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Chicken Gumbo with Chorizo Sausage

DSC_7656 (1600x1060)This starts as a basic gumbo – cook a dark roux with flour and oil, add the Cajun trinity of diced onions, celery, and green peppers.  Let the veggies cook for a few minutes then add chicken broth.  I browned chicken thighs and fresh chorizo in a separate pan then added those to the simmering broth.  The fresh chorizo is where this veers off the normal path.  Alas, I had no more Andouille and it really wanted sausage.  The recipe uses a homemade seasoning from this recipe.  That NOLA site is a goldmine for this style of cooking and you can do worse than spending a while looking over all the recipes.

When the sausage and chicken are cooked through remove them to cool, slice the sausage and strip the chicken meat from the bones and add it all back to the pot.  This will take a couple of hours.  I did the roux atop the stove on a medium high heat and stirred it constantly lest it burn, using a flat wooden spatula to keep the bottom scraped.  That took 20 minutes or so.

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Duck and Tasso Gumbo

 

We had some duck meat left over from yesterday so I looked around for something to do with it and ran across this recipe.  It looked fine and all but I didn’t use it.  Thanks for the idea though!  I went my usual route with a brown roux (made with duck fat!) and the trinity of green peppers, celery, onion, and a half a bag of frozen okra.  I did have tasso in the freezer, my last, so it went in with the diced duck meat.  I made a stock from the duck carcass and I could taste just a hint of the sweet orange glaze that still clung to the bits of skin that went into the stock pot.  Didn’t hurt a thing.  Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning flavored the dish.  At the table I added hot sauce to mine – recommended if you are more tolerant than Mrs J!

Gumbo!

I was working on this when we decided to make a run to town yesterday, I had the gumbo simmering sans the shrimp – they are added in the last minutes before the stew is ladled into the bowls for the table.  We got back and needed to eat because we were both running a little low but I hadn’t made any rice yet.  We did the Reuben sammiches and saved the gumbo for the evening meal.  This one has Andouille sausage, shrimp, and chicken, and is served over white rice.  Add hot sauce to taste.  This fellow has some great Cajun recipes, here is a very good gumbo recipe you can adapt to any sort of meat.

Mmm… spicy gumbo

A basic gumbo with tasso, chicken,  pickled pork, plenty of hot sauce and creole seasonings.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Mardi Gras!

I’m getting ready to travel again, so I’m swamped with getting everything done at work and home.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate Fat Tuesday with some New Orleans style food and drink.  Bring on your party recipes.  And next week let’s go vegetarian.

I wanted to do gumbo, but didn’t have time to recipe test anything this week, except a death-by-chocolate Texas Sheet Cake, and I find my own gumbo recipes lacking. Luckily when it comes to gumbo, JeffreyW runs circles around me.  Here’s his take on a shrimp gumbo:

I was rummaging about in the big freezer and turned up a stick of Andouille sausage.  That put me of a mind to make a pot of gumbo.  I noticed that Alton Brown was touting a method of making a brown roux in the oven that seemed to be foolproof, and didn’t require one to stand over the stove stirring for a half hour and more:

Place the vegetable oil and flour into a 5 to 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven and whisk together to combine. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 1/2 hours, whisking 2 to 3 times throughout the cooking process.

Seemed to work pretty well:

This was after 90 minutes.  It could have spent a little longer and been a bit more brown but I went with it as you see it.  More or less following Alton’s recipe, I put it over a medium flame on the cooktop and stirred in diced celery, green peppers, and onion.  The roux turned right away into thick mud but I kept stirring it until the veggies softened a bit, about ten minutes.  Next was several cups (4-5?) of the stock the chicken I used was cooked in, fortified with some Creole seasoning, along with the canned tomato bits I used in lieu of fresh.  I did have fresh thyme and even grow my own bay leaves now.  That simmered for a half hour before I added the cooked chicken, thawed pre-cooked shrimp, and the sliced and browned Andouille sausage.

Serve over rice, and be sure to have a bottle of hot sauce on the table lest you be taunted.

Hit the comments with your own Mardi Gras recipes and I’ll see you next week!  - TaMara

Cross-posted at Balloon-Juice.

Chicken Gumbo

Sorry about the light posting, we’ve had some work in the kitchen done – some new countertops along with a new sink.  That didn’t take too long, and didn’t cause me any pain or suffering.  Taking the old countertop to the basement and installing it in a corner down there did take some time and effort.  Noticing the lighting was poor hit me when I was weak and feeling handy.  Gah.  Nothing for it but to replace a dozen cheap shop light fixtures with more cheap fixtures.  But hey!  They have electronic instant on gizmos!

Now I wait for the new single bowl sink to fit into the hole the old one came out of so Mrs J can have a nice dog wash/deskunking station.  It’s near where a clothes washer was installed so the drain and water hook ups are close by and pose no particular problem for this old plumber.  Now then, where was I?  Ah –Just a basic gumbo, this one with chicken, Andouille sausage, and tasso.

