Friday, April 12, 2013

gumbo


GUMBO 
W/ ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE, 
MAHI MAHI, & CHICKEN

Last week I had a hankering for some gumbo, and sort of gave it a half-ass shot.  I had never made a roux before, and couldn't find the okra that I now know is located right in the middle of the vegetable wall at the grocery.  Nonetheless, it turned out to be a really good gumbo-esque soup with just shredded chicken and chicken andouille sausage.

Thinking back on the first attempt, I don't think I cooked my roux long enough and the texture was a little thin without the okra (and the right roux).  Also, I missed the seafood element.  You see, my gumbo standards are very high thanks to Bob Chinn's - which is in the suburbs of Chicago, not New Orleans or anything.  Anyways, Chinn's has an amazing gumbo that is basically comprised of whatever fish they have left over at the end of the night.  So, there's a little variation from one visit to the next, but every time it hits the spot.  As a side note, Bob Chinn's is consistently rated the highest-grossing restaurant in the nation, and its pretty much an institution around here.  If you ever go, you'll be satisfied by the garlic rolls, a bowl of gumbo, and the peppercorn ahi tuna.  Splurging on crabs legs is optional.

OK, longer cook time on the roux, get the okra that's been in front of your face for years, and add a firm white fish at the very end.  Check, check, check.  Result: REALLY GOOD.  Even better the next day when the broth had thickened up even more.
Ingredients (makes about 4 servings):
  • 3 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 chicken andouille sausage links, thickly sliced
  • 2 filets of mahi mahi, large dice
  • 2 cups okra, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup brown rice (or any type you prefer)

Place a dutch oven or large pot over high heat on the stove top.  Salt and pepper the chicken and sear in 1 tbsp. olive oil.  Flip to brown both sides (but don't cook through), and remove from the pot. 
To the pot, add the onion, green pepper, and celery.  Salt and cook down for about 5 minutes.  Add the oregano and thyme and cook another minute.  Add the flour and stir well.  The mixture should come together in a ball.  Cook over medium-low heat and stir frequently as the mixture browns to make a roux.  This will take about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, brown the okra and sausage in a frying pan.  When browned and the roux is done, combine the two in the dutch oven and stir.  Slowly add the chicken stock to gradually and evenly loosen the mixture.
Place the chicken breast back in the pot, cover, and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  You can cook the rice in the meantime.  Remove the breasts when ready, shred them with two forks, and return to the pot.
If you want the gumbo to reduce a little, allow it to simmer uncovered before you add the mahi mahi.  The fish will cook quickly and should be added last. 
Serve over rice in a nice big bowl.

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