Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

Chicken & Sausage GumboSure, you may have heard of Gumbo, but do you know where it got it’s name from? Well, we can’t be 100% sure, but we do know that the dish we know as Gumbo originated in southern Louisiana from the Creole people during the 18th century. It typically consists primarily of a strongly flavoured stock, okra, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and seasoning vegetables, which can include celery, bell peppers and onions. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used: the African vegetable okra, the Choctaw spice filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves), or roux, the French base made of flour and fat. The dish likely derived its name from either the Bantu (Native African) word for okra (ki ngombo) or the Choctaw (Native American) word for filé (kombo). The dish is the official cuisine of the state of Louisiana. The recipe below actually uses all 3 types of thickeners, though the filé powder is optional (more for taste rather than a thickener). In my mind, 3 is better than 1! This recipe will serve about 6 people.

Ingredients:

⅓ cup and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ cup and 2 teaspoons oil or fat rendered from cooking sausage*
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small/medium onion, diced
1 small/medium green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 ounces sausage, sliced
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 ¾ cups stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)
1 ¼ teaspoons white sugar
salt to taste
2 ½ teaspoons hot pepper sauce, or to taste
¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend, or to taste
1 ½ bay leaves
¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ of a 398ml can crushed tomatoes (about 200ml)
¾ cup tomato sauce
¾ teaspoon gumbo filé powder
2 ½ teaspoons oil or sausage drippings
1 cup frozen cut okra, thawed
2 ½ teaspoons vinegar

* Cook’s Note: This recipe calls for the use of sausage; you can use any type you like, though if using a raw one, I suggest either completely removing it from the casing and cooking it up like ground meat, or cooking it whole with the casing still on, then slicing it up thick and adding it to the pot later. Just be careful when stirring the dish later that if you’ve cut up the sausage that it doesn’t crumble and break up too much! Remember, save the drippings from cooking the sausage, and use it in place of oil in this recipe. It adds so much more flavour than regular cooking oil!

Directions:

Make a roux by whisking the flour and ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons oil/sausage drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown colour. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.

Stir the vegetables into the roux, and mix in the sausage and chicken breasts. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Bring the stock to a boil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Whisk the roux mixture into the boiling stock. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour; mix in 2 teaspoons of filé gumbo powder at the 45-minute mark.

Meanwhile, heat 2 ½ teaspoons of oil or sausage drippings in a skillet, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Continue to simmer until flavors have blended, 45 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of filé gumbo powder. Serve over hot rice.

Advertisements

Fish Soup

Fish SoupThis is a nice alternative to chicken soup, and combines the fish course and soup course into one! All the flavour, half the work! This recipe will serve about 12 people.

Ingredients:

⅓ cup olive oil
2 medium onions, quartered
2 large leeks, white part and most of the green part, sliced*
4 stalks celery
1 bulb fennel, quartered (save the fronds for garnish)*
6 cloves garlic
1 large bunch parsley*
2 red peppers, seeded and cut in chunks
Head and tail of a large salmon, tile fish, or any other big fish, quartered, loosely but securely wrapped in cheesecloth
2 (540ml) cans crushed tomatoes
8 cups water
2 large potatoes, cut in small cubes
1 cup dry white wine
½ teaspoon cayenne, or a little more to taste
Good pinch ground cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon paprika
2 good pinches saffron
8 cups fish, cubed, about 1” size (salmon, tile or snapper)

* Click here to learn how to properly clean these vegetables and herbs.

Directions:

In a food processor, coarsely grind the onions, leeks, celery, fennel, garlic, parsley and peppers. You can do this in batches if you have a smaller processor or you find the vegetables are becoming over processed.

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil, and then add the vegetable mixture. Sauté the mixture until the onions and leeks become translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Mix often so that nothing sticks and burns.

Next, add the head and tail of the fish (in the cloth), along with the tomatoes, water, potatoes, wine, cloves, bay leaves and paprika. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and let cook for 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecloth with the fish parts in it, and then add the chopped up fish meat and saffron to the pot. Allow the soup to cook another few minutes until the chopped fish has cooked through. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and then serve hot, garnished with a few fronds from the fennel.

Orange, Tea, Bourbon-Brined Paprika Turkey

Turkey Breast

Brine a turkey breast for hours in a savoury, flavorful combination of spices, black tea, and bourbon. The breast is seasoned with a spiced margarine and roasted until golden brown and tender.

