For the more pious among us, Wednesday marks the start of Lent and its accompanying fast, or at the very least, giving up a bad habit or two until Easter Sunday (or Holy Thursday, depending on your denomination of choice). Now, the only thing I usually give up for Lent is giving up things for Lent, but that won’t stop me from celebrating Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, with some classic, Louisiana-inspired recipes such as these.

Duck Gumbo
Scott Leysath, the Sporting Chef, shares a great recipe for duck gumbo in his recurring column over at the Ducks Unlimited website.

Wild Game Dirty Rice
My personal version of rice dressing is a clean-out-the-freezer kind of recipe, but the more traditional take on this Cajun classic utilizes giblets, livers, and other offal. Hank Shaw has a pretty good version on his blog.

Hobo Pack Cajun Boil
Dig up your August 2013 issue of Field & Stream for my campfire-friendly way to enjoy a taste of Louisiana in hobo pack form. Or, if you can’t find the issue, throw some chopped onions and green peppers on a double layer of foil. Top with crawfish tails, sliced sausage, and a piece of fish. Season and splash in some beer. Seal up the foil packet, throw it onto a fire and let things steam until the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes or so.

Po’ Boy
Learn how to make a classic roast beef po’ boy the America’s Test Kitchen way.

Often considered America’s first cocktail, the Sazerac is a New Orleans classic, having been first mixed there in the mid-1800s. Use Peychaud’s bitters if you can get your hands on some, though admittedly I usually only have Angostura in my bar. Also my version swaps out simple syrup for a mix of honey and hot water, but traditionally you would muddle a sugar cube with the bitters.

Honey Sazerac

– ½ Tbsp Tupelo honey
– ½ Tbsp hot water
– 3 dashes bitters
– Absinthe
– 2 oz. rye whiskey
– Lemon peel

1. Pour a small splash of absinthe into a lowball glass and roll to coat. Place the glass in the freezer to chill.

2. In a cocktail shaker, mix the honey and water together until honey is dissolved. Add the bitters.
Fill cocktail shaker with ice, then add whiskey. Shake cocktail shaker the same number of times as your age. If you’re over 50, shake half your age.

3. Dump the absinthe from the chilled glass, and strain the rye mix into the glass. Squeeze twist of lemon over and add as garnish.

4. Sip and Laissez les bons temps rouler.