Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

Every Cajun household has it's own variation of gumbo. This is how I was taught by my late husband, Barry Domingue who I consider to have been one of the best home chefs I've ever known. Enjoy!

Note: Gumbo is best eaten the day after! 

3 pounds of Chicken Thighs trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
1 package Andouille Sausage (preferably Savoie's) cut into half moons
Splash of canola or other oil
2 medium onions chopped fine
2 green bell peppers chopped fine
4 stalks of celery chopped fine (optional)
2 32oz cans of Chicken Stock
32oz Water
1 heaping Tablespoon Chicken Base concentrate
2 or more teaspoons Cayenne
2 or more teaspoons Paprika
several dashes of Cayenne Pepper Sauce like Red Devil or Crystal
Salt to taste
1 or more teaspoons White Pepper
1 or more teaspoons Black Pepper
*1/4 to 1/2 cup Savoie's Roux (recipe below)

Trim all visible fat and remove skin from thighs. Season with half the cayenne, paprika, cayenne pepper sauce, black pepper and salt. Let sit while preparing the remaining ingredients. 

Chop onions, bell pepper and celery.

Bring the chicken stock, water and chicken base concentrate to a boil in a large stock pot. Add the vegetables and spices and cook at a mild boil partly covered for at least one hour. Once the vegetables are softened, add the roux. Stir until incorporated thoroughly. 

Cut the sausages in half and slice into half moons. Sauté until golden brown in a non-stick skillet with a little canola oil. Drain on paper towels.

Add the chicken and sausage to the pot and cook at a simmer partially covered for several hours, adding water if necessary and tasting for seasoning. The vegetables should be melted into the stock at this point. 

Beginning of the cooking process

Serve over short or medium grain white rice. Garnish with sliced green onions and a few splashes of hot sauce. Unfortunately, I did not get a photograph of the final result. To be updated latter.

*I use Savoie's Dark Roux available by mail order. You can make your own roux by mixing equal parts canola oil and flour. Cook in a cast iron pan until the color of dark chocolate. This requires constant attention, constant stirring and good ventilation. I like to do it on the grill outside. Make a lot - it will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.

1. Add oil to your pan - preferably a cast iron skillet or cook pot
2. Gradually add the flour and stir to incorporate
3. Stir constantly - do not walk away - if you burn it, it will not be usable
4. It will gradually darken. It will take up to one hour to be right for gumbo

Thursday, October 31, 2013


The yuzu is a citrus fruit originating in East Asia. The tree is hardy to 12 degrees and is used for root stock for less hardy citrus trees. The fruits are very aromatic and the peel and juice are highly prized in Japanese cooking.

I purchased my Yuzu tree in the Fall of 2011 from Four Winds Growers. It was planted it in a pot initially, but finally put in the ground the beginning of 2013. I found out latter I should have not let it bare fruit the first year in the ground so to be under less stress while establishing a sturdy root system. Next time I'll be sure to do it right. Regardless, I ended up with a wonderful crop of around 25 yuzu. The picture here shows the fruit left on the tree after I harvested most of the fruit.

Now that I had my first crop, it was time to figure out how to preserve them. First step is to remove the rind. I use a very sharp OXO peeler to do this. I stored small amounts in separate baggies to be frozen to use latter. 

Afterwards, I cut the fruit into quarters and squeezed the juice with my Norpro Citrus Juice Press. Yuzu is not at all juicy, so I only ended up with about 150 g of juice. Precious stuff, indeed. Most of that was jared and frozen.  

The fruit is full of huge seeds and these were removed and dried to be planted latter. I don't know if they will viable, but time will tell once planted.

After a little research, I found that even the inner pith and spend fruit can be used to make tea after aging awhile in either sugar or honey.

The first recipe I tried is Yuzu Kosho, which I found on The Japanese Food Report, an excellent web site for anyone interested in Japanese cooking. It is a salt-cured condiment that can be used to flavor soups, can be added to soy sauce as a dipping sauce or just to wake up just about any dish. Proportions are 80% jalepeno, 20% yuzu rind and 10% total weight salt.

Now it has to cure for one week in the refrigerator, so I'll have to report latter how it comes out.

 Finished Yuzu Kosho with my prized Takeda Banno Bunka
Shame on me for not wiping the blade clean for the picture!
Everything else left over - Yuzu in local honey to make tea... 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My favorite kitchen tool!

Can an appliance be life changing? In the case of the Vitamix blender, absolutely. My only regret is that I didn't buy one years ago.

