With Christmas so close, you may have your entire holiday menu planned out. But for those of us who are a little more last minute, we’ve rounded up our favorite classically New Orleans recipes that feel festive enough for the holidays, but don’t require a culinary degree to complete. We’ve even made a special playlist full of New Orleans Christmas classics to fill your kitchen with that extra holiday magic. So no matter what your holidays look like this year, bring a little piece of NOLA to the table.
Isaac Toups’ Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with Cornbread
Nothing says cold weather comfort quite like a bowl of spicy gumbo. Well there are many different varieties, we love this one from Chef Isaac Toups. While it does involve a lot of chopping, once it’s simmering away on the stove, your house will smell like a dream. Plus it makes for amazing leftovers.
Crawfish Etouffee is another classic New Orleans dish that will easily become a holiday favorite. If crawfish tails are hard to find where you live and it’s too late to order frozen, shrimp also works really well. Or you could give Chef Frank Brigtsen’s Chicken Etouffee a spin, too.
Bananas Foster is an absolute showstopper–I mean, who doesn’t love a dessert that also doubles as a pyrotechnics display? You can find this at many restaurants in New Orleans served tableside, but it’s just as special when whipped up in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Sugar cookies and milk might be standard Santa fare, but why not switch it up with this delectable homemade confection. They also make excellent additions to holiday cookie boxes.
Yes, BBQ Shrimp contains an absolutely insane amount of butter. But those New Year’s resolutions are right around the corner, so in a lot of ways, there’s no better time to throw caution to the wind with those saturated fats. Make sure you have a good loaf of crusty bread to really sop up all the goodness.
Nina Compton’s Biscuits
Who doesn’t love a good biscuit? Whether you’re looking for a good side-carb for you dinner or something to snack on alongside your Christmas morning breakfast, Chef Nina Compton has your back.
Brandy Milk Punch
Sure, egg nog might be the prom queen of creamy holiday libations, but we suggest switching it up this year with a glass of Brandy Milk Punch. It’s festive, fun and, most importantly, a great source of calcium (OK, that last one might be a stretch).
Ramos Gin Fizz
Exercise tends to fly out the window during the holiday season, but with the amount of shaking it takes to bring this cocktail to life, it’s basically a substitute for a good arm day. If the raw egg whites are giving you pause, you can always substitute pasteurized egg whites from the carton. But they’re essential for getting the fluffy frothiness of the drink.
Consider this round two in us trying to convince you to set aspects of your holiday meal on fire. Cafe Brulot is the perfect way to wind down a festive evening, although we don’t recommend trying out the “pour flaming liquid on the tablecloth” method perfected by so many classic Creole restaurants across the city. Grab your fire extinguisher, keep it in the bowl, and you should be good.
Vieux Carre Cocktail
A decidedly grown up addition to holiday cocktail hours, this cousin of the Sazerac isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you’re a lover of rye whiskey, it’s definitely got enough pizzaz to make an impression and get everyone’s spirits bright.