Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chicken Sausage Gumbo

If you follow me elsewhere online, you probably know that I dabble in cookery. Well, dabble's not really the right word. Chef was my first profession of choice, up until about the 11th grade. I've always loved food and what it can do for the heart, mind, and especially what it does for the stomach.

So anyway last week I was talking to my sister on the phone and she asked what I'd had for dinner. I hadn't made anything yet but as I peered into the fridge and read off the list of ingredients in my possession she brought up the idea of making gumbo. Now, I've never made gumbo before, but my cousin married a lovely Jamaican-American queen so I've had my fair share (and probably a couple other people's too). I knew from watching a ton of Food Network that the two essential components were a lot of patience and a fantastic roux. Food is pretty much my go-to website for new recipes, but I like to combine parts from multiple sources to fit what I have and what I have time for. 

For this recipe I used the following:
  • 4 maple chicken sausage links, split open 
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 10 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1 diced white or yellow onion
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 squash, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups of chick broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Anise seed
  • Old Bay 
  • Chili powder 
  • Ginger 
The first thing you want to do is make the roux. Every recipe I looked at said a different time for this part so here's where you patience comes in. I let the fat cook off the bacon first, then removed it and dried it with a paper towel. Next I melted the butter in the bacon fat and whisked in the flour until it began to bubble, about 4 minutes. Then I chopped up the bacon and added it with the maple sausage to the roux and let it simmer on medium low for 30-40 minutes.

Primary Veggies
While it simmered I separated my vegetables into two bowls, primary and secondary. The primary vegetables are your mushrooms, onions, celery (I didn't have any though), bell pepper, and garlic. 

Secondary Veggie
Secondary veggies are the carrots, zucchini, squash and tomatoes. I added the primary veggies in first because they either need more time to cook or need to go in first to add a foundational layer of flavor. 

After my roux had simmered, I stirred in the primary veggies and about half of my spice mix. Let simmer for 3 minutes, then I stirred in the secondary veggies and the additional spice mix. 
Primaries + roux!
Once that had melded together all nicely and everything was evenly coated with the spice mix, I added the broth and water. I then brought it to a boil on high, covered it and let it simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. 
Secondaries + chicken broth + water!
By this point my patience was wearing thin and my kitchen smelled AMAZING! I lifted up the lid and luckily, my pot was filled with this beautiful mixture.
To serve it I simply ladled it into a bowl with a couple spoonfuls of brown rice (from a previous dinner so it was already made) and sliced green onions on top. 


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