I am prepared to live anywhere in the world. With the career that David has chosen I have learned not to get my hopes up on our future home(s). However, there are a few places that I would love to live. One of those locations is: New Orleans.
I know some of you may be thinking that I am crazy. Hot, sticky, mosquitos, hurricanes, Creole accents, I love it all. I love the general feel of this city. From the Jazz to the French Architecture. From the bayou to the sticky heat. One of my all time favorite movies is Love Song for Bobby Long. It takes place in New Orleans and my favorite quote is, “New Orleans is a siren of a city. A place of fables and illusion.” That says it all.
Creole cuisine is a world of it’s own. Roux, “the holy trinity” (celery, onion, bell pepper), beignets, gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish. When you have a specific shellfish with a unique way of eating it, you have a world-class cuisine.
Chicken Gumbo (serves 10, beware this makes a lot but it freezes nicely)
1 lb smoked sausage, sliced (Andouille is traditional but I used bockwurst. Kielbasa would work great.)
1 lb chicken breast (thighs would work great)
Spice Blend, recipe following
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp neutral oil (corn, vegetable, sunflower)
1/2 cup rice flour, gluten-free flour blend, plain flour
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
14.5oz/400g can chopped tomatoes
7 cups boiling water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp hot sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, cayenne, onion powder, oregano, thyme
1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add sausage to hot oil and cook until well browned about 5 minutes. Set sausage to the side.
2. Sprinkle Spice Blend over chicken until well covered. Brown chicken on both sides for 3 minutes in dutch oven. Reserve chicken to the side.
3. Add 1/4 cup of oil to the pan and then add the flour. Continue to cook the roux (oil/flour mix) until it is caramel colored. It should start to smell toasted. It takes about 15-20 minutes.
4. Add veggies to the roux and saute until they are tender about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute.
5. Add can of tomatoes and start to scrap the goodness on the bottom of the pan. The liquid will help release the bits.
6. Add in the rest of the ingredients including the sausages, chicken, and the rest of the Spice Blend. Adjust your seasoning. Simmer for 30 minutes.
7. Remove chicken and set aside. Let chicken cool slightly and shred with fingers. Continue to simmer for an hour.
8. 20 minutes before serving add chicken back to the gumbo to heat up. This is also the perfect time to start your rice!
9. Serve with rice, green onions, and HOT SAUCE! Enjoy.
We shared our gumbo with our roommates. They really enjoyed it and it was their first ever gumbo! It brought me right back to Lake Pontchartrain. So, so, so good.