Classic New Orleans Recipes

Here are some of my all-time favorite New Orleans recipes. These Creole and Cajun classics are typical of what the Big Easy enjoys everyday. Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans!

Chef Deb

Pot of JambalayaClassic New Orleans Jambalaya Recipe

Classic New Orleans Recipes

Chef Deb's Creole Red Beans and Rice

Serves 8-12

Traditionally, red beans and rice were always cooked on a Monday. Monday was wash day in most New Orleans homes. The beans cook for many hours so a person could do a lot of laundry while the beans cooked.

Serve over white rice with French bread and butter. We loved red beans with pickled onions and a small dollop of mayonnaise. Try it! It's not yucky at all.

When the beans are done, remove 1-2 cups of mostly beans and mash with the back of a spoon until creamy. Return mixture to pot

This recipe uses ham hocks but you can omit them if you wish. Also good is smoked sausage or chorizo either fried and eaten separetly or sliced into chunks and added to the beans in the last 1 hour of cooking. Of course the beans are great without any meat at all.

2-3 pounds ham hocks
1 pound dried kidney beans
Water; to soak beans and to cook in
2 cups onion; chopped
2 cups green bell pepper; chopped
2 cups chopped celery
3 Bay leaves
1-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 garlic cloves; chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Hot sauce to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cover the beans with water and allow to stand overnight. Drain the beans and rinse well.

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, add about 2 1/2 quarts of water to start. Add the beans, ham hocks, chopped vegetables, bay leaves, oregano and thyme.

Do not add the salt at this point because some say it prevents the beans from becoming tender. Also, the ham hocks are salty

Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the ham hocks (if using) are very tender. Remove meat from the pan and add additional water as needed. Simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the beans are tender, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Remove the meaty parts of the ham hocks, and discard the bones and skin. Add the meat to the beans in the last minutes of cooking time. Add salt, hot sauce, hot pepper and black pepper to taste. Serve over rice

Easy New Orleans Jambalaya 
Serves 10

This jambalaya recipe is "easy" because it uses only a relatively few ingredients.  It is no less delicious than any other jambalaya recipe you will find. 

1 1/2 pounds cooked smoked pork or beef sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 medium onions, chopped
2 cups chopped celery
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
6 cups chicken broth
4 cups uncooked long grain white rice
1 teaspoon paprika

Heat 8-quart oven-safe Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat until hot. Add sausage and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan; set aside.  

Add chicken, salt, pepper and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until chicken is browned. Remove from pan. Drain fat, leaving 1 tablespoon.   

Add onions, celery, green peppers, garlic and red pepper; cook, stirring 7 to 10 minutes or until vegetables begin to brown. Stir in chicken broth, reserved sausage and chicken, rice and paprika.

Bring to a boil. Cover and cook 30-45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, stirring once or twice during cooking.        

Dirty Rice
Serves 4-8

Dirty rice is white rice mixed with vegetables and chicken livers or gizzards (the "dirty" part). Some versions contain seafood or sausage. Some people do not like chicken gizzards (like me) so they are left out of this recipe.

bowl of dirty riceDirty Rice

1/4 pound chicken liver
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup oil
1 cup chopped onion
8 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green onions, both white and green parts
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 cups rice, cooked
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Red chile flakes

Put chicken liver in separate saucepan. Cover with water and simmer until tender. Chop fine and set aside. In a large saucepan, saute ground meats in oil until well done. Drain off excess fat.

Add onion, garlic, celery, and green onions. Cook until tender. Add chopped liver, parsley, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook about 15 minutes. Add rice and mix well. Season with salt, pepper, and red chile flakes.

Mom's Stuffed Shrimp

Serves 4
One of my all-time favorites. My Mom of course made the best stuffed shrimp ever but I have changed this recipe a bit to make it easier to prepare with a little less oil. These shrimp are baked instead of fried.

12-16 shrimp, large or jumbo, peeled, deveined, butterflied, tails-on
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 medium green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 pound fresh crab meat, shell and cartilage removed

3/4 -1 cup bread crumbs or finely crushed buttery crackers, reserve about 1/2 cup for finishing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Old Bay or other seafood or Creole seasonings
1/4 cup butter, melted
Lemon wedges

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the onions, celery, and green peppers and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the parsley and the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.

Mix bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire, lemon juice, cayenne, egg and Old Bay. Stir until well blended. Stir in vegetables and then gently fold in crab keeping the lumps as whole as possible.

To butterfly shrimp: Split shrimp down the bottom center to tail, being careful not to cut through. Spread and flatten shrimp as much as possible.

Mound each shrimp with about 2 scant tablespoons of the crab mixture. Sprinkle reserved bread crumbs over shrimp and sprinkle with more Old Bay or paprika. Drizzle all with melted butter.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.

