Monday, March 2, 2009

Earning My Cooking School Degree

Last October I spent the morning attending a demo at the New Orleans School of Cooking. At the conclusion of our class, our instructor advised us that we could earn a diploma if we made any one of the recipes at home. Last night I set about getting that certificate. Since gumbo was Eddie's favorite dish in NOLA, it seemed to be the logical choice for my final exam.

I used the recipe provided to our class as a model, but halved it and made a few other changes to account for our preferences.

I used:

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 lb. chicken breast (cut into pieces)
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage (cut into pieces)
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions
  • Big Kevin's Bayou Blend seasoning
  • File (ground sassafras leaves used for flavor and thickening after cooking. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per serving is the recommended amount)
  • Cooked rice

Here is how I did it:

  1. Heat the oil over moderate heat in a saucepan. Add in the flour and make a roux to the desired color. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon to avoid lumps from forming. I took my roux to a light chocolate shade; it took approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. My roux is in the ramekin below.

  2. In a large stockpot, heat a tablespoon of oil over moderate heat. Add the chicken, season. Brown the chicken. Add the sausage and briefly saute with the chicken. Remove both from the pot.
  3. Add the onions, celery, green bell pepper, garlic and roux into the pot. Mix well and stir very frequently. After the vegetables start to become tender, return the chicken and sausage to the pot. Combine well with the vegetables, stirring often. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for approximately an hour. Season to taste with Bayou Blend.

Here it is, simmering away:

Approximately 10 minutes before serving, add in the green onions. Serve gumbo over rice, adding file and additional Bayou Blend if desired.

This was a lot of work, but was SO delicious! Even Eddie had nothing but compliments, which was a suprise to me since he has become quite picky when it comes to gumbo. I think I aced the exam. :-)


tam pham said...

yummy! i'm going to try to make this soon!!!

Insomniac said...

Nice! My mom has a recipe for some amazing gumbo that a patient gave her. I've always wanted to try it, but it seemed way too much work.

Congratulations... graduate! ;)

Grace said...

I've always wanted to take a cooking class, it's much needed actually.

I can't remember the last time I ate gumbo, but now you have inspired me take a stab at making it...

A Feminist Gold Digger said...

Gumbo takes FOREVER. Good for you.

I can't stand gumbo. Mr. FGD is Cajun. Thus, I am on many a shitlist for my rampant distaste of the edible family heirloom.

dapotato said...

i love gumbo. mmm...

amber said...

very cool! looks awesome!