Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cajun Prairie

Last week, we made gumbo and I would like to share it with you. Gumbo's one of those great dishes were everyone seems to have their own recipe. I got mine from James Beard's "American Cookery" and then I promptly changed it. This ones for all you land-lovers out there.

Serves 10. I think this is an understatement. I've had this gumbo for lunch and/or dinner for the last week and am nowhere near finishing it (Chrissie has also contributed to finishing it too).

2.5 pounds of chicken - fryer cut
4 Tbs butter
4 Tbs oil
Salt & Pepper
2 pounds of okra, cut to 1/4 inch chunks
2 medium onions - sliced
8 more Tbs butter
1/4 pound diced ham
2 cups canned tomatoes
2 quarts stock - chicken or beef
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs chopped parsley
1 pound Andouille sausage
1 Tbs Tabasco sauce
Gumbo file
Boiled rice

First, flour the chicken and sprinkle salt and pepper on it. Then saute the chicken in the 4 Tbs butter and 4 Tbs oil at the top of the recipe. Let it get nicely brown.

In a separate pan, saute the okra in 4 Tbs of butter.

And in yet another pan, saute onions in the last 4 Tbs of butter until brown.

Combine the chicken, sausage, okra, onions, ham, tomatoes, stock, and herbs in a large pot. Cover and simmer for 1.5-2 hours. At the end of the cook time, correct seasoning, sprinkle in the gumbo file. Shred the chicken into the soup and remove the bones. Serve over the boiled rice.

 There, super easy!

A couple notes to help your dish:

 - Gumbo file is the ground leaves from a sassafras tree. It is used to add flavor to a dish and also acts as a thicken for liquid. It is sometimes called "cajun seasoning." Go to a specialty store to find it - we found ours at Whole Foods. Add to taste in your dish.

 - Fresh okra is lots better than canned, but if that's all you can find, the gumbo will still be good.

 - Gumbo is traditionally made with seafood, namely shellfish I believe. "American Cookery" has a couple other recipes for gumbo and they have shrimp, crab meat, and oysters as other types of protein you can stick in. Feel free to mix and match meats into your gumbo. If you use any of the seafood I mentioned above, they do not need to be cooked for the entire 1.5-2 hours. In fact, just add them into the gumbo for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Happy eating!


  1. What is fryer cut chicken? Is there something that can be substituted for the butter?

  2. Fryer cut chicken is a whole chicken that has been cut into its rough parts: wing, breast, thigh, leg. Looks like this: Most grocery stores do this. In my experience though, they don't a lot of them on the shelf.

    You can probably substitute any cooking oil you want for the butter. I have a weird feeling that peanut oil would go OK here.