Mimi's Pancakes

Serves 6

From My Family Table

Look, it’s totally cool to have lumps in your pancake batter! If you don’t, it means you’ve mixed them too much and they’ll be a bit tough as a result.

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 eggs

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups milk

1 stick butter, melted

1 cup blueberries

Oil for the griddle

Maple syrup

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and sugar. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the eggs, milk and butter and mix together gently. There will be lumps in the batter. Add half of the blueberries.

2. Lightly oil the surface of a griddle or large skillet to medium and heat to medium. Pour ¼ cup of the batter onto the griddle. Continue to pour out pancakes, spacing them well. Cook each pancake until bubbles form on the surface, then turn over and cook for an additional minute. Keep pancakes warm on a platter in the oven.

3. Serve with maple syrup and top with remaining blueberries.

Slow-Cooked Veal Grillades and Jalapeño Cheese Grits

Serves 6-8
From My New Orleans

Grillades is a Creole version of pot roast; the meat is sliced or pounded thin, then slow-cooked in a pungent sauce. If veal shoulder isn’t available, substitute boneless, sliced Boston butts of pork. Sure, you can use a leaner cut of veal (and if you do, you’ll want to cut the cooking time down by half). But I encourage you to fi nd those cheaper cuts of meat that have much more fl avor than either the loin or the leg.


For the Veal

4pounds veal shoulder, sliced into thin cutlets
2cups flour
1teaspoon Creole seasoning
1/4cuprendered bacon fat
1large onion, small dice
1stalk celery, small dice
1/2bell pepper, small dice
2cloves garlic, minced
2cups tomatoes, diced
2cups veal stock
leaves from 1sprig thyme
1teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1bay leaf
1tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2green onions, chopped
salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste

For the Jalapeño Cheese Grits

1cup stone ground white corn grits
3tablespoons butter
2tablespoons mascarpone or cream cheese
1/4cup grated  Edam cheese
salt to taste



Season the veal cutlets with salt and black pepper and season the flour with the Creole spices. Dredge the veal in the flour and place into a large pan with the rendered bacon fat on high. Cook the cutlets on both sides until golden brown and remove from the pan, reserving each cutlet, while being careful not to overcrowd the pan.

Once all of the veal has browned add the diced onion to the pan and lower the heat to medium high. Sweat the onions until they become a deep mahogany color and add the celery, bell pepper and garlic. Continue cooking the vegetables while constantly stirring on medium for 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of the left over seasoned flour to the pan and stir so that no lumps exists. Add the tomatoes and Basic Veal Stock while stirring and raise heat to high until the liquid comes to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and add thyme, pepper flakes, bay leaf, Worcestershire and the veal cutlets back to the pan and continue simmering for 45 minutes or until the meat is fork tender. Season the grillades to taste with salt, pepper and Tabasco and serve over creamy Jalapeño Cheese Grits.


Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a sauce pot over high heat bring 4 cups of water to a boil while slowly whisking in the stone ground grits. Reduce the heat to medium low and place a cover over the grits to slowly cook for 20 minutes.

While the grits are cooking, roast the jalapeño pepper in the oven for 10 minutes so that the skin blisters and can be easily removed. Cut the pepper in half lengthwise and under cold running water remove the skin and the seeds from the pepper. Place the pepper on a cutting board and mince and add it to the pot of grits.

Remove the grits from the flame and fold in the butter, mascarpone and edam cheeses. Season with salt to taste and serve.


    Go-To Pie Dough

    Makes 2 disks (for one 9-inch pie with a top and bottom crust
    or two single-crust pies)
    From Besh Big Easy

    No pie dough has stood the test of time in our kitchens as well as this one. I am proud to pass it along, with just one caveat: do not overwork the dough! I always make enough for two crusts, freezing one disk if I don't need it right away. When I want to use the frozen dough, I just thaw it in the refrigerator over night.


    2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    2 teaspoons granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    14 tablespoons cold butter, diced, plus more for buttering the pan
    About 1/2 cup ice water


    1. Whisk togeth the fliur, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter in the flour with 2 knives until it resembles cornmeal. Sprinkle in ice water as needed (up to 8 tablespoons) to help the dough come together.

    2.Gather into two balls, press into round, flat disks, and wrap each one well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze for later use.

