Hot Jazz Recipes from Riverwalk Jazz

Photo - Holiday dinner at the Armstrong's, 1960s. Photo from Louis Armstrong, The Offstage Story of Satchmo, the official book of the Louis Armstrong House & Archives.

Louis Armstrong's Red Beans and Rice

1 pound kidney beans (sorted, rinsed and soaked, see below)
1/2 pound salt pork (slab bacon may be used if preferred)
1 small can of tomato sauce (if desired)
6 small ham hocks or one smoked pork butt
2 onions, diced
1/4 green (bell) pepper
5 tiny or 2 medium dried peppers
1 clove of garlic, chopped
salt to taste

Directions: Wash beans thoroughly, then soak overnight in cold water. Be sure to cover beans. To cook, pour water off beans, add fresh water to cover. Add salt pork or bacon and let come to a boil over full flame in (5-quart) covered pot [or dutch oven]. Turn flame down to slightly higher than low and let cook 1 1/2 hours. Add diced onions, bell pepper, garlic, dried peppers, and salt. Cook 3 hours. Add tomato sauce and cook 1 ½ hours more, adding water whenever necessary. Beans and meat should always be just covered with liquid, never dry. Serve over cooked rice with Spicy Pepper Cornbread on the side.

Spicy Pepper Cornbread. Photo courtesy

Louis Armstrong's Spicy Pepper Cornbread (from Louis Armstrong House & Archives)

3 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup cream-style corn
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped jalapeno peppers

Directions: Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and pour into  a 9 x 13-inch ungreased pan. Bake in preheated oven at 350° for 30 minutes.

Photo - Broadway actor Vernel Bagneris, 2007. Photo by Jamie Karutz

Vernel Bagneris' Cognac Shrimp

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup thinly sliced shallots
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper to taste
1 dash red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup cognac
½ cup heavy cream

Directions: Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté the garlic and shallots until lightly browned.  Stir in the shrimp, and season with salt and pepper, and red pepper.  Mix in the tomato paste.  Pour cognac into the skillet, and stir to loosen browned bits from bottom.  Reduce heat to low and stir in the heavy cream.  Simmer 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.


Bob Wills' Texas Playboys Cornetist Danny Alguire's Texas Chili

Drummer Hal Smith shares this recipe for Texas Chili that he got from Bob Wills' cornetist, Danny Alguire. Alguire made this chili for his own birthday party in 1977 which Hal attended.  He raved about the chili so Alguire was kind enough to give him a copy.;


Photo - Danny Alguire (L) with Bob Wills' Texas Playboys, 1937. Photo from

Directions: Combine the following in a one-quart bowl:
1 ½ oz. chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
4 to 8 small, dry red chilies, crushed
1 to 3 dashes Tabasco sauce

Pour one pint boiling water over the above and stir until blended. Melt a bit of shortening in large skillet (or Dutch oven). Dice I onion and sauté until it starts to brown.  Add 3 pounds ground beef and brown only until the red color is gone. Constantly separate the meat so that it becomes individual grains. Add 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pour combination of spices and water over the meat and stir thoroughly. Add a small can of tomato sauce. Simmer for about an hour until all the water is cooked out. (Cook uncovered stir occasionally) Heat a large can of beans in a separate pan. Serve chili over beans.

Image - Vintage Strawberry Ice Cream Sign from

Strawberry Ice Cream

1 quart fresh hulled strawberries
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 cup white sugar
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Directions: Put the berries into a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Pour into a large bowl, and set aside. Heat 1 1/4 cups of the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until the cream begins to bubble at the edge of the pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, corn syrup and remaining 1/4 cup of cream. Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. This should take about 5 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Strain custard into the berry puree through a sieve, mix, and refrigerate until chilled. Fill an ice cream maker with the mixture, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.