A new recipe embodying New Orleans for the new year.
NEW CAMERA OBTAINED! No more blurry, undefined blobs of color! No more apologizing, or insisting that, yes, that really is mac n’ cheese instead of a bowl of orange paint! Finally, the pictures of my recipes will match the quality of my writing (at least that’s what I tell myself). I wish I could say I was able to buy the new camera because of money I made via this blog, or an acting gig, or some other creative endeavor; in truth, I just strong-armed my grandmother in spending a couple of hundred dollars on one by saying I never get presents anymore.
But enough of my manipulation of family members; let’s get to the chow. Being creole (along with filipino, polish, austrian, german and native american – I might even be russian; once you reach four different ethnicities, the goal is to claim as many as you can ), gumbo always marked a special occasion in my household. For those of you who don’t know what gumbo is and are therefore leading sad, empty lives, it’s a kind of hefty, spicy soup from Louisiana that is served over rice. There is no one standard recipe, but it usually includes fried chicken, andouille sausage, okra and shrimp. When I started cooking for myself like a big boy, gumbo was on the top of my “Learn How To Make This” list, and now it’s all my family wants me to make.
But I don’t want to tell you how to make gumbo; you can get recipes all over the internet, and that’s just not hardcore enough. After some heavy pondering (and heavy drinking, let’s not deny it) I came up with this:
Not a hot dog. Not a chili-dog. Not a chili-cheese dog. A GUMBO dog. And not just any hot dog, but a hot link.
Now sit down and get ready for the stupidly awesome to fill your mouth.
Jumbo Gumbo Dog
– 1-2 lbs of Chicken Meat
– Corn Starch
– Powdered Garlic
– Cayenne Pepper
– Black Pepper
– Vegetable Oil
– 1 Cup of Onion (Chopped)
– 1 Cup of Green Pepper (Chopped)
– ¾ Cup of Celery (Chopped)
– 2-3 Jalapenos (Chopped or Sliced)
– Tsp Garlic (Minced)
– 1 lbs of Andouille Sausage (Cubed or Sliced)
– 7 Cups of Chicken Stock
– Rice (Jasmine, if possible)
– Hot Link (at least one)
– French Bread or Baguette
This recipe comes in two stages: 1) – Make Gumbo; and 2) Pour Gumbo Over Hotlink. For the first stage, I’m going to refer you to the recipe that I learned from – Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo – as it’s basically what I still use today. As far as the second stage, there’s not much to go into:
- Heat the hot link in the manner you see fit
- Place hot link in french bread/baguette
- Mix gumbo with cooked rice
- Pour gumbo and rice on hot link
- Sprinkle with some diced green onions
- Serve, along with a few choices of hot sauce
Look, I never said it was going to be the most complex recipe in the world (although if you think making gumbo is a walk in the park, you’re crazy), nor did I say it was 100% all my recipe. But I think I get a couple of points for being the first to come up with the idea, at least to my knowledge and what time I spent looking for it on the internet. I will talk about some things that I do differently from Chef Paul, however.
- You can skip all the product placement; any andouille sausage (yes, it MUST be andouille) will do. And while Chef Paul’s seasoning blends are okay, you can do just as well with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic powder when seasoning the chicken.
- For the fried chicken, I just used breast fillets cut into strips. It’s easier to cut up into the gumbo, and you don’t have as much to worry about as you do with chicken that still has the skin and bones. This does mean that the breading on the finished chicken is more chalky instead of crispy since it’s just flour, but because it’s going in a soup it doesn’t matter.
- I dredge the chicken twice; once in the flour mixture, and then I add some cornstarch to the mixture and dredge a second time right before I fry it. The cornstarch is finer than flour and can get into all the nooks and crannies that flour sometimes misses. And don’t worry; having cornstarch in there won’t hurt your roux.
- Speaking of roux – you don’t have to do it the way Chef Paul instructs. There are slower and safer methods to making roux that will ensure you get it just right without the risk of ruining it; just be prepared for those methods to take much longer. I would give y’all more details on those methods, but I’ve only ever done it Chef Paul’s way because I’m not a pussy.
- I added jalapenos to the chopped vegetables for some more heat. If you don’t want it too hot, you can always seed and core the peppers before adding them. If you want even less heat, you don’t have to add them at all. If you want a completely mild gumbo that isn’t hot at all, then you might as well just eat an american cheese, miracle whip and wonderbread sandwich for all the living that you’re doing.
- So the fuck what if I used a bag of microwaved rice?! I was drinking and didn’t want to worry about getting the timing of everything just right. Leave me alone.
- It’ll be hard to wait, but I would suggest cooking the gumbo at least a day ahead of actually making the gumbo dogs. Part of the magic of gumbo is that it’s fantastic when fresh, but mind-blowing when it has sat for a day or two. The longer all of the ingredients (chicken, sausage, soup, etc.) sit with each other, the deeper and richer the flavor becomes. Of course, if you have added shrimp, crab or other seafood to your gumbo, you may not want to let it sit around.
Shout out to my friend and fellow-blogger Zack Keller for being my co-chef and photographer while I held the gumbo dog. I have many more recipes of both food and drink planned, and each will come with HD pictures shot by my brand new camera! Hell, I may even go back and remake some of my old recipes just to get you guys better shots…after I finish cleaning up my kitchen since making gumbo is messy work. And then after I have a drink. And then another. You know, let’s just say it’d be a nice idea.
Dedicated to my grandparents Dorothy and Tony Frantela