    Sazerac Cocktail

    Serves 1
    From My New Orleans

    It may or may not be America’s first cocktail, but it is one of my favorite drinks. Famously made in the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel (which is now home to our new Italian restaurant, Domenica), my version has Herbsaint, the anise-flavored liqueur invented in New Orleans when absinthe was banned in the 1930s.


    Herbsaint or absinthe
    Twist of lemon peel
    2 shots rye whiskey
    1 shy shot simple syrup
    4 dashes Peychaud’s or Angostura bitters


    1. Rim the glass with Herbsaint or absinthe. Twist the lemon peel to releases oils, then drop it into the glass.

    2. Pour the rye, simple syrup, and bitters into a cocktail shaker fi lled with crushed ice and shake well. Strain into the prepared glass.


    Rustic Brown Butter Fig Tart

    Serves 6
    From Besh Big Easy

    Don’t worry about browning the butter, think of it as melting the butter and then some. If you have a few specks in it from scorching slightly, add it in, it’ll just give it some character. It will be hot when you add it to the egg and flour mixture, so depending upon the temperature the tart may cook a few minutes faster or slower so keep an eye on the dough after a half hour or so.


    1  pound Basic Pie Dough
    2  pints of black mission figs, quartered or halved
    8  tablespoons butter
    3  eggs, beaten
    1  cup sugar
    1  teaspoon orange zest
    1/2  cup flour
    1  teaspoon vanilla extract
    1  pinch salt


    Preheat oven to 350°.  Prepare a tart mould or pie pan by liberally coating with butter or any vegetable baking pan spray and dust in a small amount of flour.

    Roll the dough out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick and fit it into the prepared pan and cut off any excess dough.

    Place all of the figs into the tart mould fitted with dough in a circular motion so that they are shingled and reserve.

    In a small sauce pan heat the butter over medium high heat until it begins to smell nutty and has a brownish hew, remove from the heat and reserve for later use.

    In a medium size mixing bowl and an electric hand mixer cream the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, aprox 5 minutes, before folding in by hand the zest, flour, vanilla and salt.

    Slowly stir in all of the brown butter and pour the mixture over the figs and spread evenly with a rubber spatula.

    Bake until the crust is golden brown and the custard has nearly set in the center of the pie. Approximately 35-40 minutes. Once the pie has been removed, allow it to cool on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes before removing it from the pan and serving.

    Perfect Mashed Potatoes

    Serves 10
    From My Family Table

    If you don’t already own a good old-fashioned food mill, now’s the time to go get one. Potato ricers work fine, but they take so much time to refill with potatoes, the mixture cools down to the point that it is easy to overwork the potatoes as you add the butter. A food mill makes mashed potatoes a cinch and also comes in handy when making tomato sauces.


    2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
    1 pound unsalted butter, diced


    1. Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with 2 inches of cold, salted water. Cover and bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Once the potatoes are fork tender, remove from the heat and drain into a colander.

    2. Using a potato ricer or preferably, a food mill, mash the potatoes (while hot) back into the pot. Turn the heat to medium low and gently fold the butter into the mashed potatoes. Once the butter is incorporated, serve immediately. Season with salt.


    String Beans with Garlic

    Serves 8
    From My Family Table

    I make sure to have a serving bowl ready with paper-thin sliced garlic and butter just waiting for the hot string beans to arrive. The residual heat from the beans will warm the garlic and melt the butter; all you have to do is boil the beans, toss and serve. I like to salt the water for the beans to the point where it tastes like the sea.


    1 pound very fresh string beans, ends trimmed
    2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    Freshly ground black pepper


    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the string beans. Cook for 3 minutes. Drain, then transfer the beans to a serving bowl and toss with butter and garlic and season with salt and pepper.



    Serves 8

    Since we spent time in Provence years ago, I’ve been in love with this perfect mixture of summer vegetables and it's that one dish that I’m happy to serve either hot or cold. The important thing is make sure the eggplant has cooked all the way through, to avoid an astringent aftertaste. I add the zucchini and yellow squash as late as possible to retain their crunchy texture and beautiful color.


