Monday, October 27, 2008


Now that the weather is starting to get colder, and the days are starting to get shorter, it only means one thing: it's time to start making soups and stews in the house again.

I try my best to be a "seasonal cooker", not just in trying to use ingredients that are in season, but cooking techniques as well. During the summer, I refuse to turn my oven on, and I barely use the stovetop. However, now that cold weather is creeping in, I *love* making soup. One of my favorites is old-school, no-nonsense chicken and sausage gumbo. There's nothing more satisfying than a delicious bowl of gumbo with some fluffy rice...I'm so happy I have some waiting for me in the refrigerator (leftovers from last night).

One of the simplest recipes ever. Just make sure your arm is rested.

2 tbsp oil
3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb smoked sausage (andouille is best, but it is too spicy for Steph's taste so I use kielbasa), cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
4 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped green pepper
8 cups chicken stock (at room temperature)
cayenne pepper
sliced green onions (for garnish)

Film the bottom of a heavy Dutch oven with the 2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken, then brown the sausage in the pot. Remove the meat from the pot, and wipe with a paper towel to clean out any excess moisture. Add the 1 cup oil and heat over medium for 2 minutes. Add flour and stir, stir, stir until combined. Do not stop stirring! This is making the roux, which is the thickening agent for the soup. DO NOT burn the roux! It will be shiny and should be "like sand at low tide" (according to the CIA), and will darken in color and become nutty in aroma. Keep stirring until the roux is the color of a penny, then add the vegetables and keep stirring until they are completely coated in roux and softened nicely. SLOWLY pour in your stock and stir continuously until all your stock is added. Increase heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour (or more). Serve with fluffy white rice.