Making Gumbolicious, Gumbo Stew
Gumbolicious, Gumbo Stew
Last week I toured Louisiana in search of friends, love, and beads. Along the way I bit into a plastic behbee eating King Cake (ouch), drank some Bloody Marys, saw a bare breast or two among the Mardi Gras revelers, and most importantly, ate myself into a bloated stupor. The thing about a lot of Louisianan cuisine is that it is both very, very good and also very, very bad for you. Not moving to Louisiana was a good move for me because I am powerless to resist the red beans and rice at The Chimes in Baton Rouge, and anything the Napoleon House or Mother's can dish out in New Orleans. I did manage, however, to pick up and develop a few Creole and Cajun recipes that I plan to share with y'all. Last week I asked my readers to pick up a cast iron Dutch oven (if you are having trouble finding one, try going to an outdoors, hunting, or sports shop that carries camping equipment). This week's top-secret recipe requires a seasoned Dutch oven, a whisk, and some patience (maybe a glass of bourbon while you cook). I share this recipe with some reticence, as its one of the few dishes I do well and impress people with---but it is so very good I cannot deprive y'all of its secret formula. Besides, one Dutch oven full of gumbo and a little rice can feed an unmarried dude for a whole week!
Understand that this is not your usual gumbo: my gumbo comes out thick, like a stew, not soupy like the mostly wimpy gumbos you'd get in the French Quarter (thinned out for the tourists, y'all dig?).
This gumbo goes well with cornbread and smothered greens!
Gumbolicious Andouille and Chicken Stew.
Ready in: 1-2 hrs
* 2 pounds raw chicken strips/tenders
* garlic powder, salt, and red pepper
* Cajun or Creole seasoning
* 2 1/2 cups flour
* 1 1/2 cup oil (Olive or Peanut are best)
* 1 large yellow onion
* 1 cup of chopped celery (more if desired)
* 2 cloves minced garlic (more if desired)
* 2 medium green peppers, seeded and chopped
* 6 cups chicken stock
* 1 pound spicy smoked sausage, chopped (andouille and alligator work well)-use more if you wish.
* 1 dash Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce
* Hot, cooked white rice
Before you do anything, though, you have to season the chicken tenders by sprinkling them with garlic power, salt, and red pepper and letting them sit on the counter for about 45 minutes. Use more pepper if you like it spicy, less if you don't. While your chicken is chillin', cut up (peppers, celery, and onions).
Now, put the Dutch oven on your stove, pour in the oil, and warm to medium-high (if your oven has legs, obviously you'll need to adjust the temp higher). As the oil heats, dredge your tenders in the flour, coating them well (you can alternately dip in egg before the flour to make the chicken crispier). Brown the chicken tenders in the oil until they're no longer pink in the middle and set them aside on a paper towel to cool.
Now, there's tough part: dump a cup of the flour into the oil, lower heat to medium, and continuously stir this mess with your whisk. This moment of gumbo-making is crucial. What you're making is the "roux," and you must keep stirring this stuff so that the flour does not burn. If the flour burns, you'll have to start all over. The reason this part is tough is because it takes about 10-15 minutes before the roux is ready. It should be a nutty brown color, like coffee with cream. If your roux is super dark or like black coffee, you've ruined it. Do-over. When it's about ready the roux will start smoking and you'll smell a nutty flavor.
Once the roux is in this state, remove the Dutch over from heat immediately and dump in the holy trinity and stir continuously until the veggies are soft. This process keeps the roux from burning. As you're stirring, season with salt and pepper a teensy bit, but not too much because you'll run the risk of making the gumbo too salty.
Once the veggies are soft, add your garlic and the chicken stock. Bring it to a boil. As you're waiting, cut your tenders into bite-sized chunks and slice your sausage into thin rings. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and add the chicken and sausage to the gumbo. Cook for 45-minutes to an hour, taste and season as needed, and add a dash or two of hot sauce. Serve over hot, white rice.
The Handicapped Chef, Carlton Haynes is owner of Triple H Catering and Consulting service/ for more information E-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org.