Gumbo

Later this year the boyfriend and I are adventuring for a month in the US, and I honestly cannot wait. All this talk about the places we are going to got me hankering for some Gumbo….since we are going to New Orleans and all I figured I should give this dish a go. I haven’t made it before, but it came out just right – or at least I am told by Ollie it did. He grew up surrounded by Americans and thankfully, Americans who loved cooking Southern food. So naturally, he loves anything from the US (especially Pop-Tarts and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups which appear at every birthday and Christmas).

This is actually super easy to make and the key to getting the right flavour to your Gumbo is in the roux – this gives the dish its heart and soul, its flavour and its rich colour. I was pleasantly surprised when I managed to produce the perfectly chocolate brown roux – and it only took a little patience and a lot of stirring. The key to it is constant stirring and complete attention, leaving a roux for even thirty seconds will result in a nasty burnt failure.

Sadly I forgot to buy the smoked sausage that normally appears in this dish, so if you do buy it, you’ll need 450g of it and cook it after the chicken, then remove from the pan and follow recipe as per instructions below.

Traditionally you would throw in some prawns at the end, but with just chicken it still tasted amazing – topped off with a couple dashes of jalapeno hot sauce and we were transported to the deep south. I can’t wait to try this dish in the US, not just because it means I will be on holiday but because there’s something really special about eating food from where it originates – it always tastes better.

Given the time I would have made cornbread to accompany my Gumbo, but some plain white rice was fine.

Serves 6 – 8

Gumbo with chicken

Gumbo with chicken

The list:

6 large chicken thigh fillets
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain flour
5 Tbs margarine
1 large onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 green (or red) capsicum, seeded and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems and leaves, coarsely chopped, plus extra for garnish
4 cups hot water
5 beef stock cubes
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 cups frozen sliced okra
4 spring onions, sliced, white and green parts

The method:
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove.
  2. Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of margarine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool.
  3. Return the pot to low heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons margarine.
  4. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, to taste and the 1/4 bunch parsley. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
  6. Add 4 cups hot water and stock cubes, stirring constantly. Add the chicken back to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
  7. Add tomatoes and okra. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Just before serving add the green onions and chopped parsley.

Enjoy!

Easy to make for large groups, this meal is sure to please

Easy to make for large groups, this meal is sure to please

Okra helps to thicken the sauce and provides awesome flavour and texture

Okra helps to thicken the sauce and provides awesome flavour and texture

*Recipe sourced from Paula’s Home Cooking

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