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Monday, September 6, 2010

Gumbo

Photo courtesy Taste of Home.
I love all of the big bold flavors of Cajun or Creole cooking and gumbo is no exception. If you have the time, (this takes a couple of hours to do) this is a great home cooked soup. This is the best version I've found and the boxed stuff doesn't come close.

Gumbo
1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup flour
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced (use 1/4 tsp. celery seed if you need to)
10 cups chicken stock (or 10 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 4 cups water plus 6 cups water)
1 T. Cajun or Creole seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 t. chili powder
1/2 tsp. thyme (more if using fresh herb)
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 bay leaves
1 T. kosher salt
1/2 lb. spicy smoked sausage, cut into 1 inch slices (andouille if you can find it)
1-1/2 lb. cooked chicken
hot sauce to taste (at least 1 Tablespoon)
1 lb. frozen peeled and cooked shrimp, thawed (optional)
2 cups cooked rice as a side

In large pot melt butter over medium low heat. Gradually add a third of the flour, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add a third more flour and keep stirring.  Repeat with last of the flour, constantly stirring. Continue to cook roux, stirring constantly, until it is the color of creamy peanut butter, about 45 minutes to an hour (agh! this does take FOREVER - I bailed at about half an hour.)

Add bell peppers and stir constantly 30 seconds. Add onion and celery and keep stirring another 30 seconds. Add the stock to the rue, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Add all remaining ingredients except chicken, rice, hot sauce and shrimp. Bring to a boil. 

Simmer gumbo, uncovered 45 minutes, skimming off fat and stirring occasionally. Add chicken and simmer 15 minutes more. Add hot sauce to taste. Stir in thawed shrimp. Cover and cook about 5 minutes until shrimp are heated. Discard bay leaves and serve with cooked rice.

Recipe can be doubled and unused portions frozen.
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