Gumbo Chicken With Pizazz

tumblr_lvrhyfJtK21r4vlobo1_400Oh Cajun loves come this way!

I love Cajun food, and this is pretty darn good.

This recipe comes from Simply Recipes and I changed very little. I thought it was perfect.

For those of you who hate to spend extra for somebody else to mix your spices and herbs, then listen up too for the Cajun spice mix which is simple but perfect and can be used for other things as well.

Do try to get fresh Andouille sausage. It’s so much better than any of the commercially packaged kinds, but of course availability does depend on location.

For instance I can’t really get much fresh okra here or at least I haven’t seen it, so I used frozen, which I don’t think changes the taste at all.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 lb bacon, diced
  • 2-3 lbs of chicken thighs, skin on
  • 1-2 lbs andouille sausage
  • 1/2 canola oil
  • 1 c flour
  • 2 medium green peppers, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 lg onion, diced
  • 4 gloves garlic, microplaned or minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 qt of chicken stock (unsalted preferred)
  • 1 qt of water or as needed to get the consistency you desire
  • 1/2 – 1 lb of okra, or 1-2 cups frozen
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
  • Approx. 3 tbsp of Cajun spice mix (store-bought or home-made–as much as you wish)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook the bacon until crisp in a large stew pot (Cast iron would be perfect). Remove the bacon and set aside.
  2. Set the thighs skin down and brown well. Salt the meat while it is cooking. Don’t move the chicken for a good 4-5 minutes. It tends to release and turn easily once the skin is nicely browned. Turn and brown the other side.
  3. Remove the chicken. Brown the sausage. Roll as needed to brown all sides decently. Remove this to the chicken.
  4. You need about 1/2  c of fat from all this. If you don’t have enough, use the canola oil up to that level. This isn’t rocket science, just be in the ball park. Once heated up, stir in the flour and stir. At first stir almost continuously, then every couple of minutes. Turn to low-medium heat and cook until the roux is a dark caramel. This will take about 30 minutes. Don’t let it burn, cuz if you do, it’s a complete loss. So watch carefully.
  5. You can warm the chicken stock and water in the microwave, but it’s not essential. It makes everything blend a little faster is all.
  6. Add the veggies all nicely diced to the roux when it is ready and stir often for about 5 minutes until they are softened. Add the garlic, and continue cooking and stirring for about 2 more minutes. Add the tomato paste and whisk into the roux and veggie mix.
  7. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, whisking it in a bit at a time until you have it all in. Continue to scrap the bottom of the pot, and whisking away.
  8. Stir in 3 tbsp of the Cajun spice mix, taste, and add more in you desire.
  9. Add the thighs back in. Simmer for 90 minutes. Remove the chicken, let cool.
  10. While chicken is cooling, cut the sausage into discs and add to the gumbo. Then add the okra. You can cook this for 1 hour or if you wish, longer to cook down the soup. It’s your call as to how thick you want things. If it’s too thick for you now, add water or more stock.
  11. Pick the meat off the chicken bones and chop and add back in.
  12. Add the green onions, parsley and bacon back in at the very end before serving.
  13. Serve over rice or with bread.

Serves: 10-12

Note: This makes a big pot, but this freezes really well. I thought it was better after it came out of the freezer frankly.

Shrimp and Andouille Cajun Alfredo

I believe that my favorite fusion cooking is Cajun and Italian. I mean they just sing together.

This recipe is simply perfect. I changed nothing except made about a half recipe. I owe it all to Patrick Johnson at JustaPinch who put this together.

This is quite spicy and you may want to tone down the heat a bit, that is up to you. I used chipotle powder for the “hot chili powder” and that stuff is a big on the hot side, so be forwarned. We really did love it though.

We had I think enough for 3 people easily, so this full recipe is probably good for 6 people I think. Those were very big servings too!

So do please splurge now and then and make this delight. It’s heavy on calories and fat of course, but then you only eat a meal like this every couple of weeks or so, right?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lb of shrimp (I used medium) peel, deveined
  • 6 TBSP Cajun seasoning, this recipe or commercial
  • 2 TBSP EVOO
  • 1 pkg Andouille sausage (or another if you have a preference)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 5 cloves garlic, micro-planed
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb of linguine (personal preference here too)
  • 2 c cream
  • 1 c whole milk
  • 1 TBSP black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (I didn’t use any–the cheese and sausage have plenty)
  • 1 stk butter, sliced
  • 1 1/2 c parmigiano-reggiano or a very high-grade parmesan
  • 1/3 c chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the shrimp in a bag and use 1/2 of the Cajun seasonings. Shake and refrigerate for an hour or so. (I went ahead and cooked the shrimp early and just placed it in a bowl. Once cooked you just want to reheat it in the finished sauce at the end. The recipe is somewhat busy and so having this done ahead allowed me to pull a salad together and so forth and not be rushed.)
  2. To cook shrimp, place in a saute pan with half of the EVOO and cook, for a minute or two on each side. Remove from pan, and use this same pan to do the sauce in.
  3. Get a pot of water heated for the pasta to cook in.
  4. To the saute pan, add the rest of the EVOO,  and the sausage, cut into slices. Just saute lightly. Add the onions, and then the pepper flakes, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook just until onions are softened.
  5. Add the cream, milk, rest of the Cajun seasoning, pepper and chili powder and salt if using. Stir until well mixed.
  6. Bring to a soft boil, add the butter and melt it in, and then the cheese, shredded, stirring and reducing the temperature to a very low heat. You can leave it here, stirring now and again, for as much as 20 minutes if need be.
  7. Cook the pasta al dente, drain and pour into the saute pan and mix until all is coated.
  8. Then add the shrimp back in and mix until just heated. Place in a serving dish and cover with the parsley.