    1/3 cup olive oil
    1 large eggplant, diced
    1 medium onion, minced
    1 bell pepper, diced
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tomatoes, chopped
    1 green zucchini, diced
    1 yellow squash, diced
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh basil, chopped


    1. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the eggplant and cook until it is soft, stirring frequently. Lower the heat to medium high and add onions and bell pepper. Cook until the onions soften then add the garlic, continuing to stir frequently.

    2. Add the tomatoes, lower the heat to medium, and cook about 10 minutes. Then add the zucchini and yellow squash and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, allowing the squash to soften. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.

    Perfect Roast of Lamb

    Serves 10-12

    Try to find lamb that is pasture-raised and hormone and antibiotic-free. It makes all the difference (to us and to them). The quality of the meat and being mindful not to overcook is the secret to perfection. We have a great farmer near Opelousas, Louisiana, who raises an old breed of sheep called Gulf Coast. Meat from his lambs is extra-fatty, which I love. As the leg of lamb roasts, I make sure to take several temperature readings in various parts of the leg to assess doneness. If you are using a boneless leg, have your butcher truss it for you, then just season it and follow the remaining steps of the recipe.


    1 6–7 pound leg of lamb, bone in
    Freshly ground black pepper
    2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
    Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh marjoram, chopped
    Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    2 carrots, peeled and chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    Zest of one lemon, or one lemon and a zester


    1. Preheat oven to 450°. Season the lamb generously with salt and black and red peppers, then massage the leg with the olive oil, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme.

    2. Scatter the chopped onions, carrots, and garlic in the bottom of a heavy-bottomed roasting pan. Set the lambon top of the vegetables. Sprinkle lemon zest over the lamb, or use a zester right over the lamb in the pan.

    3. Put the leg of lamb into the oven, reduce the temperature to 250°, and roast for an hour or so until the roast registers an internal temperature of 135° on a meat thermometer.

    4. Ratatouille would be wonderful with the lamb, along with Sweet Corn Pudding.


    Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp

    Serves 6
    From Food Republic's, "Make John Besh’s Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp"

    Growing up, we’d go to these little joints all around New Orleans that had great stuffed shrimp. But the dish has changed so much. Now it’s all premade, pre-stuffed, and fried. I still make stuffed shrimp the way I remember them. I love the presentation: Head-on jumbo shrimp are stuffed with more shrimp and crabmeat piled as high as the shrimp will allow


    2 tablespoons butter
    1 shallot, minced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 stalk celery, minced
    2 tablespoons flour
    1/2 pound medium wild American shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
    1/2 pound crabmeat
    1 green onion, minced
    1/2 cup Shrimp Stock or water
    1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
    1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
     Salt and pepper
    1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1 teaspoon fresh thyme
    18 jumbo wild American shrimp, peeled with heads and tails on


    For the shrimp

    Preheat the oven to 425°. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and celery and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and stir until mixed into the vegetables. You’re making a blond roux. Add the chopped medium shrimp, crabmeat, and green onion. Slowly add the stock, stirring until sauce thickens; remove from the heat. Add the fresh bread crumbs, pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Set the stuffing aside.

    Mix together the dried bread crumbs, Parmesan, oil, and thyme in a small bowl until the oil moistens the mixture. Set the topping aside.

    With a small knife, butterfly the jumbo shrimp by making a deep incision down the back of each. Remove the vein, keeping the head and tail intact. Smear some olive oil all over the shrimp with your hands. Salt and pepper well and transfer to a baking pan, open side up.

    Generously fill each jumbo shrimp with stuffing and top with the bread crumb topping. Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes.


    Shrimp and Andouille Over Grits

    Serves 6
    From House Beautiful December 2015/January 2016 Issue

    This is one of the most satisfying shrimp dishes. You needn't cook the shrimp long; make them in batches and be sure to keep a close eye on them so they don't overcook.~John Besh


    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup white stone- ground organic grits
    2 tablespoons butter
    1⁄2 cup mascarpone cheese


    2 tablespoons olive oil
    36 jumbo Louisiana or other wild American shrimp, peeled
    Basic Creole Spices (recipe below)
    1⁄3 cup sliced andouille sausage
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 shallot, minced
    2 piquillo peppers (roasted red Spanish peppers in a jar) 
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
    2 cups Basic Shrimp Stock (recipe below)
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    2 cups canned diced tomatoes
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
    1⁄2 cup fresh chervil sprigs


    1. For the grits, bring 4 cups water with the salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Slowly stir in the grits, then reduce the heat to low; stir constantly to make sure the grits don't stick to the bottom. Simmer until all the water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in the butter and mascarpone. Remove the grits from the heat and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to keep a crust from forming.