Gumbo Nights

I was rummaging about in the big freezer and turned up a stick of Andouille sausage.  That put me of a mind to make a pot of gumbo.  I noticed that Alton Brown was touting a method of making a brown roux in the oven that seemed to be foolproof, and didn’t require one to stand over the stove stirring for a half hour and more:

Place the vegetable oil and flour into a 5 to 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven and whisk together to combine. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 1/2 hours, whisking 2 to 3 times throughout the cooking process.

Seemed to work pretty well:

This was after 90 minutes.  It could have spent a little longer and been a bit more brown but I went with it as you see it.  More or less following Alton’s recipe, I put it over a medium flame on the cooktop and stirred in diced celery, green peppers, and onion.  The roux turned right away into thick mud but I kept stirring it until the veggies softened a bit, about ten minutes.  Next was several cups (4-5?) of the stock the chicken I used was cooked in, fortified with some Creole seasoning, along with the canned tomato bits I used in lieu of fresh.  I did have fresh thyme and even grow my own bay leaves now.  That simmered for a half hour before I added the cooked chicken, thawed pre-cooked shrimp, and the sliced and browned Andouille sausage.

Serve over rice, and be sure to have a bottle of hot sauce on the table lest you be taunted.

Mmm…gumbo

I bought some roux in a jar with the last order from that Cajun grocer and decided to give it a spin today.  Disaster!  It was awful tasting.  I dumped the whole pot into a colander to drain the offending sauce away.  Seriously thought about rinsing every last bit away but figured that would be overkill.

I made another roux in a clean pot-not the dark roux I was really wanting but it was fairly brown, about a milk chocolate.  I dumped the remainders from the colander back into this new roux and gave it a brief stir before I added another quart and a half of chicken stock.

It turned out pretty good on the second try.

Enjoy!

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On Gumbo: Kirk Spencer

After reading my plea for a good gumbo recipe,  friend of blog, Kirk, came through again:

I’m not going to give you a recipe. In part it’s because there is no such thing as a perfect recipe anyone can share.  There are a lot of good recipes you can make perfect for you, but that’s a wee bit different.

It’s also because I’d like to concentrate on a couple of critical elements to making a great gumbo.  The first, and the cornerstone, is dark roux.

Good Eats had a decent technique for making dark roux, but I’ve still burned it going the oven route.  I’ve instead got a couple of tricks that work for me which I’ll share.

The first is to start by making a dry roux.  That is, you cook flour, dry, till it’s the color you want.  Now you’ll see this recommended as a ‘low fat’ technique, but I don’t go that way — gotta have my fat. What I do is add the fat near the end, about the time it’s chocolate but not yet brick.  (Chocolate is dark brown.  Brick is darker brown with just a somewhat reddish tint, and it goes to burned pretty soon after that.  In a perfect world you want brick.  In most worlds you settle for something between chocolate and brick.)

The second trick is to add mass near the end.  In other words you’ve got your roux going and it’s become chocolate.  You add your mirepoix and keep going.  The additional mass helps slow the heat going to the roux.  The risk here is that your addition will have enough moisture to kick the roux into its thickening process.  Because of this I tend to add as close to brick as I can while still short of that point.

By the way – cast iron is not good for dark roux unless you’re using the mass trick, and even then you can expect it to go bad a time or two.  It’s the cast iron advantage of being a heat sink working against you this time.

I said I’d share some more things.  The next thing is file’.  This might – unless you’ve had it before – be your special spice. File is dried and ground sassafras leaves.  If you bought it in a store there’s a very good chance it wasn’t really file — a lot of commercial companies doctor it with some thyme and bay and, well, a few other things. If it’s right it is green and smells very similar to but not exactly like coriander.

File, in addition to being a spice, will also thicken the gumbo.  But don’t add it during the cooking.  If you do it has a bad habit of  threading.  Instead, add it after you pull the pot from the stove. Alton Brown recommends either/or for okra or file thickening. I instead recommend using okra to get it slightly thickened during the cooking then file at the end to make it rib-sticking thick.  But I like thick soups, so again your mileage may vary.  As a last note, some very good cooks can add file while the stove is on the fire and not get threads.  Once more, ymmv.

Finally, a clue.  Gumbo is a thick stew that uses a dark roux as the critical spice.  Everything else is an option. Venison/beef/mutton/seafood? Turnips? Kale? No problem, really.  Make a dark roux, add some chunks and liquid, add more chunks of what you like, spice to taste, thicken it with okra and/or file, enjoy (usually over rice).  Really and truly, there is no true gumbo.

Kirk

Thanks Kirk, I can always count on your for the real stuff…

Gumbo

I’ve got nothin.  Reached back into the archives for some gumbo.  Pictures are captioned, mostly.  I mention the “trinity”-onions, bell peppers, and celery.  You don’t need much in the way of seasonings other than what you see in the pics.  Ground red pepper or hot sauce will make it as hot as you want.  Set a bottle of Tabasco on the table.  Salt to taste.

Enjoy!

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