In our family, we laissez les bons temps rouler on Mardi Gras! Our day begins with beignets and cafe au lait as we listen to New Orleans jazz . . . then for dinner, we pull out all the stops: gumbo and mock choux corn, with King cake and praline sundaes for dessert. YUM!
Want to know how we do it? I’ll share a couple of recipes . . .
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo (from Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet, courtesy of his book The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American)
- 1 pound sausage (any kind, though we prefer andouille)
- 1/2 cup peanut oil
- 3 pounds of bone-in chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2.5 quarts chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tbs poultry seasoning
- pinch of ground cloves
- pinch of allspice
- 1.5 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Tabasco
- Salt and pepper to taste
Brown the sausage in a large pot with just a little oil. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pot and fry the chicken until brown. Remove and set aside.
Add flour to the pan and cook until you have a dark, rich roux, about the color of peanut butter. Scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to get up all the goodness. Add the vegetables and the garlic and saute until limp. Add the stock and stir constantly for about 5 minutes. Add the seasonings and simmer, cover, for at least one hour.
Add the chicken and sausage, and cook until the chicken is tender, usually about an hour . . . I simmer it all day.
Serve over hot, fresh rice. The proper way to dish it up is to put the gumbo into the bowl first and then add the rice.
- 1 pound granulated sugar
- 2 cups dark corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup double-strength black coffee
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 3 cups roasted pecan halves or pieces
Place the sugar in a large, heavy pot and set it over medium heat. Stirring often, slowly let the sugar melt and caramelize until dark brown, being careful not to let it burn. Add 2 cups of dark corn syrup. Add 1 cup of water along with the coffee and butter. Bring the pot to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water.
Add the roasted pecans shortly before serving so they will maintain their crispness. Without the pecans added, the sauce will keep for several weeks in a covered container. If you choose to refrigerate it, which is unnecessary, be sure to let it get back to room temperature before serving.