    2. For the shrimp, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Season the shrimp with Creole Spices and salt and sauté them in batches until they begin to brown but are not yet cooked all the way through; set aside.

    3. In the same skillet, sauté the andouille, garlic, shallot, peppers, and thyme until they become aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add the Shrimp Stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in the butter and reduce the sauce until it's nice and thick, 3–5 minutes.

    4. Return the shrimp to the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, tomatoes, and chives.

    5. Spoon a heaping 1⁄4 cup of grits into the center of each of 6 large bowls. Arrange 6 shrimp in each bowl, spoon sauce around them, and garnish with chervil.

    BASIC CREOLE SPICES- Makes 1/2 cup
    "Using the following spice blend is truly the easiest way to consistently achieve the flavors I grew up with. Once made, the spices will last for six months in an airtight container. "

    2 tablespoons celery salt
    1 tablespoon sweet paprika
    1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
    1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    1 tablespoon onion powder
    2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    ½  teaspoon ground allspice

    Directions: Mix together the celery salt, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and allspice in a bowl. Transfer the spices to a clean container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and store.

    BASIC SHRIMP STOCK-Makes 6 cups

    ¼ cup canola oil
    1 onion, coarsely chopped
    1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
    1 carrot, coarsely chopped
    1 leek, white part, coarsely chopped
    4 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 pound shrimp shells
    1 bay leaf
    1 sprig fresh thyme
    1 teaspoon black peppercorns


    1. Heat the canola oil in a large pot over moderate heat. Cook the onion, celery, carrot, leek, and garlic, stirring often, until they are soft but not brown, about 3 minutes.

    2. Add the shrimp shells, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, and 3 quarts of water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the surface, until the stock has reduced by half, about 2 hours.

    3. Strain through a fine sieve into a container with a cover. Allow the stock to cool, cover and refrigerate, then skim off the fat. Freeze the stock in small batches to use later. 


    Serves 6

    On almost any night, we love nothing more than a big, hot bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup—pho. Don’t worry about the number of ingredients in this recipe. Pho is nothing more than a flavorful broth often perfumed with star anise. Since that’s not easy to find, we use Chinese five-spice powder (which has star anise in it). As for the chili paste and hoisin sauce, the Essential Pantry (page 8) is incomplete without these key ingredients.



    1 tablespoon sesame oil

    4 green onions, chopped

    2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

    2 cloves garlic, sliced

    2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder

    3 quarts chicken broth


    Freshly ground black pepper

    1/2 pound rice vermicelli noodles, cooked

    1 pound sliced cooked meat, such as from

    Braised Veal Brisket (page 69)

    Leaves from 1 bunch fresh cilantro

    Leaves from 1 bunch fresh basil

    2 limes, quartered

    2 handfuls bean sprouts

    Hoisin sauce

    Sambal chili paste


    1. Heat the sesame oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, ginger, garlic, and five-spice powder and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low. Taste and season with salt and pepper and cover the pot.


    2. Divide the cooked rice noodles among 6 soup bowls. Over each bowl of noodles, scatter equal portions of sliced meat, then pour the hot broth over the noodles so that the meat is barely covered.


    3. In the center of the table put plates of the fresh herbs, lime quarters, and bean sprouts. Each person can add his own fresh herbs and bean sprouts to the soup. Squeeze lime over the top, season with hoisin and chili, stir well, and start slurping.


    —From My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking by John Besh/Andrews McMeel Publishing

    Fennel Soup with Crab & Pistou

    Serves 6
    By: John Besh

    I serve this light, creamy soup cold over a little crabmeat salad. At home, I use lump blue crabmeat.

