Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday's Menu- on Tuesday

Having Neither Rain nor Snow Day this week has me thinking about food I want to eat when I want to stay indoors and hunker down. I am mainly focusing on the "snow" part of the day, since it is unusual for us to see the white stuff. Gumbo is something I love to eat when it is cold outside. Years ago when Phillip and were first married, we would have occasional pot luck dinners with his friends from work. One guy, Don, would make wonderful gumbo. He gave me his recipe and I have been making it ever since. My favorite version is chicken and sausage, although I love turkey gumbo right after Thanksgiving. It is a great way to use up all that extra turkey when you just can't eat another turkey sandwich. Here's Don's recipe...

Don's World Famous Gumbo- with Merry's version at the end

1 medium onion
1 bell pepper
1 pkg. celery
3/4 c. oil
3/4 c. flour
1 lb. sausage (or more if you want)
1 lb. chicken (or more if you want)
2 4 oz. cans of tomato sauce
5 1/2 c. chicken broth

Seasoning mix
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves (dried)
1/2. oregano leaves (dried)
1 tbsp. minced garlic

Combine chopped onions, peppers, and celery in a medium bowl. Set aside. Mix together the seasoning mix and set aside.

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat, until it begins to smoke (about 5 minutes). Gradually add in the flour, whisking constantly with a whisk. Continue whisking mixture until the roux is the color of a paper bag (about 2-4 minutes). Turn off the stove immediately and add half of the vegetables and stir well with a spoon for about a minute. Add remaining vegetables and cook for 2 more minutes. Add seasoning mix and stir well.

Meanwhile place the chicken broth in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Add the roux mixture by spoonfuls, stirring well with each addition. Add the 2 cans of tomato sauce, sausage, and chicken. Reduce heat and let simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim oil from the top. Serve over rice.
Merry's version- If you would rather do something other than chop veggies, use fresh or frozen mix from the grocery store (I do this one).

I use 3/4 chicken stock and 1/4 water to make up the 5 1/2 cups of liquid needed.

I don't use an oil and flour roux. Down here you can buy dry roux. It dramatically cuts down on the amount of oil you have to skim at the end. There are directions for making dry roux on the Internet. I mix the roux with equal parts of chicken broth and stir until smooth. I just throw everything in the pot at the same time.

To add a little kick, I also add a couple of capfuls of liquid crab boil. Do this by small amounts if you decide to do this, cause you can go too far very easily.

I usually double the recipe and freeze some for later. It freezes very well.

Last week's recipe- Shortbread cookies
These cookies were very good. Everyone loved them. They are artery cloggers tho. The recipe makes 20 cookies and used 2 sticks of butter. I will probably pass on making these again. If I am eating something bad for me, it better have chocolate in it.

Two week's ago- PA Chicken and Waffles
This was good, but not great. I doubt I would go to the trouble to make it again. It has been a long time since I had made a gravy and it took a whole lot longer than I anticipated. Everything else was cold by the time it was ready. I would order this in a restaurant if I ever saw it to see how close the recipe came to the original.