This month the Shine Supper Club is looking for one pot meals. Though a Yankee I am. I hope to broaden the palate of Shine’s audience to and appreciation of Cajun food. The idea of one pot meals is simplicity for the chef. But the real outcome of one pot meals is the opportunity to have time for the flavors of the dish to meld and to open up.
I, personally, just love gumbo. So does my family. It is a one pot meal that has so much flavor – flavors of a culture. Now, I had the privilege, to host our friend, one of my wife’s really close friends 50th birthday party. The only problem with this opportunity is I fretted for at least 2 weeks over my menu. I didn’t settle on gumbo, a Mardi Gras theme until a couple days before the party. My ultimate deciding factor was I wanted a meal that I could complete mostly beforehand so I could enjoy the party too and not be cooking while everyone was enjoying themselves.
The other positive aspect of a gumbo is that it gets even better as its sits and the flavors get to mix together. So I began making the gumbo in the morning and waited until shortly before the guests arrived to put in the roux and waited until I was ready to serve it to put in the file powder. I also made it using chicken that I smoked in the morning. It adds a really nice twist and depth to the dish.
Smoked Chicken & Sausage Gumbo:
First thing I did was smoke 4 chicken thighs and 12 chicken legs rubbed with seasoned salt, smoked paprika and Emeril’s Essence on hickory wood for 2 – 2.5 hours at 250 degrees; remove from grill and let cool
In a heavy all clad pot, add 2 tbsp olive oil and brown 2 packages of beef smoked sausage and 1 chicken andouille sausage; this will take about 10 minutes. Next add 1/4 of a red onion and 1 yellow onion and cook for 4 minutes. Now mix in 2 green and 1 red jalapeno pepper diced, 1 &1/2 cups of celery diced, 1 green & orange pepper a with 2 tbsp of garlic mince (I used already prepared) and cook for 4 minutes. Next add your spices including 1/2 tsp dried basil and dried oregano, 1/4 tsp of black pepper, ground white pepper and red pepper flakes, 2 handfuls (tbsp) of Emeril’s essence and cook for 2 more minutes. Pour in 2 cups of beef and 4 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add 2 bay leaf and 2 dried red chili (my addition – add more if you really want to spice this up) and simmer for a couple of hours. Add in 1 lb of frozen okra and cook for 30 minutes.
About an hour before you plan to serve, start making your dark roux. Heat 1 cup of vegetable oil on high heat. When hot, slowly add in 1 &1/4 cup of all purpose flour. You will need to stir continuously for about 25 minutes or so. When the roux is ready, slowly pour into the gumbo pot and let simmer for another hour.
Finish by adding file (that’s an accent over the e if I could find it) powder and simmer for 5 minutes and then serve.