Monday, October 4, 2010

First fall meal of the year

The weather has finally cooled off for us to eat something that's not light pasta or salads. So this past weekend, we made our traditional first fall meal - a totally inauthentic version of gumbo.

As you can see, our version is a tomato based gumbo, and we've added *a lot* of spice to make it nice and hot.

Here is how we made it.  First the ingredients:

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The veggies: One large bell pepper, a medium onion, a few stalks of celery (I used 4) and 4-5 cloves of garlic (minced)

The protein: a large chicken breast, 1/3 lb of shrimp, and two large links of sausage (diced)

The spices: black pepper, cayenne pepper, tony's, and salt.  At the last minute, I also decided to toss in 5 whole, dried chili peppers, not pictured. As is with all my other cooking, I can't put a quantity with the spices since everyone's taste is different. However, as a guideline, I put in about a table spoon of each in and then added more as needed.

Lastly, the canned goods: a 10oz can of diced tomatoes, 8oz can of Rotel (I know that Rotel is not available everywhere.  To compensate for this, add in 3 diced jalapeno peppers and another can of diced tomatoes) and about 4 cups of chicken broth (another rule of thumb - since we're putting in the broth last, make sure the broth covers everything that's in the pot)


1) brown the chicken and shrimp with about 1-2 tsp of olive oil on medium high heat.  If you're using a non-stick pan, you can use less.  It should take about 8 min. Take it out of the pot and set aside.

2) Now we're browning the veggies.  Toss in the green pepper, onion, and celery.  Stir this constantly to avoid it sticking to the pan.  After about 5 mins or so, toss in the garlic and cook for 2-3 min more.

3) Now put in the sausage with the veggies.  Stir and cook for 3 min.

4) Add the two cans of tomatoes and the browned chicken and shrimp.  Bring it to a light boil.

5) Add the chicken broth.  If 4 cups is not enough, add more to cover the top of the mixture in the pot.

6) Now we season.  Since the flavors have not cooked in yet, the "gumbo" is going to taste rather bland and one dimensional.  So don't over season.  It's always easier to correct under-seasoning later than over-seasoning.

7) Bring this mixture to a boil and lower the heat to have a light simmer going. It's going to cook for 2+ hours. The longer it cooks the fuller the flavor of the "gumbo" will be.  Check on it every 30 min to an hour to make sure there is enough liquid and taste to correct the seasoning.

After it is done, serve over rice (and have some bread for dipping) and enjoy!!!! 

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