When we travel to New Orleans, we always try the Gumbo everywhere we go. It is just one of those dishes that you must have when you are in Cajun nation.
One of my favorite spots for this was the New Orleans School of Cooking. Their classes are very entertaining and the food is incredible. (see our article for NOSOC here). * visit them at www.nosoc.com* We took the group demonstration class, which showed us how to prepare Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Pralines.
I'm not going to post their recipe, because I think all of you should just go visit them when you are in NoLa and experience it, but I will share my own take on the Gumbo.
If you are like me, sometimes you feel the taste for good lunch and dinner and even if you don't have all the ingredients, you still make it and substitute items when needed.
We wanted Gumbo, and lack of ingredients didn't stop me from making a very delicious creation. Here's what I did:
- Meat. Chicken and Sausage as much or as little as you like. or you can do it with shrimp.
- 1 cup of vegetable oil, or drippings from previously cooked meat. (I used drippings from bacon)
- 1 cup of flour
- two chopped onions
- one chopped green pepper and one red pepper
- one tablespoon of garlic
- 8 cups of chicken stock
- cajun seasoning or multi-purpose seasoning. I like Emeril's Essence seasoning that (recipe here)
First, you choose the meat. I had chicken and sausage. Most recipes call for Andueille sausage (which is probably best), but I used regular Italian Sausage. You can also use any other spicy seasoned sausage too. I made sure that the sausage was semi-frozen. It is so much easier to chop it in bite size pieces when it's still a little frozen.
Season your chicken and cook it for a little bit before you throw in the sausage. Keep cooking until they are both pretty done and edible. Set aside.
Now you prepare the roux. Equal parts of oil or drippings and flour. Place the oil in a large pot and heat on medium-high. Slowly add the flour and mix well. You'll see the flour/oil mix starts to bubble. reduce heat to medium and stir continuously. Be careful not to let this burn! it only takes a few seconds for it to burn, so stir, stir, stir your roux. Let it cook until it reaches a brown color.
Add the onions, peppers and garlic to the roux. Mix well and let it cook until these are tender. (This part is a little sticky, but that's ok!).
Add the already cooked chicken and sausage to the pot and cook for about 10 minutes. Don't forget to stir!
Slowly pour the chicken stock, mixing everything together to avoid any lumps. I add it gradually and stir good before adding more stock. Bring to a boil. Add your seasoning and reduce heat to low to simmer for about one hour.
Serve with white rice or with french bread.
**** Get Emeril's Essence Recipe here****