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.

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Salty Coffee Chicken

Salty Coffee ChickenThis recipe will make enough for 6-8 people to eat. I would suggest serving it up with green beans and mashed potatoes, or serving it cold, picnic style. Either way, it’s delicious! Just make sure to use low-sodium soy sauce, or it might be just a bit too salty!

Ingredients:

1 ⅓ cups reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup cooking sherry*
½ cup strong brewed coffee**
½ cup olive oil
12 chicken legs
ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium, nonreactive container, mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry, coffee, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Place chicken legs in the mixture. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours. Remove chicken from the marinade mixture, and set aside. Transfer the marinade to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Heat remaining olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with pepper, and brown on all sides in the skillet. Pour the hot marinade mixture into the skillet. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Cool slightly before serving.

* If you don’t have any sherry on hand, or wish to make this dish alcohol free, substitute by using ¼ cup vinegar + 1 tablespoon sugar + ¼ water OR 1 tablespoon vinegar, plus chicken stock or water to make ½ cup.

** For strong brewed coffee, I suggest using 1 ½ times the amount of coffee to water that you usually use to brew a cup.

Salmon Teriyaki on Asian Salad

Salmon & Salad

Ingredients:

Salmon:
8 salmon fillets (2-3 oz. each)
1 bottle teriyaki or honey-garlic sauce (your favourite brand)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Salad:
2 packages of chicken flavoured Ramen noodles
1 head of cabbage, shredded (easiest to buy the pre-shredded Bodek cabbage)*
4 green onions, sliced (white and green parts)*
1 purple onion, sliced very thinly
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons vinegar
½ cup oil
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Salmon:
Check over your fillets to make sure that no bones have been missed. Remove any if found. If you salmon fillet still has the skin, you can remove it or leave it on, it is just a personal preference. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put your fillets in a baking dish, and pour about ¾ of the bottle of sauce over them. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (about 10 minutes per inch of thickness of the fillet). Remove the fillets once cooked through, and allow to come to room temperature. They can be served at this point as is or chilled. When serving, sprinkle with some of the sesame seeds over the top of each fillet.

Salad:
In a large bowl, break up by hand the packages of Ramen noodles so that they are not one large clump. Sprinkle over the top the seasoning packets that came with the soups. I find it easiest to use a pre-shredded, pre-cleaned and inspected bag of Bodek cabbage for this recipe, but you can shred the cabbage yourself if you prefer. Add the remaining ingredients and let marinate in the fridge overnight if possible. This salad, if there is any left, always tastes better the second day. Plate a portion of salad on individual plates, and top with a piece of the salmon teriyaki.

* Click here to learn how to properly check cabbage and green onions.

Delicious Gluten-Free Pancakes

pancakesThese pancakes will fool anyone into thinking they’re eating gluten full, not gluten free! This recipe will make 10 nice sized pancakes.

Ingredients:

1 cup rice flour
3 tablespoons tapioca flour
⅓ cup potato starch
4 tablespoons dry buttermilk powder*
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
2 eggs
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups water

Optional Flavour Additives:
½ cup frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 apple, grated
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

In a bowl, mix or sift together the rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, dry buttermilk powder, sugar substitute, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum. Stir in eggs, water, and oil until well blended and few lumps remain.

Heat a large, well-oiled skillet or griddle over medium high heat. Spoon batter onto skillet and cook until bubbles begin to form. Flip, and continue cooking until golden brown on bottom. Serve immediately with condiments of your choice.

* If you can’t find dry buttermilk powder, you can substitute by replacing both the powder and the water in this recipe with 2 tablespoons vinegar, and enough milk (cow, soy, almond, etc.) to equal 2 cups.

The Sweetest Thing

Sweet RaspberriesSo today’s post is a short one sorry, long day at the office! I think I’m making up for it though by having today’s recipe be a 2-4-1. Today’s recipe for Raspberry Dressing calls for the use of raspberry vinegar. For those of you not familiar with this, it’s a vinegar (duh!) that is pink/red in colour and has been steeped (commercially) with raspberries. This is a great vinegar to use in salads or on fish. I don’t think I’d necessarily use it with anything else off the top of my head, though I’m sure there is a website out there dedicated to its million and one uses.

