Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cajun Shrimp Boil

Happy Mardi Gras everyone! Down in Louisiana, today is a major holiday filled with family, friends, parades, king cakes, beads, crawfish, and all sorts of other good food and good times. It's the last day of indulgence and celebrations before the ritual fasting during the penitential season of Lent.
Brad, Jared and the former Breaux Bridge Crawfish Queen
DC has its own brand of Mardi Gras festivities. The Mystick Krewe of Louisianians holds an annual ball during Carnival season in Washington to bring the pageantry and revelry up north for natives displaced in the area. The first ball was held in 1944 and the event has grown bigger and more popular ever since. Now, Festival Queens from every corner of the state are presented. 
Ally and I hangin' with Sen. John Breaux. No big deal.
And the Krewe consists of members from the Louisiana Congressional delegation, other individuals from around the state, and members of the Louisiana State Society here in DC. Since I have been on the LSS board for a few years, we've even gotten to dress out for the event.
Krewe Dat?!?
For the actual day, we plan to enjoy a good old fashioned Cajun shrimp boil alongside an Abita Mardi Gras Bock. It's a little taste of Louisiana during the chilly February weather, and a great way to cap off a fun Mardi Gras away from home.
Tonight, we're heading to a parade in the Arlington, Virginia neighborhoods of Courthouse and Clarendon. Thousands of people line up on the main drag to see local groups toss beads and marching bands play their own mix of Louisiana tunes. Jared's parents will be rolling in the parade this year in the Krewe de Poisson Mardi Gras Marching & Social Club. I've never been before, so I'm excited to partake in the spectacle. I'm sure it won't quite be the same as a Mardi Gras at home, but it's a perfectly wonderful substitute.

  • 2 lbs. wild Gulf shrimp, shell on
  • 1/2 lb. andouille sausage, cut into thirds
  • 2-3 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 package Zatarain's Crab Boil spices
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 whole head of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 8 small red baby potatoes
  • 2 ears of corn, husked and halved
  • 1 pint cremini mushrooms
  • Dipping sauce: mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauce, Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning

  1. Fill an 8-quart stock pot (with colander insert) with water until 2/3 of the way to the top, leaving plenty of room for other ingredients.
  2. Add the salt, boiling spices, lemon, cayenne pepper, garlic, onion, celery, and oil. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. Reduce to medium high heat and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the sausage, corn, and potatoes and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Next, add the shrimp and mushrooms to the pot and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let the shrimp sit in the boiling liquid for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Strain everything from the pot (easily done if using a pot with a colander).
  8. Dipping sauce: whisk together three parts mayo to one part ketchup. Add hot sauce and Tony's to taste.

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