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Love New Orleans?
This book's for you!

New Orleans, Plain & Fancy
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My New Orleans
The Cookbook

My New Orleans:
The Cookbook
200 of My Favorite Recipes and
Stories from My Hometown

Copyright © 2009 by John Besh and
 Dorothy Kalins Ink LLC/Andrews McMeel Publisher



All I can tell you about this book without writing a book myself, is that it
brings tears to my eyes. That is just as true today as when I first received
 the book (a birthday present from Chef Keegan!). I am deeply touched by
the fond childhood memories rekindled by the photography, narrative, and extraordinarily authentic recipes presented in this multi-faceted work
of art.
'My New Orleans' is nothing short of phenomenal. It continues to delight
and astound me with its beauty and excellence. Don't miss this one!
It has been my pleasure to dine several times at the first of six (as of
this writing!) Besh restaurant enterprises: August. Each experience
was exquisitely memorable in every way.(MG)

Here's what the experts have to say:
(from the publisher)

" 'My New Orleans' will change the way you look at New Orleans cooking and
the  way you see world-famous chef John Besh. It's 16 chapters of culture,
history, essay and insight, and pure goodness. Besh tells us the story of his
New Orleans  by the season and by the dish...
Bite by bite John Besh brings us New Orleans cooking like we've never
tasted  before. It's the perfect blend of contemporary French technique
 with indigenous Southern Louisiana products and know-how...
From Mardi Gras, to the shrimp season, to the urban garden, to gumbo
weather, boucherie (the season of the pig), and everything tasty  in
 between, Besh gives a sampling of New Orleans that will have us all
 craving more.
The boy from the Bayou isn't just an acclaimed chef with an exceptional
 palate.  Besh is a chef with a heart. The ex-marine's passion for the
 Crescent City, its people, and its livelihood are main courses making
him a leader of  the city's culinary recovery and resilience after the
wrath of Hurricane Katrina."

"In his definitive tome, My New Orleans, John Besh captures the true,
 sweet, and honest voice of a clarinet playing the jazzy song of one of
our  most deliciously exclusive regional American kitchens."
~ Mario Batali, Iron Chef, restaurateur, author

"This book is an act of soul. Maestro Besh lives the life he cooks; he
doesn't just  tell us how to prepare Louisiana favorites, he teaches us
what these dishes mean, with an emphasis on how hospitality can
 enrich civilization."

~ Wynton Marsalis, musician

from the Introduction:

"This book is the story of  dreamy, starry-eyed boy brought up in the
shadows of New Orleans, surrounded by cypress knees and tupelo
trees, good dinners and great friends. Memories from my childhood,
both good and bad, have etched themselves deep into my soul: every-
thing that I cook and eat, see and smell, reminds me of where I come
from and more or less where I'm going.
...I wrote 'My New Orleans' in the same spirit in which I launched
my restaurants [August, Besh Steak, Lüke, La Provence]; it's a book
dedicated to roots and rituals, to the way I cook."

~ Chef John Besh

But enough talk... on to the recipes!

Green Onion Sausage and Shrimp Gravy

“In South Louisiana, any sauce is called gravy. This dish would be our
equivalent of biscuits and sausage gravy, except we’ve got all this sea-
food down here that finds its way into almost everything. Serve this
gravy over  biscuits with ‘oeufs au plat’ [a refined version of fried eggs]
 you’ve really got something. As a chef, I make this a bit more
complicated than it needs to be: I start with the shrimp in the pan,
then remove them so they don’t overcook, and then I add them back
once it’s all come together.”

Serves 6-8

1 tablespoon rendered bacon fat
1 pound green onion pork sausage,
removed from casings
[check with Jacob’s or substitute the
local sausage of your choice]
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon flour
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled
and deveined
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pinch allspice
2 dashes Worcestershire
1/3 cup diced canned tomatoes
1 cup basic chicken stock
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
1 green onion, chopped

