Sunday, May 13, 2012

Shredded Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Happy Mother's Day!

We had such nice weather. I met mom in Chinatown for some dim sum, then I went home to make my mom something special for dinner. I normally make mom macadamia nut white chocolate chip cookies, however this year I decided to make something different. I went with Emeril Lagasse's Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo with white rice. Original recipe found here. This is a fairly time consuming dish, but is quite tasty! It takes about 4 hours from start to finish, however half of the time you aren't doing anything but occasionally stirring the pot as it simmers away. I spent that time visiting with my father and sitting outside. What a great day. :)

I sliced up the 12 oz package of chicken sausage (mild Italian, they didn't have spicy) and let that brown in a little oil in the dutch oven for about 8 minutes. This is uncovered and stirred occasionally. I was a little worried because things were sticking to the bottom. I believe it was due to it being a different type of pot than I usually cook with. FYI, a large regular pot also works fine.

While that was browning I diced up some onions, celery, and a green bell pepper. I also combined the spices that make up the "Essence" seasoning. The recipe that is posted on Food Network creates 2/3 of a cup and then only asks you to use 1 tbsp of it... So I changed the measures to less than what was originally listed. We also like our food on the spicier side, so this recipe has some added kick to it. My adjustments are listed in the below recipe.

Once the sausage was browned I took it out and put the chicken in the pot. The recipe calls for 4lbs of chicken thighs, but I used 2 lbs of chicken breast to keep it healthier and I thought that 4 lbs was a bit overkill.. I forgot to put the seasoning on it first, so I just dumped in the entire mix on the chicken and tossed it around a little. I let that get nice and brown for about 8 minutes and then pulled it out. By this point there is a quite a bit of "things" stuck in the bottom of the pot. However, that is the flavor and this is a 1 pot meal (well, 2 if you make rice in a pot...)!

I let the chicken cool on a plate then put it in the fridge. It doesn't come back into the picture for another hour or so.

This next step is a little tricky and I basically made it up as I went. You need to make a roux. Use 1/2 cup (or so) of oil and then slowly combine in about 1 cup of flour. I used a bit over 1/3 of oil and about 3/4 cup of flour. Stir this constantly while scraping up the flavors that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. This step only took me about 5-10 minutes and the original recipe says 20-25 minutes. My pot was very hot at this point. I continued to cook this until brown and looked a little like Thanksgiving stuffing. Sort of clumpy and soft.

I added in the onions, celery, and bell peppers in next. Stir this around until its combined in with the roux. Then 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne, and 3 bay leaves; stir around. Add sausage back in. I added in 6 cups of chicken broth and 3 cups of water; stir around.

Bring this to a boil then let it simmer for about an hour. I think I waited 50 minutes because I'm impatient.

Add chicken after desired time has elapsed and submerge into the pot. By this point you have a pretty good idea for how thick the broth is going to be. (The shredded chicken will add some "thick" to this too). If you like it thicker take some more flour and combine with hot water until it turns into a paste similar to what the roux looked like, and slowly add into the pot.

I let the chicken breast stay in there for about an hour. I checked and by that point it was very tender and starting to shred when I used a fork to test it. I took the chicken out to shred using two forks. At this same time I stirred in a 16 oz bag of frozen okra. After the chicken was shredded I added it back in. Adding in the chicken thickens this up a lot as well.

Its nice to serve over rice or mix in rice if you want it a little thicker too.

THIS IS VERY SPICY. My family likes food spicy. If you do not, please taste as you go and add the spices in slowly. 

Here is my dad's never fail white rice recipe.

Happy Mothers Day to my mother!! xoxo.

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo
 Serves 4-8

1 tbsp oil
12 oz chicken sausage (Italian flavor), cut crosswise
2 lbs chicken breast
Essence seasoning below
1/3 c oil
1/2 c flour
1 celery heart (approx 1 cup)
1 med onion (approx 1 cup)
1 green bell pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
3 bay leaves
6 c chicken broth
3 c water
16 oz bag of frozen okra

Essence seasoning: 2/3 tsp of each: paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, thyme
  1. In large pot heat 1 tbsp of oil over med high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned. Remove.
  2. Season chicken with Essence and add into pot. Cook on med high heat until well browned. Remove and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Combine1/3 c oil and 1/2 c flour and stir slowly and constantly until its a brown roux (color of chocolate).
  4. Add onion, celery, bell pepper and cook until wilted. Add sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Stir. Slowly add in chicken stock/water and stir until combined. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med low and cook stirring every once in a while for an hour.
  5. Add chicken and simmer for approx an hour or until chicken is tender and falling apart.
  6. Remove chicken and add okra.
  7. Shred chicken and add back in.
Serve over rice.


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