    For the Soup:
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 leek, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, sliced
    1 large fennel bulb, chopped
    1 large yellow potato, peeled and chopped
    1 bay leaf
    5 cups chicken stock
    1/2 cup cream
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 medium tomato, peeled and diced
    2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
    4 ounces lump jumbo blue crabmeat
    Fresh basil sprigs

    For the Pistou:
    Handful fresh basil leaves
    1/4 cup olive oil
    3 cloves garlic, peeled
    Pinch of grated Parmesan cheese

    Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, garlic, fennel and potatoes, and cook until the leeks and fennel are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaf, chicken stock and cream, and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Toss the tomatoes in a medium bowl with the sherry vinegar and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

    To make the Pistou, purée the basil, olive oil, and garlic in a blender, then stir in the Parmesan.

    Divide the tomatoes, crab, and basil sprigs among 6 soup bowls and ladle in the soup. Drizzle each bowl with the Pistou.


    Basic Corn Bread

    Makes one 9-inch round loaf

    Most self-respecting Southerners wouldn’t admit to adding sugar to corn bread, but it’s both acceptable and good in New Orleans. Grand-daddy never put sugar in his, but I find that I can omit the sugar and still have it taste right only when I use a fine-ground white organic cornmeal such as that milled by my friends at McEwen’s in Wilsonville, Alabama. Make sure the skillet is so hot that the batter begins to fry when you pour it into the pan. And don’t fret about the calories. Corn bread is about love – you can diet tomorrow.

    3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
    1 cup white cornmeal, organic if possible
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 tablespoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 pinch cayenne pepper
    2 eggs
    1 1/4 cups milk
    2 tablespoons butter, melted

    Put the bacon fat into medium (about 9-inch-diameter) cast iron skillet. Put the skillet into the oven and preheat oven to 425°.

    Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cayenne in a large mixing bowl.

    Put the eggs, milk, and melted butter into a small bowl and mix well.

    Pour the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture, stirring until just combined.

    Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and pour the batter into the skillet. Return the skillet to the oven and bake the corn bread until it is a deep, golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately. 


    Serves 6–8
    By: Chef John Besh

    I want you to use whatever kind of tomato you can find that’s locally grown. I grew up eating our sweet Creole tomatoes but, nowadays, I use what ever we have on our farm. Medium or large, red, yellow or orange, it makes no difference as long as they’re fresh and flavorful.

    6 medium tomatoes
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
    2 cloves garlic, peeled
    2 sprigs basil
    2 pinches salt
    1/2 cup bread crumbs, dry
    3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

    Preheat oven to 350°. Cut the tomatoes in half width-wise and remove the core. Place in a casserole dish, cut side up, generously sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

    In a food processor or blender, add the 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, basil, salt, bread crumbs and Parmesan, and process for about 1 minute. The mixture should have a wet, crumbly consistency.

    Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture onto the tomato tops. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top is browned and the tomato is warmed through.


    Crown Roast of Pork With Dirty Rice Dressing

    Serves 8
    By: Chef John Besh

    A crown roast is a spectacular centerpiece for a large buffet spread. It's also pretty impressive when brought to a holiday table on a large platter. It is made with two racks of lamb, veal, or pork, tied together to form a circle. Ask your butcher to prepare and tie the pork racks for you, planning on one rib per person. Then, assemble the stuffing, bake, and serve it forth! I just love rice dressing (“stuffing” to some of you) as it so reminds me of my childhood, its flavor reminiscent of our boudin sausages. As the pork roast renders and browns, the dressing will absorb all of its wonderful flavors.

    For the dressing:
    1 pound fresh pork sausage, casings removed
    1 pound andouille sausage, chopped
    1/4 cup bacon drippings
    1 onion, minced
    1/2 cup chicken livers, chopped
    1 stalk celery, minced
    4 green onions, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
    1 teaspoon pimentón
    4 cups chicken broth
    Freshly ground black pepper

    For the crown roast:
    1 pork crown roast, tied
    2 tablespoons butter, softened
    Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
    Freshly ground pepper

    Preheat the oven to 375°. For the dressing, brown the pork sausage and andouille sausage in the bacon drippings in a heavy skillet over high heat, stirring constantly. Once the sausage meat has browned, add the onions and continue stirring for another 3-5 minutes, then add the chicken livers. Make sure the livers have a chance to cook for a minute or two. Then add the celery, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, and pepper flakes and cook until soft.

