I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Chicken Gumbo File

Today I got hungry for something hot. I was thinking of going to the store and buying some chicken gumbo. Usually when I buy it I spice it up a bit with some hot sauce.

Instead I decided to make my own chicken gumbo from scratch. Its really easy.

Chicken Gumbo File

Saute the following ingredients in a couple tablespoons olive oil:
1/2 onion diced
2 stalks celery
1/2 green pepper, diced

Add a healthy amount of garlic depending on your tastes. Add a little bit of salt and some fresh ground black pepper.

Next add 1 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes that have been drained. Chop them up roughly in the pot. Add 1 quart of chicken broth and 1/2 cup minute rice. Add 1 bay leaf.

Now for the chicken. You can brown 1/2 of a chicken breast in olive oil or you can blacken it. I chose to blacken my chicken breast and then cut it up. To blacken a chicken breast get a cast iron skillet very hot. Add 1/2 stick butter to the pan. Meanwhile sprinkle some Cajun seasoning (or just salt and cayenne) on each side of the chicken breast. Sprinkle a little thyme on as well. Drop the chicken breast in the melted butter and cook it on one side until it is blackened. Flip it over and blacken the other side. When it is done chop it up and add it to the soup. Now add a little heat to the gumbo by dumping in some Louisiana Hot Sauce. Be careful if you are serving this to little old ladies. For me, I like it blisteringly hot. I like it hot to fear factor levels.

Get the soup boiling and then reduce heat and simmer for about 1/2 hour covered. After 1/2 hour of simmering add 1 14 oz can of cut up okra and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove the gumbo from heat. Now you want to make it gumbo file, so you need some gumbo file to add to the pot.

Gumbo file was introduced by Native Americans way back in olden times. It is made from ground up sassafras leaves. You add just a little bit to a soup and it will thicken the soup and give it an unusual flavor. To my pot of gumbo I added 1/2 teaspoon and it was perfect. You add gumbo file after you have removed the pot from the heat. Stir it up and let it sit covered for about 10 minutes.