Thursday, March 7, 2013

Goddess of Gumbo

I've gone thru quite a transformation in the past few years. After relocating to Texas from Michigan, this Ohio-born girl had quite a bit of adjusting to do....and not just because the heat index in southeast Texas reminds a girl why she needs Jesus and just how hot hell must be, but also because every region inside the land of the free and the home of the brave has a plethora of its own distinct lifestyle characteristics. Going form a politically correct blue state to a gunshot totin' red state brings a bit of adjustment to a persons manner of thinking. Trying to move from the fast-paced northeast to the take-your-time southern Midwest did at one time try my patience to the max. After residing in Oklahoma for over a decade, I assumed the life of a Texan would be somewhat similar to that of an Okie and was thoroughly surprised at the differences between the two states. I'll stop there before I offend anyone. Anyway, I have largely claimed the northeast as home more than any other region so just imagine the humor I felt when I caught myself making southern gumbo and pecan pralines in the same weekend. 

Well I'll be.

Goddess Gumbo

1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. flour
1 1/2 c. chopped onions
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped bell peppers
1 lb. kielbasa cut into bite size pieces
3 bay leaves
6 cups chicken broth
2 lbs. boneless chicken cut into bite size pieces
File powder

Creole Seasoning (recipe makes a lot - just use enough to coat chicken as needed and store remainder in air tight container)

Mix together:
2 1/2 Tbs. paprika
2 Tbs. salt
2 Tbs. garlic powder
1 Tbs. ground black pepper
1 Tbs. onion powder
1 Tbs. cayenne
1 Tbs. dried oregano
1 Tbs. dried thyme

For gumbo:
Combine oil and flour over medium heat to make a roux. The longer you cook it the darker it gets. I don't like it too dark, though I think true southern gumbo is supposed to be quite dark and you can cook this until it is a chocolate color if you like. I cook mine until it is more of a caramel color. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers - cook for a couple of minutes and then add sausage, bay leaves, and chicken broth. Stir well making sure the roux is mixed with the broth. Coat the chicken with about two tablespoons of creole seasoning, enough to coat but be cautious as the creole seasoning will determine the heat and the more you put on the hotter the gumbo. You can always add more creole seasoning at the end if you want more heat.  I'm a wimp when it comes to heat. My yankee is showing...guess I need to tuck that back in. Add the chicken and simmer for at least one hour or up to two. The flavor is better the longer you simmer. Remove the bay leaves, sprinkle with file powder. Serve over rice.