We’ve teamed up with Zatarain’s® Smoked Sausage to help you bring the flavors of a New Orleans Mardi Gras straight to your kitchen with recipe ideas starring their Andouille and Cajun-Style flavors. Up first: the spicy Shrimp and Sausage Creole that Rosalynn Daniels—a lifestyle blogger, recipe developer, and photographer—makes every year to celebrate the Carnival season.
When you think of New Orleans, Mardi Gras is often one of the first things that comes to mind: Over many years and generations, the celebration has become an essential part of the city’s cultural fabric. For Rosalynn Daniels, a food and lifestyle blogger who spent her high school years living in New Orleans, Mardi Gras is always a special time of year.
“It’s magical,” she tells me of the weeks-long season of parades, parties, and, of course, lots of delicious food leading up to Fat Tuesday, the peak of the festivities. (It’s traditionally considered the last day to enjoy rich, meaty dishes before Lent begins.)
“When I moved to New Orleans, everyone embraced me—it just felt warm,” she says. “People are looking to have a good time, they’re very welcoming, and they put a lot of love in their food.”
While we’re chatting over video, Rosalynn preps the ingredients for her go-to Mardi Gras meal: a spicy Shrimp and Sausage Creole recipe that’s been passed down for generations and was fine-tuned by her mom when they lived in New Orleans. The method is straightforward and unfussy (just add the ingredients to a single skillet, building the flavors), but there are a few keys to making the dish sing—starting with the sausage.
“My advice is to always start with a good sausage, like Zatarain’s,” she says. “Their Cajun-Style Smoked Sausage has a bit of a kick to it, so it pairs really well with the tang of the tomatoes and sweetness of the shrimp.” When you cook it, she adds, “Make sure you let the edges caramelize a bit so that each bite is perfection.”
“You also want to use a good Creole seasoning,” she says. You can make your own seasoning blend (typically a mix of onion powder, cayenne, paprika, and other spices and dried herbs), but Rosalynn likes to use the one Zatarain’s makes in her cooking. As far as what to serve it with, you can’t go wrong with a bed of fluffy white rice for soaking up all the saucy goodness. Or—and I strongly recommend this—try Rosalynn’s favorite method: on toasted bread with grated cheddar cheese showered over top.
Although New Orleans’ Mardi Gras parades are cancelled this year due to the pandemic, Rosalynn is still looking forward to celebrating from home with good music, drinks, food, and quality time with family—albeit virtually. “My stepmother is actually from New Orleans, so I’m pretty sure we’ll be on FaceTime with her and my dad reminiscing, eating, and trying to have our own little communion from a distance,” she says.
Whether you’re planning your own Mardi Gras-inspired feast or just looking for cooking inspiration (these dishes are great year-round), here are a few more recipes to try. Some are less traditional than others, like the Lentil Gumbo and Brown Rice Jambalaya-ish, both of which Rosalynn recommends using Zatarain’s Andouille Smoked Sausage in. But they’re all a delicious way to let the good times roll in your kitchen—no beaded necklaces or brass bands required.
What are your favorite dishes to eat during Mardi Gras season? Tell us in the comments!
From spicy Shrimp and Sausage Creole to New Orleans Red Beans and Rice, your favorite Mardi Gras recipes are a cinch to make at home with help from our partner Zatarain’s® Smoked Sausage. Their Andouille and Cajun-Style Smoked Sausages—made with 100 percent pork and fully cooked for easy meal prep—are a flavorful addition to gumbo, jambalaya, and so much more. (Psst: They also make a tasty main dish all on their own.)