Serves: 6 generously

NOTE: This really is good. I urge you to try it. We had it with a nice salad and some very good french bread. Perfect.

Cajun-Italia Fettuccini Extravaganza

This is to die for. Simple as that.

It’s a bit of a job to make, but not that bad.

I got this from a wonderful cook at JustAPinch, Diane Smith.

I’ve altered the recipe just slightly, and I did rather liberally change the cooking order up a bit, mostly because of trying to wrangle with cream cheese.

I think you will like it.

The picture here is Diane’s and I would say it’s pretty close, but I thought my sauce was a little pinker. I must have had more paprika and cayenne in mine.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 chicken breast, deboned and cut up into bite-size pieces.
  • Either 1 lb of andouille sausage or 1 lb of shrimp, cleaned and deveined (or both!)
  • About 2/3 of a stick of butter (total)
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced (expect that the trinity of pepper, onion and celery should be about 2 cups uncooked)
  • 4 cloves garlic, micro-planed
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Cajun seasoning, or your favorite commercial variety
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 2/3 c cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped with green parts
  • 2/3 c parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1  12oz box of fettuccine, cooked (or any other pasta you would like)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Melt about 4 tbsp of butter in a large skillet. Add the chicken and brown, turning often, until done. Remove with slotted spoon to a large bowl.
  2. Add the onion, green pepper, garlic and celery, cook until softened and nearly done. Remove this also and add to the chicken.
  3. Add the remainder of the butter, melt, and add the flour, stir until mixed and cook for a minute or so.
  4. Remove and add to the chicken and vegetable bowl.
  5. Add the chicken stock, and add the cream cheese, cubed into small bits. Heat until boiling and boil for about 3 minutes or so, breaking up the cream cheese as best you can. It will not look great, since the cheese resists melting, but don’t worry. The stock will continue to cloud up and thicken as it melts about half way out.
  6. Add the Cajun spices and return the bowl of chicken and veggies to the pan. Stir, and it will thicken quickly. The cream cheese bits will disappear and all will be smooth and creamy.
  7. You can shut it off at this point, and let it sit until you are nearly ready to eat. (I did this in the morning and then started it back to warm about 15 minutes before dinner time)
  8. If using shrimp, add now, and bring the mixture to a low boil, until cooked–about 3 minutes.
  9. Add the  andouille sausage cream, scallions, parmesan and parsley, stirring until just heated through.
  10. Serve over the pasta.

Serves: 4

Note: I did not use the shrimp, but I would not recommend that you eliminate the sausage as it is integral to the dish I think. Also you could probably skip the cream cheese. It did seem to disappear fine once I returned the chicken and veggies to the mix and the roux. I don’t add the sausage until the last minute for this reason: it is already cooked, and I find that th flavor bleeds out if you put  it in too early in the process.

Holy Trinity Jambalaya Stew

Oh, yeah, give me some Cajun.

This is one of those recipes that you can find everywhere, some more authentic than others. This makes no real attempt to be so, but goodness we loved it to death.

And because I don’t cook the rice IN the dish, you can make huge batches of this and freeze up meals for those wintry days when you are tired from fighting the elements and want a great meal in minutes.

Of course you can substitute other seafood for the shrimp, or add crawfish or fish if you wish. All should be added late in the game and just cooked. Sticking them in too early will result in rubbery tasteless crustaceans.

The same is true of the sausage. I buy cooked sausage and love the taste, so I don’t let it sit and cook out it’s flavor. Do as you wish about this. 

Okra is up to you. I like it. Some don’t.

Filé gumbo powder is not to be added during cooking, but only at the end. I use it as a table condiment and let folks sprinkle it on if they like it.

So get busy, and go Cajun!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 chicken thighs (or other chicken parts to equal about 2 – 4 c cooked)
  • 5 tbsp canola oil, divided 2 and 3
  • 1 1/2 lg sweet peppers (I used 1/2 of a red, green, and yellow)
  • 1 med. onion, diced
  • 3-4 ribs of celery diced
  • 1 c of diced okra (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust depending on whether you use salted tomatoes and stock)
  • 2 tsp each black and cayenne pepper (again, adjust given what you want in heat)
  • 3 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 2 15 oz cans of stewed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups (at least) chicken stock
  • 1 lb andouille sausage cut into chunks (or other sausage you like)
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, cleaned
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 4-5 scallions, chopped
  • filé gumbo powder
  • 2 c dry rice (for 4 cups cooked)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil and add the thighs, browning well and turning to brown the other side. Remove to a separate plate.
  2. Add the trinity: onions, bell peppers and celery, reducing heat to medium and sauteing until fairly softened.
  3. Add the seasonings, garlic and tomatoes, and bay leaves. Return the chicken to the pot, and cook on a simmer for about 30 minutes until the chicken is done.
  4. Remove the chicken pieces to cool.
  5. Make the roux: 3 tbsp canola oil and flour in a small pan. Cook while stirring often until it is a medium brown. Set aside.
  6. You can cover the pot and let it all sit now until near dinner time. I typically cook what I can in the morning, and stop here.
  7. When you are getting ready to eat, turn on the burner and begin reheating the jambalaya. Add your sausage now.
  8. Remove the meat from the chicken bones, discard the skin, chop the meat or shred. Return it to the pot now too.
  9. When its bubbling, add the roux in chunks and stir to thicken. When it’s all incorporated, then add the shrimp on top and cover for 5 minutes.
  10. Serve! Over rice, with the chopped scallions and filé powder on the side

Serves: 6 easily