Sean and I are headed to New Orleans next month, and that got me thinking about all the delicious foods I would be eating soon. When I think of great NOLA food, I automatically jump to gumbo. I know there's other local food, but gumbo is a total comfort food for me. It has everything I need in a dish: one pot, lots of tasty meat, spice, and it's actually pretty healthy. (Shh don't tell the kids!) I served mine over cauli rice (Stick cauliflower florets in your ricing attachment of the Cuisinart and grate them, then steam that until soft.). I made this for Mardi Gras too, which was more coincidental than great planning on my part. This is a great winter stew, and it comes together really quickly without a lot of mess. The next time you want something simmering away on a cold day - this is your dish!
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 small yellow onions, small dice
- 4 ribs of celery
- 1 bell pepper, medium dice
- 1.5 pounds of fresh sausage (I used a mix of chicken jalapeno and pork chorizo, but anything you like would work here- andouille is especially nice if you can find it)
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp hot paprika
- 2 tbsp file powder
- 1 large can (28oz) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 jar clam juice
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 pounds chicken thighs
- 1 pound of okra, either frozen slices or fresh cut in 1/4 inch rings
- 1 pound shrimp (I used large clean, deveined, tail on, but use what you prefer. I think the tails bring flavor to the dish and they're easy to remove at the table)
I served this over cauliflower rice and it was delicious.
Put a large stockpot on the stove over medium-high heat. Add a glug of olive oil (about 2 tbsp) and let it get hot. Get the vegetables where you can grab them quickly.
Add the garlic first and sauté until slightly browned. Follow with the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Traditionally, you would use green, but I really don't like green peppers very much and opted for red. If you have a green (or yellow, or orange!) use it. once the vegetables have softened (about 7 minutes) crumble the sausage in. Mine came in casings, so I just cut them out. Sometimes I have the option of buying bulk loose sausage, either way is perfect.
Add the bay leaves, the pepper, salt, paprika, file, and can of tomatoes.
Immediately add the clam juice and chicken stock and bring it to a simmer.
While it's heating through, chop the thighs into two-inch pieces. You want them a little bigger than idea bite size, as they will shrink a little as they cook.
Once the stock has come to a boil, add the chicken thighs. Bring the whole thing back to a simmer and continue cooking for 40 minutes or until the chicken is very tender.
At this point, if there's hungry helpers in the kitchen, let them sample some chicken...
Add the okra and cook an additional ten minutes.
Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink and curl up. It should be about 5 minutes.
Turn the heat off and check seasoning. Mine was perfectly salted with the salt, sausage and clam juice, but depending on each ingredient, you may need salt. Serve with rice or by itself in a big bowl. I served mine over grated, steamed cauliflower "rice" and loved it. Now go get a King Cake and find that baby!