    Add the rice and pimentón and stir well so that the grains of rices are coated with the fat. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

    For the crown roast, rub the roast inside and out with soft butter and season generously with thyme, salt and pepper. Place the roast in a deep roasting pan and fill the center with the rice dressing. Wrap the ends of each rib bone with foil to prevent burning. Secure with butcher's string. Cook for 1 hour, or until the pork roast reaches 145° on a meat thermometer and is a deep, honey brown.

    Remove the string from the roast, slice, and serve one chop per person along with some succulent dressing.


    Serving: 10

    By: Chef John Besh

    I’m a seafood gumbo snob! I look for two things: the first is a deep shellfish flavor, which I accomplish by allowing quartered crabs to cook for at least 45 minutes before I even think of adding any other seafood. Second, I’m looking for the seafood—shrimp, crabmeat, and oysters—to be perfectly tender (not overcooked) precisely as the gumbo is served. So plan ahead, and add the seafood accordingly.

    For the Gumbo:
    1 cup canola oil
    1 cup flour
    2 large onions, diced
    6 jumbo blue crabs, each cut into 4 pieces
    1 pound spicy smoked sausage links, sliced 1/2 inch thick
    1 stalk celery, diced
    1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 cup fresh okra, sliced
    Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
    3 quarts Basic Shellfish Stock
    2 bay leaves
    1 pound medium Louisiana or wild American shrimp
    1 cup shucked oysters
    1 cup lump crabmeat
    1 cup minced green onions
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Basic Creole Spices
    4–6 cups Basic Louisiana White Rice, cooked

    Basic Creole Spices:
    2 tablespoons celery salt
    1 tablespoon sweet paprika
    1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
    1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    1 tablespoon onion powder
    2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

    Basic Shellfish Stock:
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1 onion, coarsely chopped
    1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
    1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
    1 leek, white part, coarsely chopped
    4 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 pound shrimp shells
    1 bay leaf
    1 sprig fresh thyme
    1 teaspoon black peppercorns

    Basic Louisiana White Rice:
    1 tablespoon chicken fat, extra-virgin olive oil, or butter
    1 small onion, minced
    1 ½ cups Louisiana long-grain white rice
    3 cups Basic Chicken Stock
    1 bay leaf
    1-2 pinches salt

    Make a roux by heating the oil in a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil. It will immediately begin to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate and continue whisking until the roux takes on a deep brown color, about 15 minutes. Add the onions, stirring them into the roux with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the roux is a rich, dark brown, about 10 minutes.

    Add the blue crabs and smoked sausage and stir for a minute before adding the celery, bell peppers, garlic, and okra. Increase the heat to moderate and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add the thyme, Shellfish Stock, and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and skim off any fat from the surface of the gumbo.

    Add the shrimp, oysters, crabmeat, and green onions to the pot and cook for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, Creole Spices, Worcestershire, and Tabasco. Serve in bowls over rice.

    Makes ½ cup

    Using this spice blend is truly the easiest way to consistently achieve the flavors I grew up with. Once combined, the spices will last for six months in an airtight container.

    Makes 6 cups

    Heat the canola oil in a large pot over moderate heat. Cook the onions, celery, carrots, leeks, and garlic, stirring often, until they are soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. 

    Add the shrimp shells, the bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, and 3 quarts water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the surface, until the stock has reduced by half, about 2 hours. 

    Strain through a fine sieve into a container with a cover. Allow the stock to cool, cover and refrigerate, then skim off the fat. Freeze the stock in small batches to use later.

    Makes about 4 Cups

    The recipe will work with most long-grain rices, including Popcorn Rice. Save some of the fat skimmed from your chicken stock to perfume the rice with many wonderful flavors.

    Put the fat, oil, or butter and the onions into a medium saucepan and sweat the onions over moderate heat until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour the rice into the pan and stir for 2 minutes. Then add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf and salt.

    Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.



    SERVING: 4-6
    By: Chef John Besh

    We use this recipe with many meats, such as squab or venison. Be sure not to cook the duck beyond medium rare; it tends to be dry. Don’t cook the duck skewers in advance; have them ready for the grill, and cook when you’re about to serve.

