Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Never Enough Time

During the week, there's never enough time to cook a really big meal. By big I mean, one that takes a lot of time. I really had intentions of cooking chili tonight if I got home early enough...Didn't happen. Crystal did brown the meat for the chili, but not the bell pepper or onion. I'll do that tomorrow. And I need several - 16oz cans of diced tomatoes to go in it. Time to hit the store. The main meal I want to cook is the gumbo. So, here goes, if you want my recipe:

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1 cup oil
1 cup flour
2 large onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
4 - 6 cloves garlic, minced
4 quarts chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 large chicken (young hen preferred), cut into pieces
2 pounds andouille or smoked sausage, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 bunch scallions (green onions), tops only, chopped
Filé powder to taste (optional). Season the chicken with salt, pepper and brown quickly. Brown the sausage, pour off fat and reserve meats.
In a large, heavy pot, (I use an 8 qt heavy aluminum with lid) heat the oil and cook the flour in the oil over medium to high heat (depending on your roux-making skill), stirring constantly, (this is a MUST) until the roux reaches a dark reddish-brown color, almost the color of coffee or milk chocolate for a Cajun-style roux. If you want to save time, or prefer a more New Orleans-style roux, cook it to a medium, peanut-butter color, over lower heat if you're nervous about burning it.

It will burn easily, so watch it! (Keep Stirring!)
Add the vegetables and stir quickly. (They'll sizzle and steam! And, oh the smell...heaven!) This cooks the vegetables and also stops the roux from cooking further. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about 6 minutes.
Add the stock, seasonings, chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then cook for about one hour, skimming fat off the top as needed.
Add the chopped scallion tops ,(optional) and heat for 5 minutes. Serve over cooked rice in large shallow bowls. Accompany with a good beer and lots of hot, crispy French bread.
YIELD: About 12 servings.
We first experienced this treat at Hubby's cousin's home back when we first married. 1972 or 73. Lots of time has since past, but not the gumbo! Experiment with the recipe! Get it just the way you like it. After all, the basis for a good gumbo is the roux. If you burn it, baby, start over!!! Take your time. Browning the roux itself can take upwards of 45 minutes....oh yeah baby....Get it right, and the reward is fabulous. I get my roux a little darker than the picture.
So nothing much else happened today. Busy one minute, quiet the next (phones at work). I woke up this morning at 1:25am for no good reason...just layed there...Don't 'cha just hate that?
Well I see it's getting on in time so I'll say goodnight and y'all have a great day tomorrow.