Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cooking Challenge Week 8 - Slow Cooking - Chicken-Sausage Gumbo

In honor of Mardi Gras this week, I chose gumbo to go into my beloved crock pot.  I use it all the time, so the slow-cooking itself wasn't at all a challenge, just finding a new recipe to keep things interesting!

Hard to believe, I suppose, but for all the regional and ethnic food I've tried, I've never actually had gumbo.  Red beans and rice, sure, all the time, but never gumbo.  So while I knew my gumbo turned out tasty--which it certainly did--I had to rely on my husband to tell me if it tasted right.  His opinion?  A good base recipe, but not hot enough, and not spiced enough.  Next time, I'll try it with some creole seasoning, and more chili flakes!

One thing to note:  be careful with that roux!  I'm giving the recipe exactly as written, in terms of timing, but my roux browned much faster than anticipated--probably because I used a relatively thin-bottomed saucepan.  Trust your eyes and nose instead of the recipe; if it looks and smells done, it's done, even if it didn't need the full twenty minutes to cook.

Chicken-Sausage Gumbo
(from Better Homes and Gardens New Crockery Cooker Cookbook, 1987)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 oz. fully-cooked smoked sausage, halved lengthways and sliced
  • 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • 1 10-oz. package frozen cut okra
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes (more to taste, if desired)
  • hot cooked rice, to serve
For the roux, stir together the flour and oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until smooth.  Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Lower the heat to medium.  Cook and stir constantly another 15 minutes, until the roux is a dark copper-brown.  Set aside to cool while preparing the vegetables.

In a slow cooker (4 qt. or larger), combine the cooled roux and water.  Add the sausage, chicken, okra, onion, celery, green bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes.  Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours or high for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.  Makes 6 servings.

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