    From "My New Orleans: The Cookbook," by John Besh / Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC

    1/4 cup sugarcane vinegar or balsamic vinegar
    2 teaspoons sugar
    2 shallots, minced
    3/4 cup canola oil
    3 tablespoons pecan oil
    Freshly ground black pepper
    2 whole boneless, skinless mallard or Pekin duck breasts, sliced across the breast into strips about 1/2 inch thick
    6–9 strips of thick-cut bacon, cut in half crosswise
    3 pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced lengthwise
    12 6-inch wooden skewers, soaked in water

    Whisk the vinegar, sugar, and shallots together in a large bowl; gradually add the oils, whisking constantly. Season the marinade with salt and pepper. Add the strips of duck to the bowl and marinate for 30 minutes.

    Lay a piece of bacon out on a work surface. Place a strip of duck on top of (and perpendicular to) the bacon and a piece of jalapeño on top of the duck. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap the bacon around the duck and jalapeño and slide a wooden skewer through to secure the roll. Repeat the process with the remaining bacon, duck, and jalapeños, seasoning each with salt and pepper. Discard the marinade.

    Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Meanwhile, wrap the ends of the skewers with aluminum foil to protect them from burning while on the grill.

    Grill the duck skewers until the bacon crisps and has rendered its fat, and the duck is medium, 5–7 minutes.



    Recipe Servings: 8

    The basic method of making risotto will never change: you cool the rice slowly and add broth gradually, so the starchy inside of the rice kernel expands as the outside layer dissolves into creaminess. Risotto feeds the soul and can take a whole range of flavors. I like the pumpkin risotto here, but try a shrimp risotto using shellfish broth, adding a pound of peeled shrimp at the last minute and letting them cool no more than five minutes. Or try a green risotto, with a bunch of watercress or a few handfuls of spinach, chopped fine, or a mushroom risotto with a pound of sliced fresh mushrooms added to the dried porcini mushrooms.

    Keep in mind that there's a lot of bad risotto out there, usually because folks overcook it or add too much wine. But if you do have some white wine open, add a splash or two to the rice and onions, just before you ladle the broth. It gives another dimension to the flavor.


    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 onion, diced
    2 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and diced
    2 cups arborio rice
    6 cups chicken broth, heated
    Leaves 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
    A few dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
    2 tbsp butter
    1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
    freshly ground black pepper



    Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat and sweat the onions until soft. Add the pumpkin and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the rice, stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure each kernel is coated with oil.

    Add 3 cups of the hot chicken broth, the rosemary, and porcini mushrooms to the rice. Bring slowly to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. As the broth is absorbed, add more broth and stir often.

    Cook the rice until it is slightly al dente and most of the broth has been absorbed. The rice should be creamy and porridge-like. This should take about 18 minutes. Finish the risotto by stirring in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper before serving.



    Serving: 6
    By: Chef John Besh

    "Be careful not to overcook the mushrooms; just heating them up will soften them considerably. Then toss them in the sherry vinaigrette. Use whatever wild mushrooms you can find, but nothing beats the woodsy, peppery aroma of dainty chanterelles."

    From My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh / Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC6

    Semi-boneless bobwhite quail
    Freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons Basic Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette (see below)
    4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 shallot, minced
    1 clove garlic, minced
    2 cups small chanterelle mushrooms
    2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
    2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
    1 teaspoon sugar
    Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
    1 handful chives, minced
    2 cups bitter greens or other tiny lettuce leaves

    For the Basic Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette:
    1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    1/2 cup red wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon sambal chile paste
    1-1/2 cups canola oil

    For the Quail:
    Season the quail with salt and pepper and brush on all sides with the Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette. Let marinate for 20 minutes or so. Light a charcoal or gas grill. When the coals have burned down to a moderate heat, grill the quail on both sides until brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from the grill and set aside.

    Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium pan over moderate heat. Cook the shallots and garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chanterelles and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and transfer the chanterelles to a mixing bowl.

    Add the sherry vinegar, the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, hazelnut oil, sugar, thyme, and chives to the bowl; toss together until well mixed. Season with salt and pepper.

    Use a slotted spoon to scoop up the chanterelles from the bowl and divide equally between 6 salad plates. Place 1 grilled quail on each plate.

    Add the greens to the same mixing bowl and toss to coat in the sherry vinaigrette remaining in the bowl. Divide the greens between the plates.

    For the Vinaigrette:
    Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.