Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cajun Cooking at it's Finest: Part II

    Yay. I finally got around to the Chicken, Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo that has been eluding me for months. It was quite the process, I'm not gonna lie. It took the better part of the afternoon to make, but now I have a massive batch of it that I get to freeze up.
    Since I opted to use Emeril Lagasses Andouille Sausage Recipe (which turned out wonderfully), I thought it only befitting that I try his Gumbo Recipe as well.
    The original recipe didn't contain shrimp and was a lot less spicy. I happen to enjoy spicy food, so I went ahead and "cranked the heat up a few notches", as Emeril often suggests. The flavors were rich and deep with a definate smoky undertone.
     I supremely enjoyed this dish, and am super excited to begin exploring more Creole/Cajun cuisine. As I'm writing this, my mouth is watering and I am strongly considering raiding my refrigerator and eating the leftovers I have set aside for my lunch tomorrow. Oh boy.

Chicken, Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo:
(Adapted from Emeril Lagasse)

Chicken, Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Gumbo
with Basmati Rice and Green Onion.

1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 lb. Andouille Sausage, cut crosswise 1/2-inch thick pieces (Emeril recommends using kielbasa if you don't have andouille, but it will not have the same flavor profile)
4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes (about 6 breasts)
1 lb. prawns, raw and shells removed
1 Tbsp. Emeril's Creole Seasoning aka. Bayou Blast (I added an extra 2 Tbsp. to the Gumbo for added spice)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
7 cups Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup green onion, chopped (as garnish)
2 Tbsp. parsley leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp. filé powder (This is a powder made from ground sassafras leaves, with a mild root beer flavor. It is traditionally used as a winter thickener for gumbo. It was impossible to find, so I ended up leaving it out.)
Cooked Basmati Rice

1) In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Browning my homemade Andouille Sausage
(2) Season the chicken with the Creole Seasoning and add in batches to the fat remaining in the pan.

(3) Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, let cool, and then refrigerate until ready to use.

Browning the chicken.

(4) Combine the remaining 1/2 cup oil and the flour in the same pot over medium heat to create the roux. (My sausage was precooked. It didn't contain as much fat as I think the recipe assumed it would I ended up needing to add another 1/4 cup of oil for the roux to achieve the right consistency).

If your roux looks likie this, you need
to add more oil.

It should be smooth and sort of thin,
like this.
(5) Cook, stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes. This will create a dark brown roux, similar to the color of chocolate. (It takes a while, but once it begins to brown, it happens quite quickly so be ready with the rest of the ingredients).

(6) Add the onions, celery and green pepper and continue cooking, stirring the vegetables until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. (By adding the vegetables once the roux has reached it's desired chocolate brown color, you will shock the roux and prevent it from further darkening).(7) Add the reserved sausage, chicken, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Stir, and cook for 2 more minutes.

(8) Stirring slowly, add the chicken stock in batches (about a cup at a time), and cook stirring until well combined.

(9) Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered stirring occasionally for 1 1/2 hours.
(10) Add the uncooked shrimp, parsley and filé powder.
(11) Ladle a generous portion of the gumbo into the bottom of your dish. Scoop a 1/2 cup of rice onto the gumbo and garnish with the green onion.

And there you have it folks...
Chicken, Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Gumbo...BAM!

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