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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Try new recipes with history

If you want to experience courtyard dining in New Orleans, head to the French Quarter. In my opinion, the Court of Two Sisters does outdoor dining better than most. It has been serving diners since 1940. The building’s history goes back further than that.

Two Creole sisters, Emma and Bertha Camors, sold handmade Carnival costumes and formal gowns from 1886 to 1906. The building changed hands a few times until Jimmy Cooper bought the building and opened the now famous Court of Two Sisters in 1940. Upon his death, Joe Fein bought the establishment, which is still in his family.

Today, I want to share a few of their recipes. The first is a Stuffed Cornish Game Hen. Next, Shrimp Toulouse, which can be served as an appetizer or entree. Finally we end the meal with a Pecan Pie. Enough about the restaurant, Let’s head to the kitchen!

One of my favorite things to stuff is a Cornish Game Hen. At the Court of Two Sisters, they use a a version of Dirty Rice. Their blend of andouille and wild rice takes the hen to another level. This is a great dish to serve your guest. They get their own “little chicken”.

Stuffed Cornish Game Hen

6-8 hens

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup white onion, diced

1/3 cup celery, diced

1/3 cup bell pepper, diced

2 cups cooked wild rice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup andouille sausage, ground or chopped fine

Melted butter

Sauté diced vegetables in butter and add sausage and cooked wild rice. Blend together and stuff hens. Place stuffed hens on a baking rack over two cups of water and brush gently with melted butter. Bake in 350℉ oven approximately one hour, switching to broil for the last five minutes to complete browning. Add salt and pepper before serving.

Shrimp Toulouse is a Court of Two Sisters original creation. Served over toast points or in puff pastry, it is also great over rice or pasta. No matter how you serve it, your guest will enjoy it.

Shrimp Toulouse

1/2 pound butter

1 tablespoon shallots, diced

2 green onion stalks, diced

3/4 cup bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup celery, diced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

3 pounds large shrimp, headless, peeled and deveined

1 cup dry white wine or seafood stock

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon onion powder

3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Toast points or puff pastries

Sauté all vegetables but mushrooms in butter until soft, then add shrimp and mushrooms together, simmering until shrimp are bright pink. Add seasonings and then wine or stock, reducing slightly for up to five minutes. Remove from heat and let stand two to three minutes. Serve over toast points or in a puff pastry.

I don’t think there’s a dessert more Southern than Pecan Pie. You can either top this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a caramel sauce. Either way, it’s a great way to end a meal. At the Court of Two Sisters, it’s served a la mode.

Pecan Pie

1 3/4 cups dark corn syrup

2 1/4 cups sugar

6 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons vanilla

1/2 cup butter

2 pie shells

3 cups shelled pecans

Arrange 1 1/2 cups each of the shelled pecans around the two pie shells and bake at 325℉ for five minutes. While you’re waiting, combine sugar and syrup in a mixing bowl. Cream in butter, eggs, salt, and vanilla. Mix on low speed for five minutes. Pour 2 1/2 cups of filling into each prepared pie shell and bake at 325℉ for 40 minutes or until center is firm.

There is a drawback to courtyard dining in New Orleans. There’s usually only a few weeks in which the weather is perfect for outdoor dining. The Court of Two Sister’s does their best to keep the courtyard as cool as possible. Living here in Arkansas, you know that is easier said than done. At least, you now have a few more recipes that are great for dining al fresco.

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