Friday, January 21, 2011

New Orleans Style Gumbo

I submitted this recipe to a recipe contest.

I lost. Damn. It is David Venable's loss. If he were just in my kitchen and smelled the lovely aroma that was cascading from dutch oven on the stove he would have been sold! Well we had leftover chicken (again) a few nights ago so I decided to try my hand at making gumbo. Now, I have never been to New Orleans before, but I did quite a bit of research before I created this dish.

The result was a thick, stew-like consistency that had the wonderful flavors of creole and cajun seasoning. It includes both chicken and shrimp, both of which are added in in the last 5 minutes of cooking to ensure they are not overcooked.

New Orleans Style Gumbo
Yield: 6-8 Servings
2 celery stalks
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 can tomato sauce
1 lb okra
2 tbs butter
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs. flour
1 quart low sodium vegetable broth plus 2 cups
1 lb. frozen or fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb cooked and cubed, chicken (I used white meat)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Start with the roux..this is the most important part! Melt the butter and oil in a pan together and mix in the flour. Cook out the flour as if you were making a b├ęchamel sauce, but keep cooking the flour and fat together on medium low heat. Take care in not burning the roux. Once you achieve a peanut butter color, it is time to add all the vegetables except the okra.
(Hint: in order to keep the okra from being slimy, wash it and freeze it for 30 minutes prior to cutting. When you go to cut the okra, you will be slime free.)
Add in all of the chopped vegetables and spices to the roux. I used the kitchen king pro to chop up the onion, celery, bell peppers, garlic, and celery. Cook the vegetables in the roux for about 10 minutes until they have softened significantly and become translucent. The roux will be very thick when the vegetables are added, so in order to keep moisture in the vegetables, add stock when it starts getting a little too thick and keep working the vegetables until they soften up.
Once the vegetables have become translucent, add in the rest of the broth and the tomato sauce. Cook for at least 45 minutes on a simmer for all of the flavors to meld together.
While the gumbo simmers, chip the okra into rounds. The gumbo should be checked on a few times while it simmers. Before the okra is added, check the seasonings and adjust accordingly. Add the okra and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Finally, add in the chicken and shrimp. Since the the chicken is already cooked and cubed, it only needs to warm through. Shrimp only takes about 5 minutes to poach so it is important not to overcook it. Once the shrimp are done, remove the gumbo from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Enjoy with a big scoop of rice scooped right on top and a side of cornbread! Yum! 

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