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John Besh’s Tips for a New Orleans-Style Super Bowl Bash

John Besh’s Tips for a New Orleans-Style Super Bowl Bash


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As a New Orleans native, Besh knows a thing or two about hosting a classic NOLA style bash and just in time for the big game

As a New Orleans native, Besh knows a thing or two about hosting a classic NOLA style bash and just in time for the big game

It’s safe to say that John Besh knows a good thing or two about how to host a classic Southern dinner party. The New Orleans native and James Beard Award-winning chef has nine restaurants under his belt including his New Orleans flagship, August, is a mastering NOLA cuisine.

A serious family man and father to four sons—gathering for not only a Southern meal, but one that surrounds watching a football game sounds pretty ideal for father and son bonding time. Besh is offering up his tips for a Super Bowl bash fit with Southern fare and good ambiance. Also, Besh breaks from his busy schedule often to go fishing with his sons—a favorite past time, which you’ll notice in his menu selections.

Here they are—Chef John Besh’s Tips for a Successful Super Bowl Bash:

1. Do as much preparation as possible so once your guests arrive, you're able to enjoy their company and the moment.

2. Its fun to create two cocktails or non-alcoholic drinks that represent the cities that are playing in the Super Bowl. We like to have taste challenges to see if the better of the two drinks will predict the winner of the game. You can set the drinks out at a bar for guests to assemble when they arrive.

3. A playlist of your favorite upbeat music is imperative so that when the game gets boring you can turn down the volume on the TV and turn up the stereo. For a real New Orleans style sound, we love the Rebirth Brass Band and Big Sam's Funky Nation.

4. As big New Orleans Saints fans, touch football in the back yard before the game is a must in our household!

"BIG Easy” Style Super Bowl Menu
Crabmeat Bon Bons
Fried Chipotle Shrimp Tacos
Crispy Shrimp Pockets
Buffaleaux Sliders


John Besh’s Recipe for Roasted Venison Shoulder

Travis Rathbone

I grew up hunting and fishing for just about anything a young man in the South could ever hope for. In my family, cooking fish was always Mom’s job, but cooking game was often a man’s job. This is when and how I truly found my calling to be a chef. I actually prefer the tougher cuts of venison, like the shoulder, because they have more flavor, and I go out of my way to get them from my friends who only use the shoulder for sausage. Don’t get me wrong: I love venison sausage, but I’d much rather make that myself than do what so many of my peers do by sending it to some facility that mixes everyone’s game into one big batch. But that’s a different subject for a different story.

Editors’ Take: You’ll need the entire shoulder, and freezing it whole will protect it from freezer burn. The turnip puree is one of the best things we’ve tried all year. As for the venison, well, you may never use the shoulder for sausage again.


John Besh’s Tips for a New Orleans-Style Super Bowl Bash - Recipes

Besh's Fluffy Breakfast Biscuits

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl. Using a fork or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles cornmeal. Add the milk, stirring until the dough just comes together to form a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Gently pat the dough down with your hands and fold it over on itself. Pat the dough down and fold it over once or twice more. Loosely cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for a half hour or so.

Being careful not to overwork the dough, roll it out until it is 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut dough into biscuits using whatever cutter you like. Grandmother used an inverted juice glass, which was really an old preserves jar. For more biscuits, use a smaller glass.

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until uniformly golden brown, 10 to 14 minutes.


John Besh’s Tips for a New Orleans-Style Super Bowl Bash - Recipes

Classic Tuna Melt Sandwich

In a bowl, combine the tuna, celery, parsley, pickle relish, lemon juice and mayonnaise (see note for options). Toss with a fork until well mixed.Place bread slices on a broiler pan. Divide the tuna mixture evenly, mounding slightly. Sprinkle cheddar evenly over the tuna mixture.

Place open face under broiler until cheese just begin to bubble (3 to 4 minutes), watch carefully or cheese may brown too much. If serving open face they're ready, otherwise cover with top slice of bread and place under broiler until top slices toast.

Note: Optionally add, chopped capers, some celery salt, finely diced onion slice of tomato.


