LSU Football…and Food

Football season is here. It’s time to break out the jersey, stock the cooler, clean the grill, and spend the next slew of weekends supporting your favorite team – hopefully LSU.
Tailgating is an American pastime like none other. Old friends scattered all around the country will make it back together a few times a year to cheer the old alma mater.  For many, it’s a tradition to look forward to all year long.
Of course, a tailgate isn’t a tailgate without good food. With that said…here are a few delicious, easy-to-make dishes sure to take your tailgate from good to great:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup bacon drippings
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
3 quarts water
6 cubes beef bouillon
1 tablespoon white sugar
   salt to taste
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®), or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend (such as Tony Chachere’s®), or to taste
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons gumbo file powder
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen cut okra, thawed
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 pound lump crabmeat
3 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons gumbo file powder

Make a roux by whisking the flour and 3/4 cup bacon drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown color. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly, or roux will burn. Remove from heat. Continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.

Place the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Stir the vegetables into the roux, and mix in the sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender–10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Bring the water and beef bouillon cubes to a boil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Stir until the bouillon cubes dissolve, and whisk the roux mixture into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour. Mix in 2 teaspoons of file gumbo powder at the 45-minute mark.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in a skillet, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Mix in crabmeat, shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended, 45 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of file gumbo powder.
Potato Salad

3 lb potatoes (red or white, skins left on)
1 or 2 cup(s) mayonnaise (to taste)
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small handful mini dill pickles, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


One large pot for boiling the potatoes, one large bowl for mixing and serving the salad

Dice potatoes and boil in a pot of salted water until tender, yet firm. Drain and rinse under cold water and leave to dry. In your mixing bowl, combine potatoes, mayonnaise, celery, onions, and pickles, and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Variations: To give the salad a lift, try mixing two or three tablespoons of pesto in with the mayonnaise. For additional flavor, you may want to add two or three chopped hard-boiled eggs. And if your guests like it hot, a seeded, sliced jalapeno pepper can really heat things up.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes
How to eat it: Keep the potato salad covered and chilled in the fridge until it’s time to serve it. Offer it in a large dish and guests can help themselves.

Serves: Six as a side dish

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