The other day I showed you an easy way to make a dry roux. I mentioned a few dishes that could be made quickly and easily with it, depending on how dark you made it. Well, today I have a real treat for you. We’re making gumbo…
The lovely Amy and I take a little time every week or so to do a little prep work in the kitchen. We will chop up onions, garlic, bell pepper, and carrots to make a spice trinity plus one. This is the base for a lot of the cooking that we do.
A lot of cajun recipes call for onion, celery, and bell pepper. They call that the holy trinity of cajun cooking. And as most of you know a Mirepoix is a french spice blend of onions, celery, and carrots. Since neither one of us really care for celery, we combine the best parts of both to make our own trinity plus one. We chop up a bunch and freeze them in quarter cup portions.
OK, enough culinary history for one day. Another thing I like to do to make cooking easier is smoke a lot of chicken. I will smoke up to a dozen chicken breasts and we will use a vacuum sealer and freeze them.
So, If I haven’t bored you to tears and made you hit the back button, here’s how we make my almost world famous gumbo, it is famous if you ask our nieces and nephews anyway. If you just want to jump right in, the recipe will be at the end of this post. But, I have a secret ingredient that I use that I have never told anybody. I’m not putting that in the recipe, but I will tell you below.
- You will need about a cup of the trinity plus one.
- about a pound of the meat of your choice. I’m using smoked chicken and andouille sausage. But you could just as easily use shrimp and crab, or duck and sausage. It’s really up to you.
- about a gallon of the stock of your choice. I use chicken stock, but it will be just as good with beef and or vegetable stock.
- a cup of the dry roux we made last week.
- 3 tsp cajun seasoning, and 2 bay leaves.
Put on your chef’s hat and jacket, and let’s get cooking.
- Start by heating about a third to a half of a cup of oil over medium heat in a large stock pot. Saute the vegetables until they are pretty translucent. Add a little salt and pepper and a tsp cajun seasoning blend.
- Once they are done to your liking, add a cup of dry roux. Saute for about a minute, or until you smell the nutty aroma from the roux. It will look dry, but that is ok. The stock will dissolve it.
- Add your stock while stirring briskly to break up the big lumps. Keep stirring until all of the lumps are gone. Bring it up to a boil and it will start to thicken up.
- Add your chicken and let it cook with the for about 20 minutes or so. Remove and let cool. Add a second tsp of cajun seasoning.
- While the chicken is cooling, saute the sausage. I like to do this to remove more fat from the gumbo. This way we can say that it is healthier for you.
- Once the sausage is cooked down, add it to the gumbo. Pour off the excess fat, then add about a cup of water to the pan to deglaze it, scraping all of the little stuck bits to get them in the gumbo. That’s flavor baby, and you don’t want to waste that.
- Ok, here’s where I tell you about my secret ingredient. I add about ¼ tsp ground clove. It sounds weird, but it adds just a little something that I can’t explain. Also, add the bay leaves.
- Pick the chicken and add the meat to the gumbo.
Some people like okra in their gumbo. If you do, add it and let it simmer down.
When you just can’t stand it any longer, serve over rice and enjoy. Or, if you really want to show your new cajun roots, serve it over a scoop of potato salad.
There you have it Smidgers. Authentic gumbo from the swamps of Louisiana. And it didn’t take all day. Before I started using dry roux, I would start cooking in the morning and let the pot simmer all day. Let me tell you, it was torture for the lovely Amy. She could hardly wait until it was ready and I would catch her over the pot with a spoon “making sure it was ok to serve our guests”.
Remember smidgers, food is love.