Friday, November 18, 2011

Food Friday--We're Making Gumbo!

Ok, to get super technical, it's more like Lumbo--that's to say it's Lois's version of Gumbo. The biggest differences you'll find between what I'm about to post and more traditional gumbo is a lack of celery and okra, and the inclusion of green beans and corn. Those are the vegetables I like and dislike. That's the beauty of gumbo--you can kind of adjust to suit your own personal tastes

Let's begin!

4-6 tomatoes on the vine
1 large white onion
1 large green pepper
1/2 pound fresh green beans, snapped 
1 can white and yellow corn nibblets
1/2 pack Andouille Sausage (I know they sell a variety at Publix--you can go for the straight Andouille, or spice it up with one of the flavor varieties)
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2 boxes chicken broth (I tend to use Swanson, but to each their own)
Garlic butter (Land o'Lakes sells it in a small tub--you'll use about half of it)
Cajun Seasoning (Tony Catchotoree is both common and good)

Dice the tomatoes as finely as possible--bascially, just don't have any large chunks. Throw them in a large boiler (really large) with about a tablespoon or so of the garlic butter and about a half cup of chicken broth (roughly a quarter of one box of broth). Cook on medium until tomatoes have essentially boiled down to juice.

While that's happening, slice and dice the green peppers and onions. (Hopefully you know to throw the seeds away--if not, you do know). Throw them in a sauce/saute pan with another tablespoon of the garlic butter and cook them until tender, usually about 5-10 minutes. When they're tender, simply dump them into the boiler with the tomatoes.  Add the green beans and corn and the remaining broth in the open box, and start seasoning. This part's a little tricky--there's no definite amount you need to use, it's all up to you and your ability to handle spice. I usually start with about a quarter of the container (yes, that much) and work from there. Cover and let simmer.

In your handy-dandy pan, melt 3-4 tablespoons garlic butter. (I told you we'd be using a lot). Dice the chicken and andouille sausage and throw in the pan. Cook until done or until really, really done--I like my chicken blackened. For extra kick, add a good shake or two of cajun seasoning.When you've got the meat cooked to your satisfaction, dump it into the boiler. Cover and simmer.

If you've been keeping up with the food portion of this blog, you'll know how to make a roux. Again, the color of the roux will depend on your personal tastes--I tend to use a dark roux for a strong flavor. Once you have the roux, dump it into the boiler. Add the remaining broth, which at this point should be about half a box, and give a taste. If it's spicy enough, leave well enough alone. If not, keep adding spice until your tastebuds are singing. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for an hour or so, until the flavor is in there pretty good.

Now, most people will serve gumbo over rice. I do about half the time; the other half I just eat as-is. Hey, there's a lot going on in that pot.

Next week, in honor of Thanksgiving, I'll share my version of pumpkin pie. Or maybe sweet potato. Either way, we're doing pie next week. Woohoo for pie!

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