I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Texas, outside of Houston. The neighborhood was as much a part of Louisiana as it was Texas. I remember eating Shrimp Creole, Chicken Gumbo and all of the various seafoods that were available in the local waters . Every holiday meal that involves a turkey in our home results in a big pot of gumbo to be served a couple of days later. Otherwise, as in this case, I use chicken, with the bone in and andouille sausage. You can add oysters and shrimp to the mix as well!
One of the most important parts of making any gumbo is the “roux”. If the roux isn’t right the gumbo will not be either. When I say in the recipe that you want to slowly cook the roux, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it is the color of rich peanut butter, I mean this:
Come to think of it, there really isn’t a recipe that I follow. I’ve made this for so many years it just comes together instinctively! I think I can list everything in a way that you can follow, however.
Melissa’s Chicken Gumbo
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown the chicken pieces in the oil, season with salt and pepper then add the browned chicken to a dutch oven, cover with water and boil for 2-3 hours. Remove the chicken pieces from the pot, take the skin off and debone the pieces, returning the meat to the pot with the cooking liquid.
For the roux:
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unbleached flour
This takes a bit of time and patience, but it’s worth it! Combine the oil and flour in a cast iron skillet and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture’s color is the same as the photo above. Then add the Cajun Trinity and the other ingredients. Let this simmer for 10 minutes, add to the pot with the chicken and broth.
The Cajun Trinity:
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
To the Trinity add:
1 cup chopped scallions, green ends included
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup minced, fresh garlic
To season the pot
1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning (I use Sangre de Cristo Spice Company, Zatarains’s or Tony’s will also do…add more if desired.)
1 bay leaf
1 pound andouille sausage, thinly sliced
Let the gumbo simmer, covered for a couple of hours. In the last half hour you can add 2 cups of fresh, sliced okra if you desire. Make a big pot of sticky white rice to serve the gumbo over. I use a professional ice cream scoop to get just the right serving size. To serve I sprinkle each bowl with chopped flat leaf parsley and scallions.
This is a great meal for a rainy Saturday evening, served with a crisp green salad, or the traditional creole potato salad you would find on the table in Louisiana. Hot garlic bread is a must and plenty of ice cold beer, whatever your favorite brand is.
MAKES 8 SERVINGS
Courtesy of Chef Patrick Mould (thank you Louisianacookin.com)
- 5 cups peeled and cubed red potato
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup Creole mustard
- 1/4 cup minced green olives
- 1/4 cup minced green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup minced celery
- 2 tablespoons minced onion
- 2 tablespoons minced green onion
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brine from green olives
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, combine potatoes, eggs, and 1 teaspoon salt with enough water to cover. Bring to boil; reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes, and refrigerate until cold. Cool eggs by running under cold water; peel and dice eggs, and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, olives, bell pepper, celery, all onion, parsley, relish, vinegar, olive brine, Worcestershire, pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Fold in potatoes and eggs.
For dessert you might make a batch of pecan pralines, let them harden and crumble them over good vanilla ice cream. We’re talking delicious now!
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/2 cup of milk
2 tablespoons Karo syrup (light)
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla
2 cups pecan halves
Mix sugar, salt, milk and Karo syrup in a heavy pan and bring to the soft ball stage. Add butter and vanilla, beat with a whisk and cool. Add pecans and drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. When the pralines are firm they are ready to eat.
As they say in New Orleans……Bon Apetit, ya’ll!
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