Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday. I always try to celebrate the occasion with a dish that is a nod to New Orleans. This year I made a Spicy Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. Oh My, was it good!!
It does take some patience to make the roux, but the roux is an important component of this dish. You want to cook the roux low and slow until the oil and flour mixture turns from a pale tan to a dark caramel color. The aroma also becomes nutty and give so much flavor to the dish. This step is important and really should not be rushed.
I actually started my roux and prepped all my other ingredients for the dish as the roux cooked. If you take your time and give an occasional whisk or stir to the roux to keep it moving along, you will be fine.
I spiced up this gumbo by adding not only some red chili flakes (a lot of them), but also added some poblano peppers alongside the bell pepper that is a part of the traditional "trinity" in Cajun cooking.
The trinity that I mentioned above this the celery, onion and bell pepper that starts off a lot of traditional Cajun/Creole dishes. I love the extra heat the poblano pepper gave... if you do not have poblano peppers, you can try any spicy pepper you like. Remember the hotter the pepper, the hotter your gumbo will be so think before you use a habanero or something!
We ate the gumbo with a side of rice and it was a big thumbs up from my family. I don't think I can wait until Mardi Gras next year to make this dish again... I will definitely be making it much sooner for sure.
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
1/2 cup flour
1 large onion diced (equivalent measure one cup)
1 medium poblano pepper diced (equivalent measure 1/2 cup)
1 medium green bell pepper diced (equivalent measure 1/2 cup)
3-4 stalks celery diced (equivalent measure 1 1/2 cups)
2-3 cloves garlic grated or finely minced (about 1 Tbs worth)
1 Tbs paprika powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried thyme
red chili flakes to taste
salt and black pepper to taste
4 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2lbs chicken breast cut into bite-size chunks
1lb kielbasa sausage cut into slices
1/2 lb (8oz) frozen sliced okra
Serve with rice
Step 1: Make the roux by placing a large pot on medium low heat and whisking the flour and oil together. Whisk as needed (so not to burn) and cook for about 30 minutes until the color changes from light tan to a dark tan (color of caramel).
Note: This step does take time and patience. You can gather and prep your other ingredients while this is working on the stove- just make sure to whisk or stir the roux frequently.
To make the Gumbo:
Add the minced or grated garlic to the roux and saute for 15-20 seconds. Then increase the heat to medium and add the peppers, celery and onion. Saute with salt and black pepper for 2-3 minutes.
Next add the seasoning of paprika, red chili flakes, dried thyme, onion powder and more black pepper and salt.
Stir well then add the diced chicken and sliced sausages and stir with the vegetables.
Then add the chicken stock and bay leaf. Stir well and make sure scrape the bottom of the pot.
Then place a lid on the dish and increase the heat to medium high. cook covered for 30 minutes.
* Stir if needed
Finally add the frozen okra to the gumbo and stir well. Cook covered for another 10-15 minutes. Serve hot with rice. Enjoy.
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