb cremini mushrooms, stemmed and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups medium-grain rice, such as Arborio
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • Hot sauce, for serving

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and cook over medium- high heat, in batches if necessary, until nicely browned, about 6 minutes per side. Lower the heat to medium when cooking the second batch if the skin is getting too dark. Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.

Add the sausage to the casserole and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sausage to the platter with the chicken.

Increase the heat to high and add the onion, poblano, celery and corn to the casserole. Cook the vegetables, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, chanterelles and oregano and cook until the mushrooms are just softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until well coated and just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

Nestle the chicken and sausage in the rice and gently stir in the chicken stock, incorporating the ingredients on the bottom of the casserole. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the stock is completely absorbed, the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Spoon the rice onto a platter, top with the chicken pieces, vegetables and mushrooms and serve with hot sauce.

Hot Beignets With Chocolate Bourbon Sauce
From Chef Lesli Sommerdorf for Harmons

Serves 4-6


  • Dough
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 qt canola oil, for frying
  • Sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 5 Tbsp bourbon
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish

For the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough attachment, add the water and sprinkle yeast on top. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir with a fork. Add the sugar, salt, egg, milk, and 2 cups flour and mix on medium speed until all ingredients are fully incorporated, 5-7 minutes. Add the butter and the remaining 1-1/2 cups flour and mix until a ball of dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Working in batches, roll out the dough to 1/4″-thick rectangles, and cut into 2″ squares.

Pour the oil into a heavy bottom pot and heat to 350 degrees. Fry the beignets in batches, until they puff up and turn golden brown, flipping them halfway through the frying process, 4-5 minutes. Transfer the beignets to paper towel-lined baking sheets. Let cool, about 3 min.

For the sauce, in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, add the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally and brushing down the sides of the saucepan with a wet brush as needed, until the syrup turns golden. Gently swirl the pan and continue to simmer until the mixture turns a deep amber caramel color.

Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the heavy cream and bourbon, whisking constantly. The mixture will rise and bubble up while you add the liquid. Add the chopped chocolate and vanilla, and stir until melted. Serve with the beignets.

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