Grillin With the Guru – Tasso Balls & Shrimp Etoufee King Cake

Guru Mardi Gras Recipes

These recipes celebrate the best of carnival season and Cajun Mardi Gras. The etouffee and tasso gravy can be prepared a day or two before.  Working with these two dishes cold makes the rest of preparation very easy.

Guru Tasso Rice Balls

Making a good gravy is critical as the entire dish is built on it. 


  • 2 cups white rice
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 lb. Smoked tasso (finely diced)
  • 1 medium White onion (chopped)
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic (chopped)
  • 2 cups Water or chicken stock
  • Louisiana Love Seasoning Blends to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Corn starch (dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water)
  • 1 cup Green onions (sliced)
  • 3 medium Eggs
  • 1 quart Vegetable oil for frying
  • 8 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese (cut into ½ inch cubes)
  • 1 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Whole milk
  • 3 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup Heavy cream


  1. Cook rice according to package directions and allow to cool.
  2. Place a heavy pot over medium-high heat and add oil.
  3. Once hot add diced tasso and onions.  Allow to start browning, then stir.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and continue to brown stirring occasionally until onions and tasso are a deep mahogany brown color.
  5. Add water, or stock, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot well.
  6. Add Louisiana Love Seasoning to taste, cover, and reduce to simmer.
  7. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the tasso is tender.
  8. Add corn start solution until gravy is thick enough to coat a spoon.
  9. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  10. Add green onions.
  11. Add tasso gravy to the rice until the mixture is very moist, but still solid.
  12. Note: There should still be a couple of cups of gravy remaing.
  13. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  14. Allow to cool.
  15. Crack two eggs into a bowl and beat well.
  16. Add eggs to tasso gravy and rice mixture and stir to combine.
  17. Place a deep skillet over medium-high heat, add vegetable oil, and heat to 375˚.
  18. While oil is heating form mixture into balls that would fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.
  19. Note: If mixture is too loose, add a tablespoon or two of flour and allow to sit for five minutes.
  20. Place one piece of cheese in the middle of ball and form mixture around to completely enclose the cheese.
  21. Place the flour into a suitable tray or dinner plate and season with 1 tablespoon of Louisiana Love.
  22. Place the milk in a bowl, add and egg, 1 tablespoon of Louisiana Love, and beat together.
  23. Place the panko in a suitable tray and season with 2 tablespoons of Louisiana Love.
  24. Bread each ball by passing them in the flour, then egg wash, then panko.
  25. Place 4 or 5 balls into the oil being careful not to overcrowd the skillet.
  26. Fry until browned on all sides.
  27. Remove to a wire rack lined pan and into a 170˚ oven to keep warm. 
  28. Add cream to remaining gravy and bring to boil. 
  29. Reduce to simmer, cooking for 5-7 minutes.
  30. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  31. Serve by placing some of the sauce on the bottom of a platter, arrange tasso balls on the sauce, and top with remaining sauce.

Shrimp Etouffeé King Cake

This king cake is unlike any other you’ve had.  It’s rich and savory.  It also comes together very easily with the use of canned crescent roll dough.

Carnival colored cream cheese sauce looks like traditional sweet frosting but is savory and completes the look.  Enjoy this incredible dish!

The shrimp etouffeé in this dish was prepared ahead of time.  Crawfish, shrimp, or any other etouffeé can be used.

A great mix called C’est Tou Fe’ is a fantastic alternative to homemade and saves a lot of time. 


  • 2 cans Prepared crescent roll dough
  • 3-4 cups Prepared etouffeé of choice
  • 2 cups Cooked white rice (cooled)
  • 2 ounce Butter (melted)
  • 1 lb. Cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • Purple, yellow, and green food coloring
  • ½ cup Green onions (sliced)


  1. Prepare a hardwood fire to one side of the grill adjusting the heat to 350˚.
  2. Lightly oil a round baking sheet and arrange crescent roll dough in a circle with the points of the triangles facing out towards the edge of the baking sheet with the bottoms just touching each corner.
  3. Combine the ettoufeé sauce and rice until solid, but still quite moist.
  4. Distribute the etouffeé along the base of the dough ring in a continuous mound leaving a little of the dough along the base exposed.
  5. Fold the points over the etouffeé ring lightly pressing into the exposed dough along the base. 
  6. Brush all the exposed dough with melted butter.
  7. Place baking sheet over indirect fire and bake for 15 minutes, then turn pan 180˚ and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until dough is golden brown.
  8. While the cake is baking, place the cream cheese in a suitable bowl.
  9. Using a hand mixer, or whisk, blend in cream until mixture is fluid, but still thick.
  10. Season to taste with salt only.
  11. Divide into thirds and color each using food coloring.
  12. Note: Combine equal parts red and blue to make purple.
  13. Remove cake from grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  14. Decorate with each of the colors and top with green onions.

Alternative: Adding honey to the cream cheese will give a slightly sweet and rich taste.  Pepper jelly can also be used for a different flavor profile. 

Stay hungry!