Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mardi gras dinner

Saturday night, we had some fellow Louisianians over for gumbo. It was Billie's first time meeting them. Lindsey and Seth grew up in Baton Rouge and have two little girls. Seth is special forces in the Army. Lindsey's cousin is married to a friend of mine from grad school----they "introduced" us! 

Perfect gumbo. This recipe is the one my mother in law makes! I have realized I'm a picky gumbo eater... I like flavorful, but not too spicy. Thick, not too thin. And this recipe is just right! 

Lindsey's bread pudding. 

Perfect Gumbo 
**Serves about 12

1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp. Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 stick butter
3 bags (12oz. each) frozen seasoning blend (chopped onions, peppers,celery) thawed
1 bags (16oz. each) frozen cut okra (I omit this!)
1 Tbs. crushed garlic
1 package (12 ounces each) beef hot links cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
2 packages (16 ounces each) beef smoked sausages cut into 1/4 inch rounds
3 cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
5 cups water
2 boxes (7oz. each) gumbo mix with rice, Zatarains brand
2 bay leaves
2 pounds frozen peeled and deveined large shrimp, thawed
2 T file powder

1.  Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. In large bowl, toss chicken with Cajun seasoning. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook chicken, working in batches, until chicken is browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.

2.  Wipe out skillet. Return to skillet to medium heat; melt butter. Add seasoning blend, okra, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until completely heated through. Remove skillet from heat, set aside.

3.  Set a big pot on medium heat setting. (I spray the inside with Pam!) Add beef hot links and smoked sausages to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is lightly browned and juices are released. Add chicken and vegetable mixture and stir to combine.

4.  Add chicken broth, the water, gumbo mix, and bay leaves. Stir till thoroughly combined. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer for 1 hour.. stirring occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom. Add the shrimp. Simmer about 15 minutes more or until shrimp are opaque and cooked through. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, season to taste with pepper. Stir in file powder. Enjoy!

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