John Besh’s Tips for a New Orleans-Style Super Bowl Bash - Recipes

Freeze the filling until it has the consistency of slurry, about 45 minutes. This will make it easier to fill the pies.

Meanwhile, on a lightly floured work surface using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out one disk of dough to a ¼-inch (6 mm) thickness.

Using an upside-down 5-to 6-inch (12 to 15 cm) bowl and a pizza cutter, cut out as many rounds of dough as you can. (Alternatively, use the pizza cutter to cut out 5-to 6-inch/12 to 15 cm squares.) Repeat with the remaining disk of dough. You should have 12 to 18 rounds of dough. Gather the scraps together and pat them into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. You can use these scraps to make more rounds (or squares) if needed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk with the cream to make an egg wash.

Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Hold one round of dough in the palm of one hand and use the warmth of your fingers on the other hand to gently press the dough while turning it counterclockwise, moving from the center of the dough to the edges. This will thin out the dough slightly and make it more pliable. Make one complete rotation, then lay the round on a flat surface. Repeat with 5 more rounds of the dough.

Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each thinned dough round. Use a pastry brush to brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash, then gently fold the rounds in half to create half-moons. Use a fork or the handle of a spoon dipped in flour to seal the edges. Use a sharp knife to cut a few slits in the top of each hand pie (this allows steam to escape during baking). Transfer the hand pies to the prepared baking sheet (there doesn't need to be a lot of space between them, so try to fit as many as you can on the same pan). Brush the tops with the egg wash. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling. If you have extra filling, roll out the reserved dough scraps, cut out more rounds, and fill them.

Freeze for 15 minutes. (At this point, the pies can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 month, to be thawed and baked whenever you like.)

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Bake the hand pies until the tops are a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling out of the slits, about 25 minutes. Serve as an appetizer on a platter this is finger food, so there's no need for a plate or forks and knives.


John Besh's New Cookbook, A Decade After Hurricane Katrina

"There’s a rawness to New Orleans," chef John Besh says.

Besh might as well be talking about any time in the city's history, but he is discussing the present--the new New Orleans. Ten years since Hurricane Katrina submerged 80 percent of America's most soulful city, business is up and the culture is back, thriving in some ways more than it ever has.

"We have this boom in tourism," Besh explains. "People come here to create business, they have ideas. There’s no rules. Call it gentrification or whatever, we have young people here to become teachers. You haven’t had a situation like this where a major American city has gone from zero occupants to getting back on its feat to surpassing where it had been. New Orleans got adopted by the entire country"

There is something spiritual happening too, which Besh, naturally, circles back to New Orleans cuisine. "A tremendous awakening, a sharp awareness, coupled with a great business atmosphere, coupled with a great tourism industry fueled by food."

A New Orleans native, James Beard Award winner and food television star, Besh on releases September 29 his third cookbook Besh Big Easy, featuring 101 homestyle recipes channeling , at a time that is both celebratory and cathartic.

"As much as I swore I haven’t done anything anniversary related since the storm," he says, "this was a big one: 10 years. Now we’re looking back on the city to see how it’s evolved."

Besh has too. Besh Big Easy shows his transition g from cooking "everything super chef-y and molecular to now my grandmother’s one-pot recipes that I want to hang on to forever and share with other people." Whereas he guesses his first cookbook called for 20 ingredients per recipe, the entire pantry required for this book is small. He offers a mustard-and-hot-sauce-battered catfish he has never been able to serve at his restaurants and devotes an entire chapter to "Gumbos." Besh is photographed at home, bearded and beside his children. "It’s come full circle in such a short decade. I look at this as a sign of where I am and where the city is and how we’ve all evolved since then."

The number of restaurants in New Orleans as of 2013 was up by at least 11 percent from 2005, according to the Census Bureau. But Besh attests the number has doubled since the storm. He now has 12 spots, most recently opening Shaya, an Israeli restaurant, and Willa Jean, a southern bakery café named after executive pastry chef Kelly Fields' grandmother.

