Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Around The World In 52 Eats: Louisiana


Welcome to Week Two!

We head down south to the land of jazz, Mardi Gras, voodoo, swamps, the best NFL team in my opinion (come at me), and some of my favourite eats.

Before we begin, I'll share the playlist I had on while cooking & eating. I have a thing for brass bands and no one does it like they do in New Orleans. 



But let's get right down to why we're here. Seriously, Creole/Cajun cooking is downright amazing. The dishes are always so flavorful and it always tastes like home... if that makes sense? It's just the most comforting food to me. Maybe it's because I can remember coming home to my dad cooking up a giant pot of shrimp and sausage gumbo or jambalaya. He was always experimenting with the flavors, and he had it down to a science. I was pumped when we pulled Louisiana for week two because I knew exactly what I was doing. Major confidence boost.

Caitlin isn't a fan of seafood so I opted to make gumbo of the chicken and sausage variety. The ingredient list I was following called for andouille sausage but I had chorizo on hand already in the freezer so I used that instead. 

This was my first experience with okra. I should have bought the frozen okra but I couldn't find it and ended up chopping up some fresh stuff. It was... interesting. If you've never seen it, here it is: 


The outside is fuzzy and the inside is quite slimy. White and sticky and not at all what I was expecting. There's a dirty joke to be made here but my mom reads this so we'll move along. 

The other first I came across was making roux. I learned it's a flour and butter mixture used to thicken the gumbo and I was pleased with my first attempt. The goal is the chocolate brown colour I achieved at the end of a vigorous 20 minutes of stirring. 



I was pretty low on time and opted for a crockpot recipe, but for authenticity I think next time I'll do it on the stove. Either way, it ended up being mouth watering. We made enough to freeze and eat over the course of a few months which made my lunches that much more enjoyable. 

Caitlin made sauteed corn and okra following this recipe.   You can find the recipe for the gumbo below:






Crockpot Louisiana Gumbo

Recipe by Melissa Suggitt

Loosely based on recipes I found on Pinterest all mixed together with my own twist.

Prep time: 45
Cook time: 6-8 hours in the crockpot
Total time: 6 - 8.75 hours
Yield: A whole damn lot

Ingredients
  • 4 raw chorizo sausages
  • 2 medium size, raw cubed Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1 medium, chopped Onion (yellow)
  • 3 cloves, finely chopped Garlic
  • 1 medium, chopped green pepper
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions
  • 1 cup of okra
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2-3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 - 4 tbs Cajun seasoning
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup Rice
  • Chopped parsley for garnish/rice
For the Roux

1. Begin by melting the butter in a small pot on the stove.

2. Slowly add the flour, continuously mixing.

3. Don't bother working out your arms that day at the gym, cause you will be stirring this pot non stop for about 20 minutes until it reaches a lovely brown color.


For the Gumbo

1. Dice, chop, and mince your meats and veggies ahead of time if you have a chance. I did mine the day before so I could just toss everything into the slow cooker in the morning and head out the door.  

2. Dump everything except the rice and spices, and pour in the roux. Add the Cajun seasoning on top and cover.

3. Let it cook about 6 hours minimum on low. I think I let mine go for about 7.5, then I stirred and let it simmer for another 30 mins. 

4. Add salt + pepper to taste.

5. Serve over rice.



Notes:

* I used 4 cups of chicken broth and it came out thinner than I would have liked. I would recommend maybe only 2 but that's personal preference.

* I have a very large hatred of parsley, and the rice called for parsley mixed in. So if you're a fan go ahead and try that. I picked around mine because yuck. I definitely would leave it out next time.



Let me know in the comments if you decide to give either of these a try. 



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