Étouffée with mango tabasco & mango anise (sugar cube) sazeracs
“Mardi Gras” means fat Tuesday, I only learned that a few years back which makes me giggle a little bit! It always falls before Ash Wednesday which signals the beginning of Lent a predominantly Catholic “event” which happens during the lead up to Easter and typically consists of payer, repentance and some fasting. Fat Tuesday is the day during lent when people indulge in all that they obstain from during lent. The day is a feasting occasion, often filled with all kinds of debauchery, which you can read about in more detail on Refinery 29.
Here are a few mango-centric recipes I whipped up this past weekend to help you celebrate Fat Tuesday which will be even better if you add some #MangoJoy.
Shrimp & Andouille Étouffée with Mango Tabasco
Etouffee means smother in French and this classic cajon dish is an easy to whip up stew which you will want to serve over rice. I make mine with lots of fresh herbs, but otherwise keep it super simple. I like the combination of shrimp and Andouille sausage and like all good Louisiana folks know, hot sauce goes on top! My new Quick Mango Tabasco was the perfect hot topper for this Fat Tuesday meal.
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs (oregano, thyme etc) optional
¼ tablespoon flour
½ yellow onion, chopped coarsely
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 stalks celery (Leaves and all) sliced medium
½ cup chopped bell peppers
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (if you have it)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 can (12 ounces- about) stewed tomatoes
1 cup water, vermouth or white wine
1 cup sliced Andouille sausage
1 -1 ½ pounds of shelled shrimp
Mango Tabasco for serving
In a large heavy bottom pan melt the butter over meadium heat with the 2 tablespoons of herbs if using. Add the flour and stir rapidly until the mixture makes a “roux” (a thick sticky paste). Continue to stir and cook the roux over medium heat until it browns slightly about 3-4 minutes; be careful not to burn it. Turn the burner down slightly to medium and add the onions, garlic, celenry and peppers and continue to stir and cook for a few minutes. Add the herbs, the cayenne and the salt and cook a few more minutes, stirring the entire time so as not to burn anything. Add the tomatoes and water, wine or vermouth along with the andouille; stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, covered for about 30 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and simmer for another 10 minutes; until the shrimp is cooked tender. Serve over white rice with Mango Tabasco.
Quick Mango Tabasco
Makes 1 ½ cups
So easy to make on the fly. The silky texture of an Ataulfo mango works the best in my opinion. I don’t like white vinegar so I use champagne vinegar but the idea here to flavor this for your taste preference so any type of clear or light colored vinegar will work here.
2-4 mini bell peppers, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped (optional)
1 cup champagne or white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (optional)
2-4 dried chili de arbol
2-3 fresh red or green chilies
1/2 cup chopped mango
Place everything but the mango in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1O minutes until soft. Blend up together with the mango until silky smooth. Strain and bottle up. Should keep for about a month in the refrigerator.
Mango Anise Sazerac
Makes 1 drink
Nothing scream New Orleans quite like a Sazerac. Today’s common Sazerac is pretty close to the same thing as an Old Fashioned,w hcih is essentially whiskey sweetened, seasoned and diluted.
The Sazerac is said to have been “invented” in the early 1800’s. Originally made with Sazerac de Forge et Fils French Brandy and brilliant red Peychaud’s bitters invented in New Orleans with some sugar and a dash of absinthe.
American rye whiskey eventually replaced the brandy on most of what you see out there but using Brandy or Cognac ads the fruit and floral essence back in and makes it closer to the 1800’s original version.
The drink is strong and deep but likewise has some soft and sultry tones from the absinth and the mango. The act of making your own sugar cubes feels like self-care. It’s not only easy but ads creative flair; it’s a great conversation piece.
Absinthe for rinsing the glass
1 Mango Anise Sugar Cube (recipe adapted from Herbal-Roots*)
A few drops of ice-cold water or Thai Mango Puree
2-3 dashes of Angostura or a deep earthy sultry bitters (I’m using Bacon & Tabacco bitters from Floraluna.
2-3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters or orange bitters if you don’t have them
1 ounce rye whiskey
1 ounce cognac or French brandy
Lemon peel garnish
Rise a prechilled rocks class with absinthe and set aside.
Using a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube, water and bitters. Add the rye and cognac and fill the mixing glass with ice and stir for about 30 seconds until the drink is cold and some of the ice is diluted. Strain into the absinthe rinses glass. Twist the lemon peel over the top fo the drink so the oils are expressed and fall into the glass. Place the expressed peel in the glass for garnish.
Mango & Thai Basil Sugar Cubes
Makes several cubes depending on ice cube tray size
The great part about this sugar cube recipe is that the herbs and spices can be altered to taste. I chose Thai basil or this one because of the anise component for the Sazerac, but I make them using various herbs and spices per my whims.. The most important part of the recipe is to make sure you don’t add to much liquid or in this case the thin mango puree. I blended a few extra Thai basil leaves in with my puree for more green color and potent Thai and mango flavor. The mango in this recipe adds more sultry than tropical tones.
1 teaspoon super finely chopped Thai basil leaves
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon orange zest
½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper (I used long pepper)
1 cup turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons ice cold (thinner) mango puree
2 drops Peychaud’s bitters ( I used Floraluna Apothecary Cayenne Ginger Bitters)
Combine the thia basil, zests and pepper in a medium bowl with the sugar. Rub the mixture together with your fingers, pulverizing the herbs, zest and pepper into the sugar. The sugar will turn a greenish hue from the herb oils. Add the cold mango puree and bitters stir. The sugar should be slightly moistened and still crumbly, not wet.
Using a sugar cube mold or an ice cube tray mold, place 1 heaping teaspoon in each mold and press the mixture down tightly into the mold. If using an ice cube tray, the sugar cubes will be bigger and thinner than the traditional cube. Let the molds air-dry on your kitchen counter overnight, at least 16 hours. Once they have hardened, gently remove them from the molds, using a butter knife to assist. Store them in an airtight container for months.