It can sometimes be hard to find specialty vinegars that are kosher however. So I’ve included a short recipe on how to make your own. If you don’t want to (or can’t be bothered) you can substitute by using one of the milder vinegars out there, like apple cider or red or white wine vinegar. This dressing though would be great one one with lots of dark leafy greens, like spinach, so go ahead, and mix some up!

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Cassarole
*This dish calls for the use of dairy ingredients such as butter, milk and buttermilk. If you wish to have this dish be non-dairy or parve, you can substitute margarine and a non-dairy milk product, such as soy milk or almond milk, instead. For non-dairy buttermilk, please see the instructions at the end of the recipe.

Original recipe makes 1 -2 ½ quart dish

Ingredients:

2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 large eggs
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup buttermilk*
⅓ cup milk*
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground allspice
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Pistachio crust:
½ cup chopped roasted, salted pistachios (or other preferred nut)
½ cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with butter or margarine. Place sweet potato cubes into a large pot, cover with water, and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until a knife is easily inserted into a sweet potato cube, about 10 minutes. Drain well. Return to the pot and mash 2 tablespoons butter or margarine into sweet potatoes. Whisk eggs, maple syrup, buttermilk*, milk*, vanilla extract, cayenne pepper, allspice, and ½ teaspoon salt together in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually mash sweet potatoes into egg mixture, starting with 2 tablespoons of sweet potato mixture, until all sweet potatoes are incorporated. Transfer sweet potatoes into prepared baking dish. Mix nuts, brown sugar, flour, and ¼ cup melted butter or margarine together until completely mixed. Crumble topping evenly over top of sweet potatoes. Use the back of a fork to gently press nut mixture down onto sweet potatoes. Bake in the preheated oven until topping is browned and casserole is set, 25 to 30 minutes. If desired, place under oven’s broiler for 5 minutes to give topping a little more brown colour. Let rest to cool slightly before serving, about 10 minutes.

Non-Dairy “Buttermilk”

Ingredients:

½ tablespoon lemon juice, white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Enough dairy-free milk to add to the ½ tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar) to equal ½ cup total liquid

Directions:

Combine ingredients; whisk. Set aside 5 minutes. Milk will thicken and may separate, depending on the type of dairy-free milk you use. (This is fine, don’t worry!) Stir and use as you would use buttermilk in recipes. You may double the recipe for 1 cup of dairy-free buttermilk, if needed.

Beets – סלקא

In Hebrew, the word for Beet is סלקא, is closely related to סלק —meaning to depart. So taking that in mind, we eat beets symbolically and say the following:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה’ אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּסְתַּלְּקוּ אוֹיְבֵינוּ וְשׂוֹנְאֵינוּ וְכָל מְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתֵנוּ

May it be Your will, Lord our G-d and the G-d of our fathers, that our enemies, haters and those who wish evil upon us shall depart.

So with that wishful adieu, I give you two beet recipes to say “later haters!”

 

Beet & Rice Salad

Beet and Rice Salad

This recipe comes from a good friend, Esther Prisman. I find it easier if purchase the pre-cooked, already peeled beets now available on the market, and then using the food processor with the shredding blade to grate them.

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice, cooled
2 cups cooked beets, cooled and grated (around 3-4 whole beets)
3 tablespoons green onions, chopped

Dressing:

2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup mayonnaise
Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl, and mix thoroughly. Pour dressing over the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate, allowing to marinate. Serve at room temperature.

 

Roasted Beets

Tasty Roasted Beets

Quick tip, beet juice really stains, which is what makes it an excellent natural food colouring! However, if you don’t want your cutting board or fingers to turn bright pink, I suggest wearing gloves when chopping these raw beets and taping down a piece of wax paper over your cutting board. Just make sure you secure the paper well so that it doesn’t slip while you are cutting.

