Tuesday, March 8, 2011
In honor of Mardi Gras, I decided to try my hand at this New Orleans classic - gumbo! I'm not going to lie - it was a lot of work, so I probably won't make this one a regular menu item. But in our opinion, it was totally worth the effort for a special festive occasion like today!
Be warned - it is spicy! But I didn't find it uncomfortably hot. If you're nervous, just cut down on the spices the first time you make it.
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of flour
2 chicken breasts, chopped into rather small pieces
1/2 pound of pork sausage links, thinly sliced
1 pound of shrimp (raw, peeled and deveined)
6 stalks of celery, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (including liquid)
1 can regular diced tomatoes (including liquid)
1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
4 (14oz) cans chicken broth
12 oz beer (I used Guinness because it has such a nice flavor in soups!)
1/4 cup of cajun spices
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1. Begin with making a roux. Although I've never made a roux before, I've read that a great roux is the key to gumbo, so I didn't want to mess this up! I found some great instructions here. To sum up, you melt your stick of butter in a small sauce pan. When it gets good and hot, slowly begin to whisk in your flour. Then you just cook it until it turns dark brown (add the minced garlic to this when it's a dark-medium brown, then continue to cook until it turns dark brown). It does take a while to turn dark brown, but if you get it started cooking first, it will be ready just about the same time you've got everything else ready to go in the pot, so don't worry!
2. While you're roux is cooking, cook your sausage in a skillet until it's evenly browned. Then transfer to a large stock pot.
3. In the same skillet (in the left over oil), cook your chicken pieces until no longer pink. Then transfer chicken to the stock pot too.
4. When the roux is ready, combine with the meat in the stock pot. Add the chicken broth and beer, and bring to a boil.
5. Stir in all the remaining ingredients - EXCEPT for the shrimp - to the stock pot. Reduce, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
6. Finally, add your shrimp. Raise the heat a little and cook for about 5 more minutes, until shrimp shrink up and are an opaque pink. As soon as shrimp are done, remove the pot from the heat so your shrimp don't overcook and turn rubbery.
Happy Fat Tuesday!