Oh Please... Just Call Me the Queen of Gumbo!
I am smiling today... that is because I had leftovers for lunch today. Not just any leftovers. No sir, not just any leftovers... what I had was leftovers fit for a Queen. Yes that is a capital Q on that Queen; its capital because I am talking about ME! I have dubbed myself Queen, Queen of Gumbo.
I have never made a gumbo before. I had never wanted to take the time necessary to make this AMAZING dish of Cajun stew. It is a labor of love and a labor that is totally worth the hours to make this dish.
And one of the best parts was My Maddy and My Connie's daughter, My Emma, had returned home mid-cooking and My Emma walked in and said, "It smells amazing in here!" Maddy echoed that comment and I knew I had hooked them. That is my secret you see, reel them in with the smell! If it smells good, I always tell them, then it tastes good! I told them it was dinner... we were having gumbo! They looked at each other and said, "Gumball?? Sounds awesome! When do we eat?!?" HA HA!
I found this recipe in my FoodTV magazine. I preread it and decided I had to make changes! For starters the salt looked too high in their recipe, their cayenne was WAY too much for kids to eat (at least kids north of the Louisiana border) and I really wanted to make sure my gumbo was thicker than a soup and a bit thinner than a stew.
Here is my take on this recipe!
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (whole wheat)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, plus 2 cups roughly chopped
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
- 8 ounces smoked ham or Andouille sausage, diced
- 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 to 4 scallions, chopped
- Cooked white rice, for serving (optional)
Make the roux round 1: Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the roux is dark brown, this could take up to 20 minutes. But it is so important to make sure it turns dark brown or it will not have the depth of flavor that you will want! Remove from the heat and let stand 10 minutes, and then stir in the finely chopped onion.
Meanwhile, bring the broth and 17 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add the roughly chopped onion, the celery and bell pepper; cook over medium-high heat, 15 minutes. Stir in the roux in 3 batches and whisk as you add to avoid lumps. Cook gumbo, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Add the cayenne, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Stir in the smoked sausage and smoked ham or Andouille sausage. Reduce the heat to low; simmer uncovered 1 hour.
If your gumbo is not thickening nicely, make a second batch of your roux. This batch will NOT have the addition of the chopped onions as your first round did. This time use a ½ cup of canola oil and ¾ cup of flour and cook it to a nice dark brown color whisking it constantly so you do NOT burn it. Put the roux in your gumbo pot a spoon at a time and whisk as you are adding it to the gumbo.
Return the mixture to a boil. Add the chicken and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off any fat.
The slice of cornbread pictured looks really pretty with the butter and honey dripping all over it. Well it only looked pretty. It was not as special as the gumbo! I am going to work on that for another day!
Our dinner was finished in record time with My Emma finishing just after My Husband. It was not a race but rather they couldn't put their spoons down. Was this spicy? Yes and the kids commented on the spice. It was hot enough to notice but not hot enough to leave a burn. Just right for this family!