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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chicken & Andouille Gumbo

So this year I went about approaching Mardi Gras all wrong. After my donut debacle, I immediately swore off all sweets, treats, fatty foods, and empty starches for the following week. It was seriously bad timing because what I should have been doing was gorging myself leading up to Tuesday and then starving myself afterward like so many others. Irregardless, Mardi Gras came around and I couldn't resist the temptation to make something celebratory of one of the places best known for their Carnival celebrations; New Orleans. So Gumbo it was, and ya know, for a Northern gal it didn't turn out half bad ;) 

Chicken & Andouille Gumbo:  (Serves 4) 

2 1/2 c. Chicken Stock
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil 
3 Tbsp. Flour
14 oz. Can whole stewed tomatoes, crushed 
4 Boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces
9 oz. Andouille sausage (you can sub chicken sausage here for less fat!) 
15 Small shrimps; precooked, peeled and deveined (optional) 
1/2 White onion, chopped
1/2 Red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 Green bell pepper chopped
 3 Ribs of celery, chopped
15 Okra pods, cut crosswise into 1/2" pieces
 2 Cloves garlic, minced
 1 Bay leaf 
1/4 tsp. Cayenne
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp. each, Salt and Pepper, or to taste 

Mmm. I started cooking with a four pack, I ended my meal with none. Oops. 
Ok, lez do it to it! 

1) Start with your prep so you've got everything ready to go. Measure out your seasonings 
    into a small bowl. Chop your veggies, set aside in a large bowl, keeping the okra in a
    separate bowl. Chop your meats, set aside in separate bowls. 
2) Grab a large heavy bottomed skillet or a dutch oven and heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium 
    heat. Add your sausage and cook until browned on both sides, about 5-8 minutes. 
    Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside on a paper towel lined plate to drain. 
3) Now add your chicken and cook until browned a little and cooked through, 5-8 
    minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. 
4) Toss in your onion, peppers, celery and garlic, and cook until the onions are tender and 
    translucent, 10 minutes or so. Remove veggies from pan and set aside. 
5) Time to make your roux (<-read this). With the pan still medium heat, add 2 Tbsp. oil
    and 3 Tbsp. flour. Use a flat wooden spatula (metal will ruin your pan) or a spoon if you
    have to, scraping the mixture back and forth constantly to mix and continuing to move
    the mixture for about 20 minutes. I know this seems like forever, but if you don't get a
    nice deep color to the roux you won't get the flavor your looking for. Go ahead and
    crack one of those Crispin's to get you through it. You're looking for a color close to
    milk chocolate, if your mixture starts to smoke, take it off the heat, don't let it burn! 
6) Roux's done? Great. Toss back in your veggies, stir them around, and add your cider
    slowly to the pan. Scrape the bottom to get any roux that may be stuck off. Turn up the
    heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Add your stock, seasonings, and tomatoes,
    bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
7) Add back in your chicken and sausage as well as the shrimp, simmer 5 minutes more.
    And finally, add your okra, allowing to simmer 5-10 min. more or until the okra is
    tender. Serve over some rice and eat up!

 Mmm, mmm! And honestly, if you swap out the sausage for chicken sausage and use brown rice instead of white, you're looking at a darn healthy and decadent meal here kids. 
And not to ruffle anyone's feathers, but I'm really not a huge okra fan. Yeah it helps thicken the sauce but I also think the stuff's slimy and strange tasting. If I were making this gumbo again, I personally don't think I'd put it in there. Please! Save your stones! It's just me, you do what you'd like, 
I sure won't judge you for it. 
 So get in there and get cooking, and have fun with it y'all! 

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