If it wasn’t for Dad Gumbo

The Super Bowl is on Sunday. In honor of the Saints making it in the big game, we are having gumbo for dinner. I come from a long line of Cajun and Creole people so I thought what better way to celebrate the Saints making then big game than to cook up a big pot of gumbo. My Dad should be making this for dinner, but since he is in heaven, the ladle has been passed to me. Laissez les bon ton roulez!!!!

Chicken Broth Ingredients:

  • (2) 4 lbs uncooked chicken pieces (bone and skin on)
  • 4 large onions, do not peel the skin off, and cut in large pieces 
  • 4 large unpeeled carrots, washed
  • 4 large celery ribs, cut in half
  • 20  peppercorns
  • 2 head garlic, broken into cloves (can leave the skin on)
  • 4 tablespoons salt (or to taste)
  • cold water, to cover all ingredients

Directions: (could be done the day before you make your gumbo)

  1. Place the chickens in an extra large stock pot, along with all remaining ingredients.
  2. Fill with cold water to cover ingredients, and up to almost three quarters of the stock pot.
  3. Place on stove element; cover and bring to a full boil.
  4. Reduce heat; simmer and remove any fat or scum that is floating on top of the water.
  5. Simmer covered with a lid on low heat for about 5-6 hours for stove top
  6. Adjust salt to suit taste.
  7. After the 5-6 hours of simmering time turn off heat.
  8. Remove any fat that has gathered on top.
  9. Remove all chicken pieces and strain in a large strainer, if desired you may strain again in a cheesecloth, but it is not necessary.

Gumbo Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 pounds green sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1 pound red sweet peppers, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 pound fresh okra, sliced in half-inch rounds 
  • 1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 quarts chicken or seafood stock, divided
  • 3 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 whole small bay leaves
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken
  • 1½ cups crab claw meat
  • 1 pound of peeled medium shrimp
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the onions, green and red sweet peppers, celery, okra, tomatoes and garlic. Set aside. 
  2. In a heavy 12-quart stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot, about four minutes. Very slowly (so you won’t burn yourself) add the flour whisking constantly and thoroughly with a long-handled metal whisk until all the flour has been added and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue cooking the roux, whisking constantly so it doesn’t scorch, until it turns a dark chocolate brown, about four minutes.
  4. With a wooden spoon promptly stir in the reserved vegetable mixture—the onions, peppers, celery, etc.—and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 15minutes, stirring almost constantly.
  5. Add 1 quart of stock to the roux mixture, whisking thoroughly until all the roux dissolves and blends into the liquid. Remove from heat momentarily.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the thyme, basil, oregano, chili powder, kosher salt, paprika, black pepper, crushed red pepper and bay leaves. 
  7. Stir this seasoning mixture into the roux mixture containing the 1 quart of stock. Gradually add the remaining 5 quarts of stock, stirring constantly. 
  8. Bring the gumbo to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally and skimming any fat that rises to the surface. By the end of the cooking time the gumbo should have thickened to the consistency of cream. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
  9. If you’re making the gumbo ahead, let it cool at this point, then cover and refrigerate it until it is time to reheat and proceed with the recipe. 
  10. Next, thoroughly stir in the chicken, crabmeat and shrimp. Cook until the shell fish are cooked though about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve.

Ladle the gumbo into heated cups or soup bowls over rice, or pass the rice at the table, along with pepper sauce and saltine crackers or French bread.

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