Thursday, January 5, 2012

Good ole southern chicken gumbo!

I can't say that I have always been Louisiana's biggest fan. I mean, c'mon . . the humidity alone is enough to make you want to flee, but . . we sure do know how to eat! My most favorite foods are southern dishes and when people from other states ask me for new meal ideas, I am almost always naming off things they have never heard of. Gumbo, jambalaya, red beans & rice, poboys. Say whaa ?

So today I am going to share my my dad's chicken gumbo recipe! If you're totally unfamiliar with gumbo .. then you are probably going to look at these pictures & think to yourself 'Really? What's there to rave about?' It's simple enough . . but I swear to you it's heaven in a pot.

Here's what you need:

A whole chicken (You can buy it like mine or you buy a 'whole cut up chicken' , same difference!
2 stalks of celery
1 onion
1 bell pepper

Seasonings! (I almost always cook to taste. You can tweak this part however you like, but I use salt, pepper, creole seasonings, parsley, basil & some bay leaf!)
* I'm not really sure if Tony's is sold everywhere, but . . if it's not available in your store then you should go ahead & order yourself some because it's pretty great.

Smoked sausage (I use turkey, but again . . your choice! & we're not talking breakfast sausage!)

1/2 cup of vegetable oil & 1 1/3 cup of flour (this is to make your roux!)

So I start my gumbo the night before by making my broth. Basically I take that whole bird & put it in a pot. Next you want to fill it up with water until it's about 2 inches or so over your chicken. (I use a nice tall pot for this & then when I remove the chicken I switch my broth into a smaller pot.) You're going to boil your chicken for about 2 hours. I also toss in my vegetable scraps (ends of the onion & pepper!) for added flavor. Once your chicken is done boiling it should be just falling apart. So you remove all of your chicken & vegetable scraps and put your pot of broth into the fridge to settle overnight.

Toss the scraps & your chicken needs to be removed from the bone. This is the part I let Josh do. :X I have a phobia of bones.

Then you take all of that nice boneless chicken & reserve it in the fridge too. You're done for the night.

Fast forward to the next morning . . your pot of broth will now have a pretty gross layer of fat on the top. This is good! This mean you can take a spoon and easily take off the whole type & layer and get rid of it. You don't want a super greasy pot of gumbo. Blech.

If you have gotten rid of that white layer, you can go ahead and get this broth heating up on the stove. On to making your roux! This only requires your flour & oil. The WHOLE KEY to making a roux is CONSTANT STIRRING. Literally constant. Put your oil in the pan & get that nice & hot. You will know it's read if you drop a pinch of flour into it and it sizzles. Then, your add your flour . . and get ready to work that arm! You can cut your heat down to a medium & then just stir your heart out until it's a nice rich brown color. JUST REMEMBER TO KEEP STIRRING. Or else , it will surely burn.

Should turn out to look something like this. Basically, looks just like Taco Bell meat. :X Gross. But vital! This ugly roux is going to give your gumbo the kick it needs. :)

& this will go right into your pot. Along with your veggies, seasonings, chopped chicken & chopped sausage! Just dump it all in. You are going to want to stir that roux in for a while . . make sure you press out the clumps and get it mixed in really well. Otherwise clumps will settle to the bottom and you really don't want to eat a mouth full of browned flour. Not good.

From here . . you're pretty much done. Cut your heat down to a low and let it cook all day! Serve it over rice & you have yourself some good eating. & remember, I didn't give exact measurements on my seasonings. I'd start with a teaspoon of salt . . a couples dashes of some creole seasonings (you can use a little cayenne or red pepper if you like!), a couple dashes of pepper . .and then just adjust from there.

Or if you're like my dad and I . . the smell will take over, you will lose all self control by 1pm . . cook your rice early & eat dinner 3 times. ;)

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