Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s the meal that gets your motor running. In New Orleans, it is also the meal that gets you thinking about your entire days dining preferences. At tables all across the Crescent City, many people talk about what they will eat for lunch. At lunch, the conservation turns to your dinner dining options. Of course at dinner, you talk about what you will eat tomorrow. Most people eat to live. In New Orleans, you live to eat.

My first recipe is a dish that almost everyone has heard of, Beignets. A trip to New Orleans is not complete without a trip to Café du Monde in the French Quarter for beignets. Open 24 hours a day 364 days a year, closed only on Christmas Day, Café du Monde has been serving beignets since 1862. Although you can buy the Café du Monde Beignet mix locally, I find the beignets don’t puff as much as homemade ones.

Beignets

1 1/2 cups Lukewarm Water
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 envelope Active Dry Yeast
2 Eggs, beaten slightly
1 1/4 teaspoons Salt
1 cup Evaporated Milk
7 cups Bread Flour
1/4 cup Shortening (Crisco), softened
Peanut Oil for Frying
Powdered Sugar for Dusting

Mix water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix the egg mixture into the yeast mixture. App 3 cups of the flour to the mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove the dough from the bowl, place it on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Put dough in the bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours. Preheat peanut oil to 350℉. Roll the dough out, on a lightly floured surface, to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden brown. When beignets are done, quickly drain on paper towels, and then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Breakfast at Brennan’s is one of the most popular meals in New Orleans. It is also one of the most expensive. However after eating a 3 course meal for breakfast or brunch, you will probably not eat the rest of the day. One of the popular entrées for breakfast is Grillades and Grits. Most often made with veal, this dish is a Creole classic. Don’t take the name of the dish too literally. The veal is more often fried instead of being grilled. Either way, it is a delicious dish.

Grillades and Grits

2 pounds of Veal or Beef Round, 1/2-inch thick
1 tablespoons Canola Oil
Creole Seasoning
Flour
1 medium Onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 small Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped
1 cup Tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh Thyme, chopped
3 cups Cooked Grits

Cut the meat into 3-inch squares. Season with Creole Seasoning, and then dredge in the flour shaking off the excess. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Brown the meat lightly and drain on paper towels. Make a roux in the skillet with 2 tablespoons of flour and the remaining oil, browning until it is a rich dark color. Add all remaining ingredients, except grits, to the roux and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. Return the meat to the pan, cover the skillet and cook until tender, about 1 hour, stirring often. Serve the Grillades and sauce over grits.

What a better way to start your day than with one of these wonderful New Orleans dishes! You will not be skipping breakfast anymore.