Artichoke Dip
Makes 2 cups

1 (14-oz can) artichoke hearts in water, cut in half
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped onion
6 slices bacon, cooking and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Italian herbs or other favorite spice blend
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything in a mixing bowl and stir gently until combined. Serve with crackers or crispy chips

Spicy Rémoulade Sauce
Makes 1/2 cup

This popular condiment is perfect for seafood, smoked meats, vegetables and just about anything else.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped pickled gherkins
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Creole, Dijon or stone-ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Hot pepper sauce -- to taste

In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Chill before serving.

Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce

Mom's Oyster Dressing
Serves 6-8

As a kid, oyster dressing only appeared on our Thanksgiving and Christmas tables.  It wasn't until we were adults that Mom revealed that she minced the oysters for her dressing.  She knew we would lose it if we came across an "icky" piece of oyster.  Now, we all make this dressing with minced oysters and it is almost as delicious as Mom's.  

2 pints oysters in liquid (or liquor as called in Louisiana)
1 lb. breakfast pork sausage
5 cups dried bread **See note
3/4 cup water or as needed
1 stick butter
1 cup finely diced white onions
1/2 cup finely diced celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste or Creole/Cajun seasoning blend
Breadcrumbs for topping, optional

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Drain oysters, reserve the liquid and coarsely or finely chop oysters (depending on your kids). Break dried bread into 1-inch pieces and place in large mixing bowl. Add oyster liquid and water allowing bread to soak until all liquid is evenly absorbed.

In a large skillet, cook sausage and stir constantly untll throughly cooked. Remove sausage and discard excess oil and any burned bits from skillet. Melt butter in skillet and add onions, celery and garlic. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are softened.

Add sausage, chopped oysters and bread mixture to vegetables and blend well. Season to taste with thyme, sage, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.  Cook stirring constantly over low heat for approximately 15 minutes. Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish  Top with breadcrumbs if using. Bake until lightly browned, approximately 30 minutes.

Note: For bread, use a French or Italian bread loaf; 10-12 slices of white sandwich bread or purchased dried bread cubes. For best results, let the fresh bread get stale or dry it out in a low oven.

Pannéed Meat
Serves 8

Pannéed is a New Orleans term for pan-frying breaded meat. It is generally a pounded and breaded beef, pork or veal cutlet, quickly fried in hot oil.  It is simply delicious served with pasta and tomato sauce or mashed potatoes.

1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
8 round steak, boneless pork or veal cutlets, pounded to about 1/4"
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1cup plain or seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
Oil for frying

In 3 separate plates combine; the salt, pepper and flour; the beaten eggs and milk and; the bread crumbs, cheese and Creole seasoning. Dredge the meat cutlets in the seasoned flour, dip in the egg/milk mixture and then roll in the bread crumbs, coating the cutlet thoroughly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and cook the meat until done, about 2 minutes per side, until the breading is nicely browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

John Folse's Natchitoches Meat Pies
Serves 4

Natchitoches, LA, is known for its meat pies, which are turnovers filled with ground meat and seasonings. The original Louisiana version is believed to have been developed by the Natchitoches Indians and improved upon by the Spanish.

½ pound ground meat
½ pound ground pork
½ cup cooking oil
½ cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tbsp diced garlic
2 cups beef stock (see recipe)
2 9-inch packaged pie shells, thaw if frozen
1 egg
½ cup water
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Sauté beef and pork until golden brown, stirring constantly, until all liquid has evaporated.

Add onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Sauté three to five minutes or until vegetables are wilted. This should cook slowly for about one hour, adding beef stock to mixture to prevent sticking. Season to taste using salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Lay out pie dough on a flat surface patching any holes or tears. For large pies use a 6" bowl and trace a knife around it to cut the dough. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the cooked meat mixture onto the dough.

Brush a little egg-wash around the edge of the shell, fold over and press the edges with a fork similar to an apple turnover. Place on a greased cookie sheet or pan. Make small slits in dough to vent steam, egg-wash entire pie and bake thirty minutes at 400 degrees.

Pie may also be deep-fried. For appetizer pie, use a 4" bowl in order to cut the dough circles

Paul Prudhomme's Quick Barbecued Shrimp
Serves 2-4

Messy but so much fun! The shrimp are technically not grilled or barbecued but baked in a tangy sauce. Just peel, eat and sop up the sauce with crusty French bread. 1 pound large or medium shrimp, unpeeled.

1/4 pound (1 stick), plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon Creole seasonings or seafood seasoning blend of choice
1/2 cup chicken or shrimp stock (previously made)
1/4 cup warm beer, not flat

Combine 1 stick of the butter, the garlic, Worcestershire sauce and the seasoning blend in a large skillet over high heat. When the butter melts, add the shrimp.

Cook for 2 minutes, gently stirring. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons butter and the stock. Slowly add the beer and cook and stir for 1-2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and serve immediately in bowls with crusty bread

Shrimp Stock
This is versatile and good stock for any dish that contains shrimp such as gumbo or jambalaya.