Besh says that with more attention given to chefs, there is more responsibility to preserve the single dishes that embody an entire culture: "I've done the edgy, like methylcellulose, foam of whatever and dehydrated soil—and all of that has a place. But not at the expense of eroding great cultures that I want to see perpetuated. Like mine. I don’t want to deconstructed gumbo. I want a gumbo to be a gumbo 100 years from now. Because it’s f****** righteous."


Recipe Summary

  • 1 ½ pounds colossal shrimp, EZ-peel type (deveined and shells split down the back)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay®) (Optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, or more to taste
  • 2 dashes hot sauce, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary for garnish

Peel shrimp and place into a mixing bowl set shrimp shells aside in a saucepan.

Drizzle vegetable oil over shrimp and season with black pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and seafood seasoning. Mix shrimp to coat with spices and cover bowl with plastic wrap refrigerate shrimp to absorb flavors, at least 1 hour.

Place reserved shrimp shells in saucepan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon butter cook and stir until shells are pink and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in chicken stock, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low simmer until shrimp shells have given off their flavor, 20 to 30 minutes.

Strain shrimp stock through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Stir to combine.

Place a large skillet over high heat until pan is very hot sear shrimp in the very hot, dry pan until shrimp are browned, about 1 minute per side.

Stir 3 tablespoons cold butter, garlic, and minced rosemary into shrimp cook and stir until shrimp are opaque in the middle and garlic is fragrant, 1 minute. Pour in shrimp stock.

Transfer shrimp from skillet to a bowl, using a slotted spoon reserve sauce in skillet. Bring sauce to a boil and cook until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Return shrimp to pan, reduce heat to low, and warm through, about 1 minute. Serve shrimp drizzled with pan sauce garnish with a rosemary sprig.



John Besh's NOLA-Style Jambalaya

John Besh’s name is synonymous with New Orleans. The award-winning chef – whose restaurant, August, features local specialties like Gulf shrimp and Lake Pontchartrain trout – likes to honor his Southern Louisiana heritage in his food – and it shows!

For his Super Bowl Sunday, Besh plans to give a nod to his host town with a hearty jambalaya filled with pork and sausage. “It’s the ultimate tailgating food. You can add anything from shrimp to sausage, chicken to beef,” he shares. “I’ve even used lamb, and guests found it phenomenal!”

Pork and Sausage Jambalaya

Serves 10 to 12
• ½ lb. bacon, diced
• 1 onion, diced
• ½ green pepper, diced
• 1 stalk celery, diced
• 1 lb. smoked pork sausage, sliced
• 3 cups uncooked, converted Louisiana white rice
• 1 tsp. smoked paprika
• 1 tsp. dried thyme
• ½-1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
• 5 cups chicken broth
• 1 cup tomato sauce or canned diced tomatoes
• 2 cups diced cooked pork
• 3 green onions, chopped
• Salt
• Hot sauce

1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat until fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Add onions, stirring often until browned. Add green pepper, celery and sausage cook, stirring often, 3 minutes longer. Add rice, paprika, thyme and red pepper flakes.
2. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, pork and green onions bring to a boil, stirring well. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 18 minutes until rice is done. Remove from heat. Season with salt and hot sauce.


Step 1

1.For the grits, bring 4 cups of lightly salted water to a boil in a medium size heavy pot over high heat. Slowly pour the 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 pot. Simmer the grits until all the water has been absorbed and they are soft, about twenty minutes. Stir in the butter and mascarpone. Remove from heat and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the polenta to keep it from forming a crust.

2.For the shrimp, Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Season the shrimp with Creole Spices and salt. Sauté the shrimp until they start to brown but not cook all the way through. Remove the shrimp and set aside.

3.In the same pan, saut? the andoullie, garlic, shallot, paquillo peppers, and thyme, until they become aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add the Basic Shrimp Stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in the butter and reduce the sauce until nice and thick, 3-5 minutes.

4.Return the shrimp to the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, diced tomatoes, and chives.

5.Spoon 4 healthy tablespoons of the grits into the middle 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.


Watch the video: Carpenters Jambalaya On The Bayou