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Monday, October 26, 2009

Chicken Andouille Sausage Gumbo

Sunday. Snow. Football. Gumbo. There are laws of nature over which mere mortals have no control. Gravity. Solar system rotation. Menu options for a snowy football Sunday. Soup of any kind is allowed. A big pot roast, or maybe a slow cooked marinara on top of the stove. In any case it must be a dish that makes the house smell absolutely wonderful, makes you want to put on your sweats, sit in front of the fire, and eat in front of the big screen. Yesterday, we made Gumbo. Hang on to your hats, folks. We're taking a trip down south to the Big Easy. All you purists out there, you may want to log on to a Paul Prudhomme site, 'cause I had to go a non-traditional route. 4 hours is just too long to wait. The natives get restless. This is one yummy bowl of deliciousness.

Here's what we need to make this: 6 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 2 onions, 2 red peppers, (Traditionally, green peppers are used, but I don't like them). 4 stalks celery, 3 links Andouille sausage, 1 - 2 bags frozen sliced okra (to your liking), (1) 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, 5 garlic cloves, a bunch of parsley, vegetable oil, flour, home made chicken stock (if you have it), a wee bit of white wine, cayenne pepper, Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, a few bay leaves, and rice.

The key to good Gumbo is a good Roux. In order to make a good roux, you must pay attention to it. That said, we'll make our roux after prepping everything else. Clean up the chicken thighs by cutting off all the fat. Dice them up and season them with salt and pepper. Set aside. Then, chop up the onions, celery, red peppers, and garlic. Then slice up the Andouille sausage. (I didn't really do all of the chopping. O.K. I admit it, I did none of the chopping, as Hubby H did it all. What a great guy!). Get out the chicken stock, and put everything next to the stove.  Get out a giant empty bowl and put it next to the stove, as well.
Start by swirling some vegetable oil in a giant Dutch oven. We'll make the whole shootin' match in this one pot, except for the rice. Heat it up on medium high heat. Carefully add the chopped up chicken to the pot. It will splatter.

Leave it alone for a few minutes. What we're doing here is browning the chicken to create more flavor. After the chicken is browned all over, take it out of the pot and put it in the giant empty bowl. Now, add the celery to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.

See the dark brown crusty stuff stuck to the sides of the pot? That's fond, which is another word for flavor. So, brown up the celery for a few minutes. If it starts to stick, add a little more oil. Take it out of the pot and put it in the giant bowl. Now, throw in the onions, red pepper and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Notice there's a theme here? Season every step of the way. If you wait till the dish is done, it just tastes salty, not seasoned. Saute it for a few minutes, the put it in the giant bowl.

Now's the time to get all of the yummy flavor stuck to the side of the pot. Add about 3/4 cup white wine to deglaze the pot. Take a whisk and scrape the sides of the pot like there's no tomorrow. You'll have to tilt the pot in order to get the wine up to the sides to scrape off all the yumminess up on the sides. You can use some chicken broth to deglaze, but it doesn't have the acidity of wine, so it won't work quite as well.

See all that beautiful brown liquid? That's nothing but flavor. Add it to the giant bowl.
Now it's time to make our Roux. If you have something else to do in the next 30 minutes, do it now, before you start. Burned roux cannot be salvaged.
For the love of all that is holy, do not clean out the pot!
Start by adding equal parts vegetable oil and all purpose white flour to the pot over medium heat. (About 1 and 1/4 cups each)

Bad picture! Please forgive the horrendous photography. I have to stand on my tippy toes and raise the camera over my head to get the stove shots. I'll consider standing on a stool in the future. Whisk it together. It will look (and taste) at this point, like paste. Keep stirring with the whisk.
Note the time.

Keep stirring. It will begin to look like peanut butter. Keep stirring.

20 minutes later, the roux is done. It should look like melted dark chocolate.

Now, turn the heat to low and dump in the can of undrained tomatoes, the entire contents of the giant bowl, including all liquid, 2 quarts chicken stock, bay leaves, and sausage. Give it a good stir. If it's too thick, add more chicken stock to get the consistency you like. Season with Cayenne pepper.

Bring it up to a simmer, then add a bag (or 2) frozen sliced okra. Simmer Gumbo 20 - 30 minutes.

During the simmer time, make the rice. Just plain old white rice. One part rice to 2 parts water. So, combine about 2 cups rice and 4 cups water in a sauce pot. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover with a lid. No peeking for about 15 minutes.

When the rice is done, take an ice cream scoop and scoop out a nice serving of rice. Put in the center of a bowl. After tasting the gumbo for correct seasoning, surround the rice with a big ladle of soup.

Top it off with fresh chopped flat leaf parsley, and dig in.

Any leftovers can go straight into the freezer. This freezes beautifully.

Chicken Sausage Gumbo:

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 links Andouille sausage (or any other smoked sausage)
2 onions
2 Red bell peppers
4 stalks celery, peeled and chopped, including the leaves (they're delicious)
1 - 2 bags frozen sliced okra
2 quarts chicken stock
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 bay leaves
3 Tbls fresh flat parsley
Salt, pepper, and Cayenne pepper to taste
2 cups long grain white rice
4 cups water

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About Me

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
I'm a home cook that can put some good tasting food on the table, most of the time. My family knows dinner is ready when the fire alarm goes off.