HOUSTON – You don’t need to drive far to celebrate Mardi Gras. Instead, bring a taste of Louisiana to your own Mardi Gras party with some classic Cajun cooking.
Drake Leonards, executive chef at Eunice in Greenway Plaza, shared two recipes to transport you and your guests to the jazzy streets of New Orleans.
If you got friends coming over, light bites like Cajun duck poppers are convenient and a nice dish to get the party started.
“You can cook these on a pan, you can do these on the grill, you can do these in the oven, you can do them in a boiler,” said Leonards, who also shared a version of milk punch with King cake flavor.
“I love to set up a bar in my house, have our mix, and then you can pour your own booze. If you don’t want to add booze, this will work great, just as well. I like to top it with just a touch rum, but brandy would work just as well,” said Leonards, who reminded everyone about the importance of Mardi Gras.
“Mardi Gras is just another reason to gather around the table,” he said.
To see Leonards’s complete interview, watch the video above.
Cajun duck poppers
• 1 ½ lbs. mallard duck breast, skin removed and cut into 1/4-inch X 2-inch strips
• ¼ cup creole seasoning
• 3 each pickled jalapeno, sliced thin
• 10 strips thick cut smoked bacon
• 4 ounces cream cheese
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
• Salt & pepper
• 6 ounces cane syrup
• 6 ounces sherry or balsamic vinegar
1. Rub the duck breasts with creole seasoning.
2. Sear the duck breasts in a minimal amount of oil in a cast-iron skillet just until a crust forms.
3. Chill the duck breast, then slice.
4. Wrap each breast strip around a slice of pickled jalapeno, then wrap a piece of bacon around the duck.
5. Skewer the poppers with a bamboo skewer.
6. Allow the cream cheese to soften at room temperature.
7. Once soft, mix in the herbs and season with salt and pepper.
8. Add the cane syrup and vinegar to a small sauce pot.
9. Reduce the syrup vinegar mix by half.
10. Grill the skewers of poppers until the bacon is crispy and slightly charred.
11. Smear some of the cream cheese in a line on a plate.
12. Remove the poppers from the skewer and place on top of the cream cheese.
13. Drizzle some of the cane syrup over the poppers.
King’s Cake Milk Punch
• 1.5 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum
• 4 oz Half and half infused with orgeat, cinnamon, vanilla, orange zest
• Infused cream
• Purple, gold and green sugar
1. Pour rum into glass.
2. Add ice.
3. Fill with infused cream.
4. Garnish with purple, gold and green sugar.
5. Top with King Cake baby.
Recipes provided by Drake Leonards.