Thursday, September 15, 2005

Gumbo in Honor of NOLA


Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

My next-door neighborbbrought me some beautiful okra last night that was grown by a friend of hers. My immediate thought was gumbo. I'll be making it today and sharing it with her and her husband.

Of course, one can hardly think of gumbo without being reminded of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina; at least I can't. The losses to life and property there are horrendous, and the culinary losses significant. The American Culinary Federation has many members affected by Katrina and you can read about it at their page: ACF Disaster Relief Information.

This is the recipe that is a variation on what I was taught in culinary school. Many people prefer it spicier~I recommend added cayenne if that is your choice. Gumbo, to those in Louisiana, is like Marinara to Italians; everyone has their own recipe, and everyone's own recipe is "the only way to make it". This is how I like it-right or wrong. The photo shows added sausage, which is perfectly delicious, about 1/2 a pound does the trick.

Anne's Chicken Gumbo
Printable Recipe

1/2 cup butter or oil
1/2 cup flour
1 large onion - medium dice
4 stalks celery - medium dice
2 large green peppers - medium dice
1 red pepper - medium dice
1 yellow pepper - medium dice
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup tomato puree
4 tomatoes concasse (peeled seeded diced)
2c. okra cut in 1" slices
1 pound boneless skinless chicken (breast or thigh) cooked and diced
2 cloves garlic - minced
1/2 Tablespoon dried basil
1/2 Tablespoon dried oregano
pinch Thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 Tablespoon filé powder (ground sassafras leaves)
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 bay leaf
cooked rice for serving

1. Heat butter or oil in a large pot - add flour and cook until mixture is the color of a copper penny - not a new penny - an old one - nice and dark.
2. Add onion, celery and peppers - cook for several minutes until they begin to 'weep'.
3. Add stock slowly while stirring and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender - about 20 minutes.
4. Add all tomato products and simmer for another 10 minutes.
5. Add chicken, okra and all seasonings except filé powder.
6. Bring to a boil - reduce heat and simmer 15 min.
7. Turn heat off and add filé powder - stir well, remove bay leaf and serve.

For seafood gumbo:

Use 1/2 pound shrimp and 1/2 pound scallops in place of
chicken. Add during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Use fish stock if available (otherwise chicken is fine) and replace parsley with chervil and add 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning.

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