Festing in Place 2021, Part 1: Dinner Favs

A portrait from New Orleans and The World

This year’s Festing in Place was made even more special by recipes from New Orleans musicians!


Festing in Place

We have been doing various versions of our own virtual festing since 2011 whenever we can’t make it down for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest. But last year, with the dawn of the Covid Pandemic, we had lots of company. We joined in the fun, listing to WWOZ constantly, enjoying fests of old and cooking up all our fest favorites like Crawfish Monica.

But here we are in 2021, the second fest to be cancelled due to the pandemic. Bummed, but ready to celebrate per usual, we were STOKED to find that WWOZ had been collecting all sorts recipes from New Orleans musicians! I had only come across Dr. John’s Raccoon stew that we made when he passed, but here was Louis Armstrong’s Red Beans and Rice, Crawfish Étoufée the Craig Klein Way, Tab Benoit’s Redfish Couvillion, Chubby Carrier’s Creole Chicken, and all sorts of great stuff! Find their full list of “Next Fest Things” here.

large spread of homemade food from new orleans to festing from home wwoz

Once we stopped drooling, we got to work sourcing the ingredients, cooked lots of amazing food, and shared it with lucky fest-loving friends in nearby.

Here is the menu, presented in the order in which you should make everything. Get the red beans and rice going, because it takes 4.5 hours to cook the dried beans and the longer it sits the better it tastes anyway. Next get the dough chilling for the crawfish pie, and make the crawfish pie filling (reserving some for beignets). By now you need a snack so make the pralines. Then get the jambalaya cooking, crawfish pies assembled and baking, and then onto the étouffée which needs all of your focus. Lastly make the beignets to enjoy them hot.

  • “Pops Favorite Dish” aka Louis Armstrong’s Red Beans + Rice
  • Crawfish Pie
  • Pralines (recipe in part 2)
  • Crawfish Étoufée the Craig Klein Way
  • Crawfish Beignets

Note: this “part 1” portrait captures dinner! For brunch and dessert, head over to the “part 2” post. tempting photo below).

homemade brunch feast for festing in place april 2021. classic beignets, crawfish beignets, red beans and rice with fried egg, cold brew coffee and crawfish scrambled eggs
feasting and festing in place 2021, brunch version


WWOZ Festing in Place

Of course, you should already be listening live to WWOZ, but if not, then take a moment to put it on. This should be a permalink to their festing in place, but just google it if it breaks.

As these portraits are part time capsule, I will include the 2021 cubes here.

WWOZ festing in place cubes 2021
WWOZ festing in place cubes 2021

Pro-tip: read it through ahead of time and circle the must=make slots ensure you don’t miss your favorites!

homemade jambalaya and 2021 cubes
homemade jambalaya and the 2021 cubes


“Pop’s Favorite Dish”

Having visited the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, and walking through their fabulous kitchen, we found extra delight in imagining him and Lucille cooking this one up together.

Pops Favorite Dish” – aka Louis Armstrong’s Red Beans + Rice – is relatively simple but takes four and a half hours just in cooking time (owing to the dried beans)! It makes a nice big pot (though unaccompanied, the recipe claims to feed 6) so make sure to invite friends or plan to freeze a bunch.

Or, save some for the next day and top it with a nice crispy, sunny-side-up egg. When that yolk oozes out and mixes with the beans, you’ll be sounding just like Ol’ Sachmo, singing “Ohhhhh, Yeaaaa!” (Reference: the very end (2:10) of the iconic recording of “What a Wonderful World?”


Crawfish Pie

“…Jambalaya, crawfish pie, filé gumbo…” as the song goes. Well, I’ve made jambalaya and filé gumbo each several ties, but had yet to make crawfish pie. It was high time and it was delish. Get on it.

crawfish pies

We used the recipe from 1984 edition (the first!) of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Cookbook by Lorraine Landry and Lee Barnes, which WWOZ shared on their site. We also bought the cookbook thanks to Abe Books so we have a whole lot more recipes to draw on next time.

For the filling, we followed the recipe but used only about a half of it for the mini-pies and reserved some for crawfish beignets (below), as well as crawfish scrambled eggs for brunch!

The recipe didn’t specify a crust so we used Melissa Clark’s version from New York Times cooking. It may seem daunting but it’s simple and delicious; way better than any store bought. She also adds many tips and explanations in her recipe.


Crawfish Étoufée the Craig Klein Way

craig klein's etoufee

And I do believe there is no other way. At Cultures Capsules, we fully endorse requiring proper music to be on and loud (no earbuds!!) so that “the food you are cooking [can be] exposed to the music as well.”

Étouffée is a demanding and merciless dish. One has to be prepared to stir constantly – and for a good while – to avoid burning and clumping. Aside from getting your mis-en-place sorted, Craig Klein’s recipe ensures you are covered because he reminds you to open a bottle of your favorite wine and have it on hand, even before you melt the butter.

table full of mis-en-place, including wine, for craig klein's étouffée
mis-en-place for craig klein’s étouffée, alongside pralines cooling

For Jazzfest-philes Craig needs no introduction, but incase you’re new around here, Craig is grammy-winning musician and composer. He also co-founded the hard-hitting, funk/rock brass band Bonerama (their boneramabrass.com site appears corrupted at time of press so I’ll point you here instead) and was a founding member of the New Orleans Nightcrawlers as well. He has jammed with all sorts of stars and his latest solo album came out at the end of 2020. Check him out!


Crawfish Beignets

Just tuck some of that delicious crawfish pie filling into some beignet dough and fry it up like a regular beignet! If you are also doing plain beignets you should cook them up first in the clean oil. the crawfish/spices will begin to leave a flavor in the oil.


Former Fests

You can dig into festing in place from 2020 or even from year’s prior, before it was a hashtag and we simply missed our beloved fest. Within those you will find recipes for jambalaya, crawfish Meghna (my take on crawfish monica), red beans and rice, and more.

homemade jambalya on the table with marked up cubes for the 2021 festing in place wwoz
jambalaya + cubes

And of course there’s the multi-sensory tribute to jazzfest favorite the one-and-only Dr John where you can make his favorite Raccoon Stew (or veal if it’s what you got/prefer).

racoon stew to celebrate the life of dr john.
dr. john’s fav raccoon (veal here) stew


DIY Second Line Umbrella

diy second line umbrellas

Or make yourself a nice little second line umbrella! There’s always a second line in the lineup.

second line umbrella craft diy all the necessary bits