Ingredients:

1 (8 pound) whole turkey breast

Brine:
2 quarts water
5 oranges – juiced and zest cut off in large strips
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
12 black tea bags
4 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
12 whole black peppercorns
1 cup bourbon whisky (or other strong alcohol of choice)
4 quarts cold water, or as needed

Seasoned Margarine:
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed
6 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
6 tablespoons margarine, softened

Directions:

Pour 2 quarts of water into a very large soup pot and stir in orange juice and zest, kosher salt, sugar, black tea bags, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and bourbon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Mix 4 quarts cold water into brine and let cool. Submerge turkey breast in brine, adding more water if needed to cover. Refrigerate 8 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set oven rack to the lowest position in the oven. Remove turkey from marinade; discard marinade. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels.

Mix coriander seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, and garlic into softened butter in a bowl. Loosen the skin over turkey breast with your fingers and spread ¼ cup of the seasoned margarine beneath the skin. Rub remaining margarine over the turkey breast. Place turkey breast onto a roasting rack and set rack into a roasting pan.

Roast in the preheated oven until skin is golden brown and an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165 degrees F, about 2 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let turkey breast rest 30 minutes before slicing.

Moroccan Cigars – 3 Ways

regular morrocan

Moroccan Pastilles

Ingredients:

2 pounds Ground meat
½ cup water
6-7 bay leaves
Salt
Pepper
1 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ cup oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pound fyllo dough
Melted margarine (for between fyllo layers)

Directions:

In a medium size sauté pan, brown the meat along with the water, 4 – 5 bay leaves, salt, pepper, mace, nutmeg and turmeric. Reduce heat, and let rest until all of the moisture has evaporated. Let the meat mixture cool to room temperature, and then grind it along with 2 bay leaves, oil and lemon juice. Once fully ground and combined, form the meat into small flat balls. Refrigerate the balls until they have completely cooled. On a clean work surface lay out a sheet of the fyllo dough. Using a pastry brush, baste the melted margarine on the dough sheet. Place a second sheet of dough on top of the first sheet.
Triangle Fold

Using scissors, divide the sheets length wise into 2” strips. Place one of the meat balls at the base of the dough strip. Fold the dough, alternating angles, until the entire strip is used, and the pastille is shaped like a triangle. Repeat this process with the rest of the meat. Once all the meat has been used, place the triangle pastilles on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature.

Cigar

Spicy Moroccan Pastilles

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground meat
½ cup water
6-7 bay leaves
½ cup oil
2 heads of garlic
1 heaping teaspoon cumin
1 heaping teaspoon paprika
1 heaping teaspoon salt
2-3 hot chilies
1 pound fyllo dough
Melted margarine (for between fyllo layers)

Directions:

In a medium size sauté pan, brown the meat along with the water, 4 – 5 bay leaves, salt, cumin, paprika and hot chilies. Reduce heat, and let rest until all of the moisture has evaporated. Let the meat mixture cool to room temperature, and then grind it along with 2 bay leaves, oil and garlic. Once fully ground and combined, form the meat into small flat cigars. Refrigerate the cigars until they have completely cooled. On a clean work surface lay out a sheet of the fyllo dough. Using a pastry brush, baste the melted margarine on the dough sheet. Place a second sheet of dough on top of the first sheet. Using scissors, divide the sheets length wise into 3” strips. Place one of the meat cigars at the base of the dough strip. Fold the sides into the centre, and then roll up the length of the dough, creating a cigar look. Repeat this process with the rest of the meat. Once all of the meat has been used, place the cigar pastilles on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sweet Chicken

Sweet Chicken Moroccan Pastilles

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground chicken
1 onion
1 heaping teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup raisins (optional)
1 pound fyllo dough
Melted margarine (for between fyllo layers)

Directions:

In a medium size sauté pan, brown the meat along with the water, onion, sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Reduce heat, and let rest until all of the moisture has evaporated. Let the meat mixture cool to room temperature, and then grind it along with the almonds and raisins. Once fully ground and combined, form the meat into small flat balls. Refrigerate the balls until they have completely cooled. On a clean work surface lay out a sheet of the fyllo dough. Using a pastry brush, baste the melted margarine on the dough sheet. Place a second sheet of dough on top of the first sheet. Using scissors, divide the sheets length wise into 2” strips. Place one of the meat balls at the base of the dough strip. Fold the dough, alternating angles, until the entire strip is used, and the pastille is shaped like a triangle. Repeat this process with the rest of the meat. Once all the meat has been used, place the triangle pastilles on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature.