Sunday, 15 May 2011

Daring Cooks May 2011: Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

I made the Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo and wow what a taste! It's incredible! This was my first go at making gumbo and I have to say I was terrified of cooking the roux for so long but I managed not to burn it. I couldn't get all of the ingredients so had to substitute a few. I used chorizo and bacon for the sausages and I couldn't find file powder at all, but despite that it was truly delicious if not authentic!

Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo
Minimally adapted from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh
Serves 10-12


1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) rendered chicken fat, duck fat, or canola oil
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) flour
2 large onions, diced
1 chicken (3 ½ to 4 lbs.), cut into 10 pieces
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) Basic Creole Spices (recipe follows), or store-bought Creole spice blend
2 pounds (2 kilograms) spicy smoked sausage, sliced ½ inch (15mm) thick
2 stalks celery, diced
2 green bell peppers (capsicum), seeded and diced
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 quarts (3 liters) Basic Chicken Stock (recipe follows), or canned chicken stock
2 bay leaves
6 ounces (175 gm) andouille sausage, chopped
2 cups (480 ml) (320 gm) (11 oz) sliced fresh okra, ½ -inch (15mm) thick slices (or frozen, if fresh is not available)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Filé powder, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
4-6 cups (1 – 1½ liters) (650 gm – 950 gm) cooked Basic Louisiana White Rice (recipe follows)


1. Prepare homemade chicken stock, if using (recipe below).
2. Prepare homemade Basic Creole Spices, if using (recipe below).
3. Season the chicken pieces with about 2 tablespoons of the Creole Spices while you prepare the vegetables.

4. Make sure all of your vegetables are cut, diced, chopped, minced and ready to go before beginning the roux. You must stand at the stove and stir the roux continuously to prevent it from burning.

5. In a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan, heat the chicken fat, duck fat, or canola oil over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil – it will start to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate, and continue whisking until the roux becomes deep brown in color, about 15 minutes.
6. Add the onions. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir the onions into the roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue stirring until the roux becomes a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.

7. Add the chicken to the pot; raise the heat to moderate, and cook, turning the pieces until slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
8. Add the sliced smoked sausage and stir for about a minute.
9. Add the celery, bell peppers, tomato, and garlic, and continue stirring for about 3 minutes.

10. Add the thyme, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally.
11. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, skimming off the fat from the surface of the gumbo every so often.
12. Add the chopped andouille, okra, and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper, several dashes of filé powder, and Tabasco, all to taste.
13. Simmer for another 45 minutes, continuing to skim the fat from the surface of the gumbo. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls over rice. Pass more filé powder at the table if desired.

Friday, 6 May 2011

New York

I'm sorry this has been so sporadic recently, bear with me for a month or so until things hopefully settle down. I am so behind that this is actually from the beginning of April! I went to New York for about 4 days and we had some really good food and some not so great food. Although the guy in the diner where we ate breakfast almost every morning did bring us the right drinks without us having to order on the last day! Here are a couple of the highlights:

The first is an amazing apple pie we had for dessert at Rue 57 on the corner of W57th Street and 6th Avenue. We were expecting just a bog standard slice of apple pie but this was something else! Almost a whole apple thinly slice, caramelized on a filo base with vanilla ice cream. So good!

The second is my Mum's Jumbo Shrimp Risotto at Sarabeth's, 40 Central Park South, between 5th and 6th. This looked delicious and the prawn sticking up made us all giggle!

I also spent a lot of time in Borders bookshops, which were closing down, stocking up on culinary mysteries! I came home with 30 books and my suitcase only weighed 15kg!