Mardi Gras Gumbo

Jan-Feb 2015 105

It’s Mardi Gras season down in the South, and Fat Tuesday is upon us. For those of you who do not know, Fat Tuesday is today—the day before Ash Wednesday and the last day before Lent begins.

Having recently returned from New Orleans, I thought it was appropriate to share a recipe with you in case you want to have your own Mardi Gras celebration. Just a few days after my return from New Orleans, a client approached me about catering a party with a New Orleans theme for her daughter, who will be attending a university in the area next fall.

One of the items on the menu was chicken and Andouille sausage gumbo. Having relatives in Louisiana has provided me with a lifetime of great Southern cooking as well as a few cookbooks. One of them is by Emeril Lagasse’s—I went to his NOLA restaurant on my recent visit and had delicious shrimp and grits, but that’s a story for another post. I also found a this recipe on his website.

At the dinner I catered, the gumbo was to be passed, so we used cute little 4-ounce Weck canning jars my clients had and used little wooden spoons to eat it with—both items provided by my client.

NOTE: The key to a good gumbo is the roux, which is not difficult, although it takes patience and time.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Serves 8
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 pound smoked sausage, such as Andouille or kielbasa, cut into ½-inch slices
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne
3 bay leaves
6 cups chicken broth
1 pound boneless chicken meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon Rustic Rub (recipe below)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
½ cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon file powder

Combine the oil and flour in a large cast iron or enameled cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate.

Bourbon Julep, etc. Feb-Mar 2014 017Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers, and continue to stir for 4 to 5 minutes, or until wilted.

Add the sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Continue to stir for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the chicken broth. Stir until the roux mixture and water are well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Season the chicken with the rub and add to the pot. Simmer for 2 hours. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, green onions, and file powder. Remove the bay leaves and serve in deep bowls.

NOTE: I serve gumbo with rice, as seen in the photos.  For a nice presentation, I put it on top and garnish with thinly sliced green onions.

Rustic Rub
Makes 2¼ cups
8 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons cayenne
5 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons onion powder
6 tablespoons salt
2½ tablespoons dried oregano
2½ tablespoons dried thyme

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Jan-Feb 2015 108

Recipe from Emeril Lagasse, 2005

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