20 February 2009

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Here's another sneak peek at what's to come in the book. Neither okra or file powder are easy to come by in Italy, but the good news is that not all gumbos require either of these ingredients. The trick to any good gumbo is a thick, hearty roux... which is a tedious process of ceaseless stirring, best accompanied by a good book and a glass (make that a bottle) of wine. The whole recipe takes a good 4 hours, but a lot of it (after the roux) is hands-off, and you can abandon your bubbling brew and attend to more pressing matters. It's a great rainy-weekend recipe, and definitely worth the trouble. 
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (230 ml)
  • 1 1/4 c flour (150 g)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 large celery stalks, chopped fine
  • 8 c water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 roasted chicken*, about 4 lbs (180-200g)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 lb (250 g) andouille sausage, cut into 6 mm slices
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • 1 handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (see recipe, below)
First make a chicken broth, if you wish to skip this step you can use boullion instead, but you’ll lose some flavor. Separate the cooked chicken meat from the bones and chop into large chunks, set aside. Put the bones, skin and carcass in a pot and cover with about 2 liters of water. Add the scraps from your vegetables (onion skins, celery greens, etc) and boil for about 20 minutes to make a broth. Strain, discard carcass, and set broth aside.
In a large heavy Dutch oven, combine the oil & flour over medium heat stirring constantly for about 25-30 minutes, to make a dark brown roux. Be very careful not to burn, you must stir constantly.
Add the onion, bellpepper & celery and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until soft. Stir in the tomatoes, wine, and about 2 liters of broth. Add the bay leaves, garlic & thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for 1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally.
Add sausage and a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, continue to simmer for about 30 minutes.
Season the chicken with Worchestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste Add chicken and cook on low heat for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Check seasonings. Add more salt & cayenne if necessary. Add the green onion & parsley. Serve immediately in soup bowls over steamed rice.

*You can buy a pre-roasted chicken to save time but it’s very easy to do yourself. Just rub a chicken with oil, salt and pepper, and bake at 165°C for 45-60 minutes, or until juices run clear when poked with a knife

Cajun Spice Blend
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
Mix all spices together, adjusting to taste. Store in an airtight container.