For college football, tailgating can be as important as the game itself, and we all know folks can go all out Clemson. In honor of this we are going to be highlighting a variety of recipes over the off season to help you plan your next tailgate. This series will focus on foods that can be used at a tailgate, but we won't hesitate to get involved with things that are a little more involved. If you have a favorite recipe you think would be worth showcasing, send me an email at email@example.com with the heading STS cookin.
A few notes before we start, I grew up in Louisiana, and that experience has molded a lot of my cooking. I like some heat on things, so I encourage everyone to be careful with your spices if you follow any of these recipes. Also feel free to experiment. Every time I cook I try to mix things up, even if it is just modifying spices slightly. It helps you from getting bored with cooking, and you never know what fantastic food you can come up with through experimentation.
So on to the actual cooking with our inaugural dish. I decided to go with a staple of my cookbook, gumbo. For those who aren't familiar with it, gumbo is a soupy dish that commonly features seafood or poultry in it and is served over rice. Gumbo can be thickened by a roux, file powder, or the use of okra. If you ask 10 people how to cook gumbo, you are guaranteed to get 10 different answers, but there are a few ingredients you will find in every gumbo.
My gumbo recipe comes from Cooking Up A Storm and has been modified slightly based on a family recipe. A note on one of the ingredients, andouille sausage. Most Walmarts carry a brand name variety, but if you can't find it or want a proper andouille sausage, visit a local butcher. If you can't find it at all, a smoked sausage of any sort should do. We are going to be drawing out the flavor of the sausage to help flavor the entire gumbo.
3-4 lbs. of chicken (white or dark meat will do, but it must be boneless)
1 lbs. Andouille sausage
2 cups diced yellow onions
1 cup diced green bell peppers
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced green onions
2 tbl. fresh, chopped parsley
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 quarts of chicken broth (about 10 cups)
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. Thyme (powdered or leaf)
Chopped garlic to taste
1. Wash and clean the chicken. Place 1 cup of the flour in a bowl and mix in salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and cumin to taste. Coat the chicken in the flour mixture to prepare for light frying.
2. Heat a skillet to medium heat and add 1 cup of vegetable oil. When it reaches temperature, fry the chicken. We aren't looking to cook the chicken, merely get a golden crust on the chicken and have some of the juices seep into the oil. Remove the chicken and set aside.
3. The single most important step to things, we now have to make a roux. The roux is going to add a lot of flavor to this dish, as well as helping to thicken it. For this roux, use the cup of vegetable oil you fried the chicken in, and the second cup of flour . If you screw up the roux you WILL ruin the dish. If you have never made a roux before, click here for a guide.
4. After finishing the roux, add the onions, celery, and bell peppers to it and saute until the vegetables are wilted, stirring constantly, This should take around 10 minutes. As soon as you add the vegetables, being bringing the chicken stock to a boil in a SEPARATE pot.
5. Once the chicken stock is boiling and the vegetables have wilted, SLOWLY add the roux mixture to the chicken stock. I recommend adding a few spoonfuls, and then thoroughly mixing it with the chicken stock. If you don't mix it will the roux will settle at the bottom of the pot and your gumbo will just be soup.
6. Once all the roux is completely mixed in, add the thyme, bay leaves, and garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
7. Take the chicken and andouille and dice into small pieces, then add to the gumbo. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce to a simmer for at least an hour. I recommend 2-3 hours if possible.
8. Once done, add the green onions and parsley shortly before serving over a bed of plain white rice.