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Let the good times roll: Recipes

The original recipes were modified in a few cases to make a more cohesive and tantalizing menu at Sansone's Bistro. In the case of this gumbo recipe, for instance, roasted pork was substituted for the chicken so the menu wouldn't be "chicken heavy." Additionally, alligator sausage was added to the Chicken Provencal recipe.

Chef Don's Gumbo

Season and brown 1 chicken, cut up and boned, in lard or bacon drippings over medium heat. Add 1½ pounds Andouille sausage to the pot and sauté with chicken. Remove both from pot.

Make a roux with 1 cup oil and 1 cup flour and cook to desired color (a very dark brown). Add 4 cups chopped onions, 2 cups chopped celery and 2 cups chopped green pepper. Add 1 tablespoon chopped garlic to mixture and stir continuously. After vegetables reach their desired tenderness, return chicken and sausage to pot and cook with vegetables, continuing to stir frequently. Gradually stir in 8 cups stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour more. Season to taste*.

Approximately 10 minutes before serving, add green onions. Serve over rice or as a soup without rice, accompanied by French bread.

*Filé, a fine green powder of young dried sassafras leaves, is often used in gumbo for flavor and thickening. It may be placed on the table for individuals to add to the gumbo if they wish; ¼ to ½ teaspoon per serving is recommended.

Makes 15-20 servings.

Corn Maque Choux

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add ½ cup chopped onion and ½ cup chopped green pepper and, stirring frequently, cook for 5 minutes or until tender.

Stir in 4 cups whole kernel corn, 1 tomato, cored seeded and chopped, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon Tabasco. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the corn is tender.

Shrimp and Crab Etouffe

Peel and devein 3 pounds raw, unpeeled shrimp.

In Dutch oven, melt 1½ sticks butter. Add 1 cup finely chopped onion, ¼ cup finely chopped green pepper and ¼ cup finely chopped celery; cook until tender. Add 4 cloves garlic, minced.

Dissolve 4 teaspoons cornstarch in 1 cup chicken stock. Add to sautéed vegetables. Add ½ cup white wine, stirring constantly. Add 4 teaspoons tomato paste, ¼ cup finely chopped green onions, ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce. Blend well.

Add prepared shrimp and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. If necessary, add more stock. Add salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste. Add 1 pound crabmeat, stirring gently, and continue cooking until heated through. Serve on a bed of steamed rice.

Don described the presentation of this dish as "a ring of rice with etouffe in middle and mound of crabmeat on top."

Makes 6 servings.

Lemon Sesame Asparagus

Wash 2 pounds fresh asparagus and break off the ends by gently bending each stalk. Steam the asparagus over boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes, just until tender-crisp. Remove to a heated serving dish and keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, brown 2 teaspoons sesame seeds in 1 tablespoon butter. Add 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon Tabasco.

Pour the sauce over the asparagus and garnish with thin lemon slices.

Makes 4 servings.

Chicken Provencal

Cut 1 fryer into pieces and dry thoroughly. Mix ½ cup flour, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roll chicken in flour. In a large skillet, heat ½ cup olive oil; slowly brown chicken. Transfer chicken to a shallow, 2-quart casserole.

Dissolve 2 chicken bouillon cubes in 1 cup boiling water. Using the skillet in which the chicken was fried, pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add ½ cup chopped green pepper, 12 small white onions, peeled, ¼ cup chopped green onions and 4 cloves garlic, minced; sauté 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley; ½ cup dry white wine; bouillon; 1 bay leaf; 6 medium tomatoes that have been peeled, seeded and cut into strips; ½ cup ripe olives, halved; ¼ teaspoon thyme; 2 teaspoons salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon Tabasco. Simmer 5 minutes. Pour mixture over chicken.

Cover and bake 45 minutes. Remove bay leaf and garnish with another 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.

Makes 4 serving

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Crumble one 10-ounce loaf stale French bread (or use 6 to 8 cups of any type bread, crumbled or cubed).

Combine 4 cups milk, 2 cups sugar, 8 tablespoons melted butter, 7 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 cup raisins, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup chopped pecans, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon nutmeg. Pour over bread and mix to combine; mixture should be very moist but not soupy. Pour into a buttered 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Place into a non-preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Rum sauce: Cream 1 stick butter with 1½ cups powdered sugar over medium heat until all butter is absorbed. Remove from heat and blend in 2 egg yolks. Pour in ½ cup bourbon (or rum, if preferred), stirring constantly. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve warm over bread pudding. Makes 16-20 servings.