Chipotle-Garlic-CornbreadsChipotle Garlic Cornbreads

Cornbread is always a welcomed accompaniment to any Mardi Gras feast. Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce lend these individual cornbreads a smoky heat. These chilies are available in the Latin section of most grocers. If you can’t find them, try using dried ancho chili powder or smoked paprika. If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to 1 cup of milk, stir, and let sit for two minutes. Serve these cornbreads warm with a whisper of butter.

Makes 6 servings

Butter, for preparing the pan
11⁄4 cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
3⁄4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar of choice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoon finely chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Grease 12 medium-sized muffin cups with butter.
In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, pastry flour, sugar, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs and whisk in buttermilk, olive oil, garlic, and chipotle chilies. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix gently.
Divide batter among muffin cups and bake 12 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cornbread comes out clean. Let cool before unmolding.

TD&N Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 302; Total Fat: 12 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g; Cholesterol: 73 mg; Sodium: 576 mg; Carbohydrates: 42 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 7 g

Louisiana Red Beans and RiceLouisiana-Red-Beans-and-Ric

There is perhaps no dish more closely tied with the Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans than red beans and rice. Instead of the traditional ham hock, this recipe uses ultra-lean Canadian bacon. For better flavor and texture, try using dried beans rather than canned.

Makes 6 servings

11⁄2 cups dried red beans
1 cup brown rice
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne

1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1⁄2 pound cooked Canadian bacon, chopped Cilantro

Place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak the beans overnight in the refrigerator. Drain beans and place them in a large pot with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until tender.
In a separate saucepan, combine rice with 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 3 minutes. Add the beans, broth, celery, bell pepper, tomatoes, bay leaves, cumin, paprika, cayenne, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in Canadian bacon and serve over rice garnished with chopped cilantro.

TD&N Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 371; Total Fat: 6 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 19 mg; Sodium: 585 mg; Carbohydrates: 57 g; Fiber: 14 g; Protein: 22 g