03 February 2008

Mardi Gras Superbowl Prep-- GUMBO!!

It was another busy Saturday at work--58 patients. So, after lounging on the couch for a few hours, I got up to prepare for our Mardi Gras SuperBowl Party. I decided to make the gumbo a day early, because it only gets better...This is my kitchen in preparation for dual gumbo-ing.

I had about 3 or 4 veggie/seafood only eaters, and a couple no red meat eaters coming to the party, so I decided on Seafood Gumbo and a Chicken and Turkey Sausage Gumbo. I've had a Mardi Gras party every year for the past three years, and I have finally decided on a recipe that I like. I have basically taken a basic chicken soup recipe that I LOVE, and altered it with some parts of a Cooking Light recipe. So-- since I've basically made up my own recipe, I will claim it for my own. I wrote the recipe with mostly frozen veggies, because fresh are hard to get this time of year. I'm sure fresh veggies would be that much more delicious.

For the seafood only gumbo, I substituted frozen, cooked crawfish tails for the chicken thighs and sausage. I just browned them for a bit in butter, to get their "fat" for a base for the soup. I also used veggie broth instead of chicken broth. For the chicken/turkey sausage gumbo, I used turkey smoked sausage instead of andouille, and omitted the shrimp.

Carrie's Gumbo

½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 lb. (4-5 links) andouille (Cajun) sausage, each halved lengthwise
2 Tbsp butter
coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (12 oz) bag frozen, chopped onions, thawed
1 (10 oz) bag frozen, chopped bell pepper, thawed
1 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning (like Tony’s)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ground
2 bay leaves
1 32 oz carton chicken stock or broth
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (12 oz) bag frozen, chopped okra, thawed
3-4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 (12-16 oz) bag frozen, peeled, uncooked, medium shrimp, thawed

1. Heat flour in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until light brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper, and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate to cool. Repeat with remaining Tbsp butter and sausage. Add to plate and set aside.

3. Add ¼ cup water to pot, and scrape bottom to release any browned bits. Add garlic, onion, and bell pepper, and cook until tender and onions are golden, about 5 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to medium. Add browned flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.

5. Add chicken stock, tomatoes with juice, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.

6. Add celery, okra, and shrimp and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until shrimp is bright pink.**This is the Seafood Version**

7. Chop chicken and sausage into bite-sized pieces and add back to pot with any accumulated juices.**This is the Chicken/Turkey Sausage Version**

8. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve over cooked rice, and add hot sauce to taste. Enjoy!!

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