When visiting New Orleans, you will have the option to try a variety of wonderful regional dishes, including Jambalaya. Jambalaya is a rice dish that usually has Andouille sausage, but we’d gotten a roasted red pepper sausage from our butcher and decided to use it instead. It turned out to be delicious and was really an easy recipe for a weekday dinner. Shrimp, chicken, or pork can also be added in addition to the sausage, but we chose to keep it simple and just use the sausage. If you like it spicier, you can also add more cayenne pepper.
1/2 lb Roasted Red Pepper Sausage (or Andouille sausage) – cut into slices
1 cup Uncooked Rice
1 Red Bell Pepper – diced
1/2 Yellow Onion – diced
2 stalks Celery – sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup Diced Tomatoes
3 cups Chicken Stalk
2 tbsp Ground Smoked Paprika
1 tbsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine the paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Heat the butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage in the butter and oil until it is golden-brown. Stir in the spices and cook for another minute before adding the tomatoes, onion, celery, and red pepper. Continue to sauté for about another 5 minutes until the vegetables become soft. Turn the heat down to low and add the chicken broth and rice, cover, and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the rice from sticking. Serve in bowls.
New Orleans is definitely a destination for food lovers with all of the quality restaurants offering authentic regional food at various prices. Whether you are on a budget or want to go out for an elegant dinner, there are many choices that will provide an incredible eating experience. Seafood is at the heart of the meals that you will find in New Orleans, but there are plenty of other dishes that are uniquely Cajun. You will likely find Po-Boys, Gumbo, Jambalaya, and beignets on most menus as well as fresh snapper, oysters, and Crawfish Etouffee. There are other interesting items such as turtle soup, fried aligator, shrimp and grits, as well as local takes on eggs benedict.
The very first restaurant that we ate at was Oceana’s, which is just off of Bourbon Street and turned out to be a place that we visited several times because their food was so good. Like many restaurants, if you don’t go during non-traditional meal times, you can expect to wait in long lines that stretch down the street. Fortunately we like sitting at the bar as well as eating at different times, so we didn’t have any trouble getting served. We ate Oysters Rockefeller, Oceana’s Famous Oysters, Aligator Bites, Seafood Crepe, and a wonderful Bloody Mary during our different visits. The Crawfish Etouffee at the Royal House was one of the best meals that we ate during our entire stay. For a filling breakfast or brunch, going to the Stanley at Jackson Square can’t be beat and we had their Seafood Breakfast, which had fried oysters and shrimp, fried soft shell crab, and eggs benedict. It was delicious.
We went out for a couple of more upscale dinners including The Briquette where we were introduced to the chef by the owner and got to see our own fish on the grill. The food there is always fresh and we had the whole Red Fish filet as well as tournedos of beef and scallops. We also ate at Muriel’s on Jackson Square where we ate Turtle Soup, Cauliflower Soup, Duck Breast Jambalaya, and Pan Seared Scallops. There were also stops at Tableau and the Chartres House for Gumbo, Crawfish Bread, and Spicy Pecan Popcorn.
We were in New Orleans for a week, so if the list of places that we visited seems long, it is simply because we were eating out several times every day. Obviously we had to have an Oyster Po-Boy, which we did at Desire as well as getting fresh oysters. We went to Curios for brunch where we had traditional Beignets as well as Shrimp and Grits. We made our way to the Carousel Bar for a Caesar Salad and Le Bayou for fresh oysters as well.
Needless to say, when in New Orleans, especially in the French Quarter, there is more than just food. For drinks we went to many different locations, but one of the most interesting was Pirate’s Alley Café, which truly is in an alley. The 21st Amendment where we were treated to live jazz and a few glasses of wine. Finnegan’s was one of our favorite Irish dive bars, but we also enjoyed The Erin Rose where they serve an excellent po-boy. We enjoyed live music at The Drinkery as well as a few other places, including street performers on Bourbon Street.
You won’t go hungry when visiting New Orleans. With so many options and friendly staff wherever you go, there really aren’t too many bad choices. We’d recommend doing what we do, which is to ask the bartenders and wait staff at the places that you visit where they would recommend that you eat, usually requesting that they tell where the locals go, not necessarily the tourists. We were given great recommendations as well as just finding places as walked throughout the French Quarter. As we mentioned before, it is busy, so be sure to either make reservations in advance where you can and expect lines in the places that don’t accept reservations.