Peel the shrimp. Put the shells in a saucepan and rinse quickly in cold water. Add water to the shells and place pan over medium low heat. For more flavor, add chunks of celery, onion, parsley, lemon and seafood seasoning. Simmer about 30 minutes. Strain through a mesh strainer pushing on the shells to extract maximum flavor.

If you are lucky enough to find shrimp with the heads on, remove the heads leaving the orange-colored shrimp fat in place. Put all of the shells in the pan. The heads and fat will produce a much more concentrated stock.

Shrimp sold with the heads on are common in New Orleans but may be hard to find elsewhere.

About Po'Boys

Shrimppoboy.jpgShrimp Po'Boy

The Po-Boy" is in tough competition with the muffuletta for the king of all New Orleans sandwiches. I think it's a draw!

Growing up I don't remember hearing anything about heroes or sub sandwiches. We only ate po'boys.

As the story goes, the name of the sandwich is short for "poor boy". Way back when, the youth of New Orleans would start the working day with a sandwich made from French bread and filled with whatever the family could afford. The sandwich was usually their only meal for the day.

What makes a po'boy so very good is the bread. After moving away from New Orleans, I soon realized that what Northerners call "French bread" is not the bread I grew up loving. New Orleans French bread has a super crunchy crust (no need to crisp in the oven) and a light, almost non-existent center. This is perfect for stuffing to the brim.

What are po-boys stuffed with? My personal favorite is hot sausage. Alas, this spicy, paprika-laden sausage doesn't seem to exist outside of Louisiana. Fresh Mexican chorizo comes fairly close.

Most natives love fried oysters, fried shrimp, roast beef with gravy, ham (usually no cheese) and fried smoke sausage.  I think you can put anything on a po-boy; fried fish fillets, grilled chicken breast, tuna salad and fried eggplant and peppers.

Po-boys are usually enjoyed dressed. I think that term is peculiar to New Orleans and simply means that the sandwich contains shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes, pickles and mayonnaise. It's also ok to add Creole mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, hot peppers and fried or raw onions.

About Muffulettas

This classic New Orleans sandwich is stuffed with meats and cheeses and topped with a tangy, marinated olive salad, which is the heart of the sandwich.

The muffuletta most likely originated in 1906 at the Central Grocery in the French Quarter by the Sicilian-born owner.


To make a Muffuletta sandwich start with a 10-inch round loaf of dense textured bread (similar to foccaccia or a round sourdough loaf). The bread needs to be able to absorb the olive salad juices without falling apart.

Cut the bread in half crosswise. Next layer thin slices of Italian-style cold cuts such as salami, ham, mortadella or capicola, followed by slices of provolone or mild Swiss cheeses. The sandwich is then topped with the olive salad and the top half of the loaf.

The sandwich is especially good when made 1 day ahead, wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated. This way the juices and oil of the olive salad flavor the bread, meats and cheeses.

Cut in quarters and serve. I have also made individual sandwiches using Kaiser rolls or good French bread hamburger buns. 

Quick and Easy Olive Salad
Sorry folks, no real recipe here. It's really hard to go wrong!

I like to start with a jar of mild giardiniera (pickled vegetable relish). Drain the veggies to a large mixing bowl, reserving the juices. Add a mixture of olives such as Nicoise, green pimiento-stuffed, Kalumata and black olives. I purchase these from the olive bar at the supermarket.

You will probably need about 1-1/2 cups of olives to a 16-oz jar of giardiniera. I also add a little more chopped celery, garlic and shallots, along with dried oregano and freshly ground black pepper. You can also add hot pepperoncini for extra kick.

All of these ingredients must be finely chopped into roughly 1/2 inch pieces. I like my olive salad a little more finely chopped but either way, the olive and veggie pieces should not be so big as to fall off of the sandwich unnecessarily. You get my drift. You can use a food processor but be careful not to over process and turn the mixture into mush.

Place in a glass container and cover with olive oil and canola oil and reserved juices, to taste. Allow the olive salad to marinate for about 24 hours.

It will last for at least a month in the refrigerator and is delicious on any sandwich, burger or hot dog. Try it mixed into hot pasta topped with Parmesan cheese.

Muffuletta "Sliders"
Makes 12 sandwiches

1 (32-oz.) jar Italian olive salad
12 small French rolls, sliced in half
12 thin provolone cheese slices
12 thin deli ham slices
12 salami slices

Spread 1 tbsp. olive salad evenly over the top and bottom of each roll.  Top each bottom roll with 1 slice each of ham, provolone and salami.  Cover with roll tops and serve.

Sliders can also be wrapped in aluminum foil and baked at 350° for 14 to 16 minutes or until cheeses are melted.

Top of New Orleans Recipes


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