The Holiday's are here and time is racing by! Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Since my son is 4 this year and my daughter is 1 1/2, there are so many fun toys on their lists, like Star Wars Lightsabers and baby dolls. Now that our weather is FINALLY changing and we're in the 70's it's really starting to feel like winter. I'm sure everyone getting snow can't understand this but yes, 60's and 70's is a winter in Phoenix, Merry Christmas!
I love all things soup and comfort around this time and that includes a little twist on soup. My most favorite super hearty, delicious meal is this chicken and sausage gumbo! Guys, it's SO good. When I close my eyes while eating this I am transported straight to the French Quarter in New Orleans, hearing that good music and smelling those sweet cajun and creole smells. Its deeeeevine.
I should add that not only am I reminiscing about my trip to New Orleans (that seems like ages ago) but for some reason when I'm cooking this, the Disney movie "The Princess and the Frog" runs through my head, the scene where she is making gumbo. If you have kids you'll understand. But I have to admit, I actually saw the movie (in theatre) prior to having kids. What can I say, I love me some Disney movies! Well just like Mama Odie's gumbo, this one is also "the bees knees"!
My husband used to work near this little cajun restaurant and when I was in the area he would take me there for lunch. We always ordered the gumbo and they served it with a big helping of rice on top. A few years back the restaurant closed and we really missed that gumbo and that's how this recipe came about.
A friend/instructor at the joint I workout at mentioned to me how much she loved New Orleans, as we got to sharing stories, I knew I needed to share this gem of a recipe with you all. Prepare to wow your family and have your taste buds dancing. For your enjoyment I've attached a slideshow of a few pictures from my New Orleans trip below!
1/2 c canola oil
2 chicken breasts (roughly 1.5 lbs), cut up into small cubes
1 pkg Aidell's andouille cajun sausage, sliced on an angle
5 tbsp butter (separated 2tbs and 3 tbsp)
1 c flour
2 small onions, chopped
1 1/2 c celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
2 splashes Worcestershire
1 container chicken broth (32 oz)
1 tsp cajun seasoning*
1/2 tsp salt + more (I usually do more, but its preference, if it tastes a little bland do another 1/2 tsp)
1 c. jasmine rice
In a large pot add canola oil and heat to medium/high. Season the chicken cubes with salt and pepper and add to the hot oil, stirring, once cooked use a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the sausage just to get a little color on them (Aidell's is pre-cooked), remove and set the sausage aside. Leave any remaining juices in the pan.
Turn heat down to low/medium. Add 2 tbsp of butter and the flour. This will cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk, the goal is to get this roux a nice dark golden brown. After you've achieved the color add in the rest of the butter, 3 tbsp, and all of the vegetables. Cook until tender. Add the chicken broth, Worcestershire, cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, chicken and sausage you cooked and set aside and all the juice leftover on the plate (hello flavor town). Simmer on the lowest heat, covered, for one hour.
20 minutes before the gumbo is done cook up a batch of rice. In a pot, add 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water, heat to a boil, stir, cover with a lid and bring the temperature to the lowest heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes (depending on how hot your burners are). Mine are hot even on the lowest setting so it takes 15 for me. Make sure to remove the lid once the time is up, otherwise it will keep cooking and you'll have mushy rice.
Serve rice on top of gumbo.
*a note about cajun seasoning: they all taste different, some are very salty and some not salty at all. Try grabbing two different brands so you can use one of the other, mix together, your choice. I usually use 3 different brands.