Friday, February 01, 2008

But The Fire's So Delightful

Tis the season to stay indoors, curled up by the fire with a piping cup of coca or soup and doing absolutely nothing.

My weekend plans are just that. My body is fiercely rejecting the bout of cold weather Atlanta seems to be getting so I’m just going to stop fighting it. I plan to catch up on some reading, watch old movies like the “Sound of Music,” and revel in the fact that I’m not outside.

I found this recipe this morning and plan on trying it Sunday, which is typically my day to cook. I love gumbo, especially during the winter. It’s usually exhausting trying to chop all the ingredients but this version seems much less “chop-heavy.” Plus, it’s from Paula Dean, the chef of the South, so how can it be bad? Always be sure to let your gumbo sit for a couple of hours before eating so it can absorb all the flavors. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Paula Dean's Gumbo

• 3 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves
• Salt and pepper
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 5 tablespoons margarine
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 8 cloves garlic minced
• 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
• 3 stalks celery chopped
• 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
• 1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems and leaves, coarsely chopped, plus chopped leaves for garnish
• 4 cups hot water
• 5 beef bouillon cubes
• 1 14-ounce can stewed tomatoes with juice
• 2 cups frozen sliced okra
• 4 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
• 1/2 pound small shrimp, peeled, deveined and cooked

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove. Add the sausage and cook until browned, then remove.

Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of margarine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool. Return the Dutch oven to low heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons margarine.

Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for 10 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste and the 1/4 bunch parsley. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.

Add 4 cups hot water and bouillon cubes, whisking constantly. Add the chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add tomatoes and okra. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Just before serving add the green onions, shrimp and chopped parsley.

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