TThe score at halftime of the 2013 AFC Championship Game was 13-7 and the New England Patriots were in the lead. My party guests were silent, anxiously glancing at eachother, wondering if THIS game would be Ray’s last. I, on the other hand, was as cool as a cucumber, knowing that Flacco and the rest of the team would leave Gillette Stadium victorious. So while they refilled their beers and discussed the first half highlights on Facebook, I whipped up some Maryland Crabcakes. Not only did the Ravens pull off another win, but the crabcakes were a crowd pleaser too. I have used the same recipe for as long as I can remember and it can be found on the back of the Old Bay Seasoning can.
OLD BAY MARYLAND CRABCAKES
2 slices of white bread, crusts removed
2 Tbsp. regular Mayo
2 teaspoons Old Bay
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
½ teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
1 beaten egg
1 pound crabmeat
Beat the egg in a medium sized bowl. Break the bread into very small pieces and add it to the bowl. Mix in the mayo, Old Bay, parsley and mustard. Stir in the crabmeat carefully, trying not to break up the lumps. Shape the mixture into small patties. One pound of meat will make about 6 medium sized cakes. Broil for 5 minutes on each side or fry until golden brown. I always broil them and I do highly suggest that you use jumbo lump crabmeat from the USA. The crabmeat from outside of the States does not taste nearly the same.
As the Super Bowl looms, recipes from the Big Easy spring to mind. What better way to celebrate than combining Maryland and New Orleans cuisine for your party? There is nothing quite like a jambalaya in the middle of winter to warm your belly. Sure, chili is a great standby, but serve some jambalaya and a side of corn bread and your friends will be begging you to play host again next year. This particular one comes mainly from John Besh, a chef in New Orleans. Wegmans is your best source for authentic andouille sausage, hands down. Well, at least that’s what my husband says and he is a Louisiana native.
SHRIMP, CHICKEN & ANDOUILLE JAMBALAYA (feeds about 15 people, so feel free to cut it in half or double it for a larger crowd)
3 pounds andouille, diced
2 pounds pork sausage, casings removed
½ cup lard (optional)
2 pounds diced bacon
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch cubes
6 large onions, diced
4 bell peppers, diced
10 stalks of celery, diced
12 cloves of garlic, minced
9 cups white rice
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons (or more) cayenne
1 tablespoon celery salt
6 cups canned crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
5 pounds of white shrimp, peeled & deveined
3 bunches green onions, chopped
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Heat a very large pot (5 gallons) over high heat until it is hot, then turn down the heat to moderate. Render the bacon with the sausages and the lard in the pot, stirring slowly. I must confess that I have never used lard and I wouldn’t even know where to get it! I believe that there is enough fat in the meat, but you could substitute shortening. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add the chicken to the pot, stirring, and cook until the chicken is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and allow them to carmelize for about 15 minutes. Add the peppers, celery and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Continue stirring occasionally to ensure that everything cooks evenly.
Next, add the rice,thyme, bay leaves, paprika, cayenne, 2 tablespoons of salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper and celery salt and cook while stirring often for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, simmer for 15 minutes.
Now season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Once the jambalaya has finished simmering for 15 minutes, fold in the shrimp and green onions, turn off the heat completely, and let the shrimp cook in the covered pot for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice prior to serving & enjoy a little taste of the South. Thank you Chef Besh.