Friday, January 7, 2011

Recipes - TEXMEX

Chicken and sausage gumbo (adapted from Ken Wheaton)
1 four-pound chicken, cut into parts
2 pounds of andouille sausage, sliced
2 onions, 1 diced and 1 cut into quarters
10 cloves of garlic, 5 minced and 5 whole
4 ribs of celery, 3 diced and 1 cut into quarters
2 bell peppers, diced
4 bay leaves
2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dry
1 bunch of green onions, green part diced
1 cup of canola oil plus a tablespoon
1 cup of flour
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of filé powder plus more for serving
Salt, Cayenne and black pepper to taste

To make your roux, in a large cast iron skillet, mix together the flour and the canola oil. Place in an oven set at 350 degrees, walk away and let it cook for two hours. No hovering, no stirring, no nothing! After a couple of hours, take it out of the oven and it should be chocolate brown. Now, you can also do it the standing over the stove method if you prefer, but I don’t.

While the roux is cooking, make your chicken and broth. First, season your chicken parts generously with salt, black pepper and Cayenne. Place the chicken parts in a large pot with the quartered onions, whole garlic, quartered celery, 2 bay leaves and 8 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour and a half, skimming any foam that rises to the surface.

Take the chicken out of the pot and when it’s cool, remove the fat and pick the meat off the bones and cut into pieces. (Be sure and save the bones for another round of stock making.) When the broth is cool, strain and throw out the vegetables. Remove the fat with a gravy separator or by the plastic bag method. To do the latter, you’ll pour the broth into a quart-sized plastic storage bag and once you see the fat rise to the top, snip off a bottom corner and drain it until you reach the fat layer. Do this in batches. You should have about 8 quarts.

Clean your pot (or get another big one if you’re blessed with a large, well-stocked kitchen) and in the bottom of it heat up 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the diced onions and let them cook for 10 minutes. Add the chopped celery and bell pepper, cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Throw in the minced garlic and cook for a minute. Now stir in the roux and cook it with the vegetables for five minutes, stirring every so often. Add the chicken meat and half of the sliced sausage and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If things start to get sticky, pour in some water or wine.

Now, slowly whisk in your strained chicken broth to the roux, vegetable, meat mixture. Throw in two more bay leaves, thyne and the Worcestershire, bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour. At this time add the remaining sausage and cook for another hour. Fifteen minutes before it’s done, add the minced green onions and filé powder and check to see if it needs salt, black and Cayenne pepper.

Remove bay leaves and serve over cooked rice with file powder for people to add to their bowls.

Notes: This is a soupy gumbo. If you like it thicker, use less liquid and/or cook it for a lot longer than stated here. Filé (pronounced fee-lay) powder is ground sassafras leaves and a dash of it will also help thicken it. If you’re feeling wild, replace the canola oil with bacon grease. Ken also adds tasso (a Cajun ham) to his chicken and sausage gumbo, but I couldn’t find that here in NYC. If you’re in that predicament, however, Ken suggests ordering your sausage and tasso from his hometown butcher, Kelly's Country Meat Block & Diner (Toll free 1-866-948-MEAT). He says, "I usually order pure pork sausage, but lots of people are fans of the half&half (beef and pork). The andouille is killer. The tasso is awesome. They also have rabbits, too!" Or he likes to use Bruce Aidell’s andoille sausage, as he believes it has an authentic flavor. He also prefers cooking up only chicken thighs and skipping the whole broth-making step and just adds water to the pot as he lets his pot of gumbo simmer forever. Do this if you prefer.

Ensalada de Noche Buena (Christmas Eve salad)
For the salad:
1 pound beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
2 pounds navel oranges, peeled and diced
1 pound jicama, peeled and diced
1/2 pound apples, cored and diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Seeds from 1 pomegrante
6 cups torn Romaine lettuce leaves

For the dressing:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream or Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 canned chipotle chile, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Clean the beets and remove any leafy stems, reserving for another use. Place the beets on a sheet of foil and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and then wrap the beets in the foil. Place foil-wrapped beets on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until you can easily stick a fork into the beets. Once cool, rub the beets with a paper towel to remove the skin. Slice the beets into half-moon shapes and place the sliced beets into a large bowl.

Add to the beet bowl the diced oranges, jicama, apples, cilantro, peanuts, pomegranate seeds and Romaine lettuce. Toss until well combined.

To make the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, orange juice and chipotle chile. Taste and add salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

Yield: 8 servings

all recipes via Homesick Texan

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