Tag Archives: gumbo

Chicken-andouille gumbo

I’ve been thinking recently about things that get better with time – from men to fine wine, the age element can turn a pretty good thing into a really great thing.

When my friend Merissa sent me this recipe a year ago, she warned not to eat it the day you make it. She said it gets much better the second day. But after smelling it cook for four hours, could you resist? Merissa first made this for a large group a year ago (photo above). I made it for a couple of hungry bellies last weekend.

The recipe takes roughly 4-5 hours, but saying it’s worth it is an understatement. First, you brown 4 lbs. of chicken thighs and two kinds of pork, during which Grant said the house smelled like cracklins (and that’s no complaint!). Then, you stir a dark mahogany roux for 25 minutes (a task made easier with a glass of wine in hand) and add a ton of onion, garlic and celery hearts (I omitted the green bell pepper because I hate it). A dash of spice here and a crunch of pepper there and it will bubble away for the next 2.5-3 hours.

I did not add gumbo file, because I didn’t know it existed until afterward, but of course you can add this classic gumbo flavoring, if you have it.

Served over rice, or with some buttered toast, this is delectable. And that was just the first day. The second day, the sauce is thicker and richer – spicier, more peppery, better seasoned, and just generally more gumbo-looking.

I adapted this to  my liking – feel free to improvise!

Chicken-Andouille Gumbo

Ingredients:

  • 4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage
  • 1 lb. smoked ham
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • Heart of a celery cluster – small handful, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 (32 -oz.) boxes chicken broth (less sodium)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Hot cooked rice or cornbread
  • Sliced green onions, for topping

1. Cut first 3 ingredients into bite-size pieces. In batches, place meat in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, and cook, stirring often, 20 minutes or until browned. Drain on paper towels. (you really don’t need to if you skim off the fat the next day). Wipe out Dutch oven with paper towels.

2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat, gradually whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 25 minutes or until it is a dark mahogany.

3. Stir in onions, celery and garlic; cook, stirring often, 18 to 20 minutes or until tender. Gradually add broth. Stir in chicken, sausage, ham, thyme, black pepper and paprika.

4. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat. reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in parsley . Remove from heat; serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish with green onion.

I can promise you will enjoy this, friends! Especially the day after… xoxo

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If it exists, fry it

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Whooee! We just got back from an exciting week with 13 family members in a beach house near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was beautiful – sunsets, palm trees, sand that feels like flour and lots and lots of good food. We cooked in and ate out and we never went to bed hungry (or sober).

Our first night, we ate at the Inlet Crab House, which specializes in fresh seafood caught off the Atlantic Coast and then fried. We ordered the oyster shooters to start, of course:

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Feeling festive, both Jesse and I ordered the softshell crab for our entrees:

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Mine came in a sandwich, with a side of coleslaw and Southern green beans (read: overcooked). It was tasty, but once I cut it open and saw all the yellow guts inside the crab, it didn’t have the same appeal that it used to. I think my Spider Roll ordering days are over.

IMG_4019A couple nights later, we dined at a fabulously upscale restaurant, where each plate had no less than one pound of seafood. I ordered the “grill plate,” which included grilled shrimp and scallops and a baked potato. The shrimp were seasoned well, smoky and sweet and spicy, and I loved the clarified butter for dipping. At that point, this was my favorite dish of the week. A-mazing.

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We had a cookout later in the week, which included a trip to the fish market for 3 pounds of fresh shrimp. We took them home and boiled them with “shrimp oil,” which is actually a seasoning packet, and lemon. Then, we had to hand-peel and de-vein them.

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These later turned into Jesse’s dad’s avocado stuffed with shrimp and mango-chili salsa, which is just as delicious as it sounds.

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With that, we had Merissa’s fabulous chicken and sausage gumbo, which took her like 30 hours to prepare. I’m not going to post the recipe yet, because I want to try it myself first. Good thing I don’t have a day job!

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She also made some perfect cornbread to go with it, and a honey butter to smear all over it.

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Colleen made a yummy Smitten Kitchen dish later that week: an ice-box “cake,” which tasted like a giant Oreo cookie. She baked these chocolate cookies (basically home-made Oreos), then layered them with hand-whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

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Then, you let it sit for a few hours, so the cookies can absorb the juices and become soft, like cake. Surprisingly good.

The last night, I was so overwhelmed with good food that I didn’t take any pictures – Blast! But here’s what we had: oyster shooters, She Crab Soup (a Carolina favorite), shrimp with grits cakes in a yummy bacon-gravy (this was my favorite thing of the night) and my entree was a pasta with fresh clams, white white and garlic. Yum! We drank a lot, laughed a lot and splurged. It was the perfect ending.

While on vacation, I read “Julie and Julia,” which I have a few opinions about. (As my co-worker said, “I’m just mad that I didn’t think of that first!”) The food stuff was good, but I could do without the rest of the whiny drama. It definitely inspired me to “cook dangerously.” So I picked up my new Bon Appetit magazine and turned down the pages of these recipes that would normally seem too gourmet for me. Like de-boning a chicken for an Italian roast chicken with fresh herbs and lemon. I’ll blog it as soon as I can make it!

Enjoy the week, friends!