Four or five or even six hundred dollars (depending on features) may seem expensive for a blender, but this is hardly an ordinary blender plus I believe the term "expensive" is relative. I consider it a long term investment as it gets used at least 6 times a day. The 7 year warranty gives me peace of mind and I feel good buying an American product from an American company with a reputation for impeccable customer service. There's practically nothing this machine can't handle.

The model I choose is the Pro Series 500. This model is at the high end of the spectrum cost wise, but I feel the features are worth it. I love the presets as well as the pulse feature. You simply push the smoothie button for and walk away. The Vitamix makes guilt free soft-serve ice cream by simply blending frozen fruit and even cooks hot soup. In addition, it does the job of a food processor if you work with small batches. It comes with a really great cookbook although there are tons of recipes online and at www.youtube.com. I'd suggest VitamixVideos Channel, as well as BlendItandMendIt Channel (a little weird, but helpful) to get lots of ideas.

Now for the "life changing" part... I am not a person who likes vegetables although I realize how important they are for optimal health. Drinking raw vegetables is the most practical way to consume lots of power foods such as kale, parsley, spinach, berries, carrots, apples, etc. With the Vitamix, even high fiber drinks come out silky smooth. I simply would not be able to chew my way through that many vegetables.

There's no need to buy a juicer that extracts when the Vitamix pulverizes vegetables (and fruits) so all that "good for you" fiber (seeds, cores, stems and pulp) is consumed. The only exception I've found is wheat grass. I add the grass to water filled just over the blades and about a half cup of ice, pulse it for about 20 seconds and strain it through a cotton muslin bag made for straining seeds for jams. I put the pulp in my worm bin, so nothing goes to waste.

Smoothies are usually savory but can be on the sweeter side with the addition of banana, berries, dates or honey.

Note: Use organic if at all possible. Peel non-organic vegetables such as cucumbers, zucchini, squash.
Note: Unless you are using lots of frozen fruit, always add crushed ice. This will help offset any taste issues. If your smoothie is too thick, add water

Being creative with flavor combinations and think about balance and variety. The Japanese Washoku cooking principles are a good place to start... "Meals that are balanced in flavor include some foods that are salty, others sweet and/or sour, bitter and spicy. Including a variety of flavors in every meal helps avoid food cravings that might lead to over-eating. Balancing flavor helps to limit sodium and sugar intake, too."

In general, my recipes call for one or two choices from the following groups...

Base liquids: RO (reverse osmosis) or filtered water, wheat grass shot, egg whites with a yolk or two, or unsweetened almond milk, apple juice, coconut water

Base vegetables: kale, spinach, carrots, red bell pepper, cucumber, zucchini, squash such as yellow hook neck, beets, broccoli (this should be blanched and cooled ahead of time), celery, romaine lettuce, cabbage, daikon, bitter greens, etc.

Base fruits: apple (including core and seeds), lemon (including peel), banana, avocado, peaches, pears, nectarines, mangos, melons, etc.

Base herbs: raw ginger, parsley, cilantro, basil, mint etc.

Other beneficial additions:
Sea weeds i.e., kombu (rehydrated with some soaking liquid), nori or kelp powder, aloe vera juice, etc.

Base additions: nuts and meals such as flax meal, psyllium fiber, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, raw nuts or nut butters (you can make amazing nut butters and pulse/grind seeds to make mill in the Vitamix), oatmeal, etc. (Many people like to presoak their nuts in cold water overnight in the refrigerator)

Sweeteners - I like to keep these to a minimum (once a day) since I want to limit carbohydrates. Any one of the following can help offset strong flavors in greens: honey, pitted medjool dates, frozen fruit such as 1/2 banana, a few organic strawberries including green caps, blueberries, cherries or any other dark berries (I like to trim/pit, pre-wash my berries, spin them dry in the salad spinner and freeze them in advance), grapes, etc.

Savory elements - miso paste, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, hot sauce such as Sriracha or Tabasco, chile peppers

Here are a couple of examples:
1 cup crushed ice, 1 cup RO water, 4 oz. wheat grass shot, 1 cucumber cut into large chunks, big handful of spinach, handful of kale, 1/2 apple cut into chunks, 1 inch piece of ginger peeled and large chopped, 10 stems parsley, 1 sheet nori, 2 tsp flax meal, 1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds, 1 tsp light miso paste

1 cup crushed ice, 4 egg whites + 1 egg yolk, 1 cup RO water, 1/2 banana, 2 carrots pealed and rough chopped, 5 raw walnuts, big handful of spinach

Be creative, have fun and enjoy!