Ingredients:

4 beets, peeled and cut into ¾ -inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (optional)
1 pinch sea salt, or to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the beets, olive oil, and thyme in a bowl until beets are coated, and arrange pieces of beet on baking sheet so that they don’t touch. Sprinkle the beets with sea salt. Roast in the preheated oven until the beets are tender, 10 to 20 minutes. A fork inserted into a beet cube should come out easily.

Teriyaki Chicken

Terriayki Chicken

This sticky, sweet and tangy chicken recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. You’ll find the meat is juicer and MUCH less expensive! Yields 8 Servings

Ingredients:

3 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup regular or reduced-sodium soy sauce
⅓ cup cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
¾ tsp. ground ginger
4 ½ tsp. cornstarch
4 ½ tsp. cold water
1 bunch scallions
Sesame seeds
Rice

Directions:

Place chicken in a 4-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and pepper; pour over chicken. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm. Transfer cooking juices to a small saucepan; skim fat. Bring cooking juices to a boil. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Return to a boil; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Toss the chicken in the sauce, saving some to pour over the rice. Thinly slice the green portion of the scallion and top the chicken with the scallions and sesame seeds. Serve the chicken up over hot rice.

In order to make this ahead of time, in a large gallon sized freezer bag, place the chicken, and combine the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and pepper and pour over the chicken in the bag. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Rub the chicken through the bag, rubbing the marinade over and into chicken. Store the bag flat in the freezer until frozen through, then you can stand it up until you’re ready to use it. When it comes to the day you decide to serve the chicken, cook on low for 8 hours, and then follow the rest of the steps for preparing the sauce the same as above.

Chow Chow

Chow Chow Relish

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh green beans
1 cup of cauliflower, separated into florets (use frozen checked cauliflower)
⅓ cup fresh lima beans, shelled
⅓ cup fresh corn kernels
½ cup chopped onions
½ green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup green tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ cups cider vinegar
½ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
¾ teaspoon celery seed
¾ teaspoon mustard seed
¾ teaspoon ground mustard powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

Note: Canned green beans, lima beans and corn can be used in this recipe if fresh is unavailable.

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans, cauliflower, lima beans, and corn. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes or just until tender; drain. If you are using canned vegetables, you can skip this step, as the vegetables are already par-cooked. Return vegetables to pot, and mix in onions, bell peppers, and green tomatoes. Heat vinegar in a separate saucepan until boiling. Stir in sugar, salt, celery seed, mustard seed, ground mustard powder, and ground turmeric until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over vegetables in pot, and bring to a boil. Simmer 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into a sterilized pint jar, and seal. Let the relish sit for a day or two in the fridge before using to give the flavours a chance to blend.

Refrigerator Dilly Beans

Dill Beans

Ingredients:

2 cups of green beans
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 ½ tablespoons of sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons of kosher salt
½ of a medium onion, sliced thinly
2 sprigs of fresh dill
½ teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
¼ to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want them) – you
can also add a whole dried chili if you have one.

Directions:

In a saucepan, add your water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and garlic and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn it off and set it aside to cool down to room temperature. Trim the beans. You want them all to fit in your jar with about an inch at the top so the brine covers them completely. You can trim both ends, or just the stem end. Next you need to blanch the beans. Bring a separate saucepan of water to a full boil, then dump the beans in and boil them for thirty seconds. Drain them, and quickly add them to a bowl of iced water to shock them and stop the cooking process. You want your beans to be brightly colored and still crisp. Drain the beans and set them aside. Add your onions, dill, red pepper flakes, and peppercorns to your jars. Now add your beans to the jars. They look prettiest standing upright, but don’t worry about being perfect. The easiest way is to lay the jar on its side, or hold it horizontally, and place the beans inside. Go ahead and pour your brine in once it has reached room temperature. Fill the jar to ½ inch below the top of the jar, and put the lid on. Place the jar of dilly beans in the fridge, and let them sit for at least two days before eating them. They’ll keep for up to six months in the fridge, if they last that long!