1. Melt the bacon fat in a large heavy-bottomed pan over high heat, then
add the pork sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with the back
of a wooden spoon, until it is browned, 12-15 minutes. Add the
onions and cook, stirring often with the spoon, until the onions are
deep brown, about another 15 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to moderate, then sprinkle the flour into the pan,
stirring to mix it into the sausage and onions. Cook for about 2
minutes to remove the raw flavor from the flour.
3. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, then add them to the pan,
stirring and tossing them with a spatula. Sauté until they turn pink,
about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside
while you continue making the sauce.
4. Add the bell pepper, garlic, pepper flakes, allspice, Worcestershire,
tomatoes, and chicken stock to the pan, stirring well. Increase heat
and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for
15 minutes. Add the thyme, green onions, and shrimp and cook
for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


Louisiana Shrimp and Andouille over Grits

“This is one of the most satisfying shrimp dishes. You needn’t cook the
shrimp long; make them batches and be sure to keep a close eye on
them so that they don’t overcook. After you’ve sautéed the shrimp
on both sides, remove them from the skillet with tongs and return
them  o the pot once they’re all cooked to the same degree.”

Serves 6

For the Grits
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup white stone-ground organic grits
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

For the shrimp
2 tablespoons olive oil
36 jumbo Louisiana or other wild
American shrimp, unpeeled
Basic Creole Spices *
1/3 cup minced andouille sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 piquillo peppers (roasted red Spanish
peppers in a jar)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cups Basic Shrimp Stock **
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups canned diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup fresh chervil sprigs

1. For the grits, bring 4 cups water with the salt to a boil in a medium-size saucepan over high heat. Slowly pour grits into the boiling water, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low. Stir the grits often to make sure they
don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Simmer the grits until all the water
has been absorbed and they become soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in the
butter and mascarpone. Remove from heat and place a piece of plastic
wrap directly on the surface of the grits in the pan to keep a crust
from forming.
2. For the shrimp, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat.
Season the shrimp with Creole Spices and salt. Sauté the shrimp until
they begin to brown but are not cooked all the way through. Remove
the shrimp as they cook and set aside.
3. In the same skillet, sauté the andouille, garlic, shallots, piquillo pep-
pers, and thyme until they become aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add
the Shrimp Stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in the butter and
reduce the sauce until it’s nice and thick, 3-5 minutes.
4. Return the shrimp to the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, diced tomatoes and chives.
5. Spoon a heaping 1/4 cup of the grits into the center of each of 6 large
bowls. Arrange 6 shrimp in the middle of each bowl of grits. Spoon
sauce around the shrimp and garnish each bowl with fresh chervil.

* Basic Creole Spices

Makes 1/2 cup

"Using this spice blend is truly the easiest way to consistently achieve
the flavors I grew up with. Once made, the spices will last for six
months in an airtight container.”

2 tablespoons celery salt
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground
black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Mix together the celery salt, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion
powder, cayenne, and allspice in a bowl. Transfer the spices to a clean
container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and store.

** Basic Shrimp Stock

Makes 6 cups

"I make my favorite chicken stock from the leftover carcasses of Sunday’s
herb-roasted chicken. In the same way, I hang on to the fish heads and
bones and the shells of shrimp, crab, and crawfish as flavor bases for the
best stocks. After making a pot of stock, I pour it into ice cube trays and
freeze it. After they’re frozen, I store the cubes in a freezer bag. That way,
I can easily retrieve them as I need them, without having to defrost quarts
of stock at a time.”

1/4 cup canola oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 leek, white part, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound shrimp shells
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1. Heat the canola oil in a large pot over moderate heat. Cook the onions,
celery, carrots, leeks and garlic, stirring often, until they are soft but not
brown, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the shrimp shells, the bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, and 3 quarts
water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce
the heat to low and gently simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the
surface, until the stock has reduced by half, about 2 hours.
3. Strain through a fine sieve into a container with a cover. Allow the
stock to cool and refrigerate, then skim off the fat. Freeze the stock
in small batches to use later.

My New Orleans (page 2)
My New Orleans (page 3)

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to
Cafe Reconcile, a New Orleans-based non-profit organization dedicated
to providing at-risk youth an opportunity to learn life and interpersonal
skills, and operational training for successful entry into the hospitality
and restaurant industries.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Chef John Besh's Big Easy Christmas
Andouille Cheese Grits 
Breakfast Shrimp
New Orleans Grillades and Grits
Shrimp and Grits (Emeril)
Shrimp and Peppers in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Sun-Dried Tomato Biscuits with
Sausage Gravy

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