Happy New Year!! I can’t believe 2015 is coming to a close. This year has been filled with so many beautiful memories for me—raising my daughter, the start of a new job, making lots of new friends—I feel so blessed! I am truly excited to have finished making my New Year’s gumbo, and to share the ending of the process with all of you. I can tell you, that now that I am finished with my gumbo, I feel accomplished, proud and ready for anything that 2016 can bring me! Also, seeing the smile on my husband’s face as he tastes my homemade gumbo is a little lagniappe that brings me joy!
So, for a quick recap…on day 1, we made our chicken stock, AKA “liquid gold”. I got lots of comments from friends that they had no idea how easy chicken stock was to make, and how they enjoyed making their own! I hope this was the same for you.
After the stock was made, we worked on perfecting our roux. As I mentioned in the blog, the roux is something that takes time, patience, skill, and heart! Several people approached me saying “my roux never comes out right!” But, after reviewing my blog, many of them have found they were adding the flour to the oil too quickly, dropping the temperature of the roux. In addition to the continual stirring, adding the flour, as well as the holy trinity, slowly to the roux is the most important thing when making a roux.
Lastly, it’s time to combine the roux with your stock. This, my friends, is where the magic happens!! I bring my stock to a boil, and add the Rotel. Many Cajuns may scoff at the idea of adding rotel to gumbo. However, as I will describe in further detail in future posts, I come from a unique background of Creole and Cajun influence. Creole cooking is considered more refined than Cajun cooking, often adding tomatoes, herbs, butter or garlic resulting in a more rich and luxurious sauce. My mom, being from New Orleans, has taught me many Creole cooking techniques, the main one being adding tomato to EVERYTHING! I always have a can of Rotel on hand, and I love the acidity and kick it adds to my gumbo. Honestly, once you are done with your gumbo, the Rotel will cook out and you won’t know it’s there. However, the flavor it adds is unparalleled!
Here we go!
Your homemade chicken stock
Your homemade roux
½ can rotel
1 lb smoked sausage, cut in ½ in cubes OR sliced, depending on how you like it!
Reserved rotisserie chicken
Fresh green onion
Music pairing: Tab Benoit
Wine pairing: your favorite cab. I love Josh Cabernet
Bring your chicken stock to a boil in a large pot over medium high heat, and add half can of rotel (Make sure you get rotel juices in the pot). Let this boil, uncovered, about 20 minutes, until rotel softens.
Once the stock is boiling and the rotel is added, your stock may begin to reduce. Mine certainly did this time! This is why I suggested earlier on to have more chicken stock on hand, in the event you need to add more. Once your stock is boiling, you gradually add the roux. I add the roux with a large spoon (about 1/4 cup), one spoonful at a time. I add the spoonful, stir it, let it release into the stock, and see what happens from there. You will instantly begin seeing the color of your gumbo change. This part of making gumbo is unique to everyone! You may find that one scoop of roux might create gumbo the way YOU like it. For me, it took 3 scoops of roux to create the thickness I want in a gumbo, which is seen in the picture above. This is truly something you have to take time with. Add the roux, stir, and see where it takes you! If you find your liquid is reducing more than you like, cover it and lower the heat.
Once your gumbo has become your desired consistency, add your sausage to the pot. Cook covered over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Once uncovered, you might see that your gumbo has a greasy film at the top of the pan. Now it’s time to skim the fat! Get a spoon and gently skim the fat from the top of the pan, placing the fat in another bowl. Continue to skim the fat until the top of your gumbo looks like you’d want to eat it (Not too greasy). Once this happens, gradually add chicken to your pot. I say add it gradually because you might find that you don’t want to use all the chicken, depending on how meaty you like your gumbo. Once your chicken is added and warmed, add chopped, fresh green onion and stir. Put some rice in a bowl, top with gumbo. Fix a small plate of potato salad on the side, and plop some of that potato salad into your bowl. And guess what? You’re ready to eat!
Now, how fun was that?!
I really hope you all enjoyed my New Year’s Eve gumbo saga as much as I have enjoyed sharing it. I am a person who LOVES traditions, and carrying on this tradition from my dad, and sharing it with all of you, makes me feel warm and fuzzy!
I now wish you the most special, beautiful, incredible New Year’s Eve ever, as well as a memorable 2016. We all have our New Year’s resolutions….but, let’s all promise, together, to keep learning, exploring, and savoring this beautiful life we are so blessed to have.
-Mandy B “Cajun Queen”
LAGNIAPPE: POTATO SALAD!
Ok. One more thing. While I am the cook (and the boss) in my house, my sweet husband contributes. He helps me with measurements (not my strong suit), he cooks rice (I can’t cook rice), and he makes the potato salad! He uses his mom’s recipe, which is simple, and perfect for gumbo. Here’s his GUEST BLOG!
*The following words come from Terrent Broussard*
1 egg per potato for medium sized potatoes (about the size of my fist). I usually use 6 of each which lasts Mandy and me 2 days (because we eat gumbo for breakfast, lunch and dinner)
6 potatoes (peeled and diced in 1 inch cubes)
6 large eggs
Salt, pepper, red pepper, horseradish
Johnny Jam dressing
- Bring medium pot of salted water to a rolling boil
- Carefully drop in cubed potatoes and eggs into boiling water. (I use a slotted spoon for the eggs to carefully place items into water to prevent splashing). Partially cover pot.
- Once water returns to a boil, look at the clock. Add 15 minutes to that time. Once that time arrives, pour all contents into large colander into the sink. Once drained, place potatoes and peeled eggs into large bowl,
- Using a potato masher (some call it a bean masher, although mine has never seen a bean of any sort), marry the potatoes and eggs and add mayonnaise, mustard, Johnny Jam Dressing, cayenne, black pepper, salt, and horseradish to taste.
- Once done, find the biggest spoon in your kitchen your mouth can handle, fill half of that spoon with potato salad, and the other half of that spoon with gumbo….enjoy!!!!