Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gumbo Madness!

In celebration of Mardi Gras, I've decided to grace you all with a specialty dish that was made famous in Louisiana. Can you guess which dish I'm talking about? No, not fish. Let's try again. Yes! I'm talking about gumbo.
Gumbo is a full flavored soup or stew. Most gumbo recipes vary due to the fact that you can add any meat you like in them. Some people add turkey, some add chicken or sausage. Others leave out meat all together and the beans take home the victory. Not today though. Today, we are going to be using two favorites: chicken and sausage. Let's get our chefs hats and get cooking!

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

You will need:

  • 1 cup oil 
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 2 large onions, chopped 
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped 
  • 4 ribs of celery, chopped 
  • 4 - 6 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 4 quarts chicken stock 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, or to taste 
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 
  • 1 large chicken (young hen preferred), cut into pieces 
  • 2 pounds andouille or smoked sausage, cut into half inch pieces 
  • 1 bunch scallions (green onions), tops only, chopped 
  • 2/3 cup fresh chopped parsley 
  • FilĂ© powder to taste 
NOTE: All items can be found at your local market or grocery store

  1. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning and brown quickly in a large pan.
  2. In another pan, brown the sausage and then drain the fat from the pan.
  3. In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil and cook the flour in the oil over medium to high heat, stirring constantly, until the roux reaches a dark reddish-brown color, almost the color of coffee or milk chocolate for a Cajun-style roux.  If you want to save time, cook it until it is a tan color, over lower heat if you're nervous about burning it.
  4. Add the vegetables and stir quickly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes.
  5. Add the stock, seasonings, chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then cook for about one hour, skimming fat off the top as needed.
  6. Add the chopped scallion tops and parsley, and heat for 5 minutes. Serve over rice if desired.

And voila! You have made a delicious gumbo that you and your family can savor. After you eat, pile on some beads and dance the night away, Mardi Gras style. That is, without shedding clothes, since you already have beads... ^_^ Enjoy!