Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gumbo Ya-Ya: Thanks Oprah

I never watched, liked or followed what Oprah was up to all that much. That said, back in '96 during the Bob Greene hay-day I was tempted to try their recipe for a lower-fat gumbo and we've been making this delightful dish ever since. The story goes that Oprah, while on one of her endless diets had a mighty powerful craving for Gumbo or Jambalaya so she had her chef whip up a diet-friendly hybrid dish...

And it was good.

Now, I will never claim to know what real New Orleans Gumbo tastes like but this is a little bit of heaven in a bowl. The first time I made it, it took three days of cooking: boil a chicken, cool a chicken, separate the yucky stuff from the yummy stuff, chop, cool the broth, skim the broth, chop, chop, chop! It was endless and impractical with three kids under two and half. So I tweaked, and tweaked, and tweaked some more. No more whole chicken (thank heaven, they're disgusting) no more all-day cooking. Now we can start it at noon and be eating at dinner. You could be even quicker if you were willing to sacrifice some simmer time.

Here's my new and improved version. It's possibly the greatest food I make...well, except for Arroz Con Pollo or Beef Burgundy... it's definitely top three.

The silkiness of the sauce will blow your mind and don't let making a roux scare you, this isn't the persnickety butter bomb of french cuisine. It's light and friendly and you know the roux's ready when it looks like you've got a pot full of peanut butter.

Gumbo Ya-Ya
Three large chicken breasts
8 C of chicken broth, water and bouillon to taste. Use at least one can of broth.
2 packages kielbasa (we use 1/3 less fat turkey kielbasa)
1-2 TBL oil
1/2 C flour
1can tomato paste 
1 C each of green pepper, onion and celery
1 box (10 oz) frozen okra
2 bay leaves
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp each of red and black pepper
½ tsp allspice

Optional: 1/2 - 1lb of peeled and deveined raw shrimp


Combine broth and water, add bouillon to taste. Simmer chicken in broth until cooked. Remove chicken and set aside.  
Meanwhile, cook kielbasa in a large pot until browned. Remove with slotted spoon. 

If using shrimp, cook in sausage drippings and remove to bowl with sausage with slotted spoon.
Add oil, whisk in flour and then 1 1/2 C of broth. Stir over medium heat for ten minutes until roux turns dark brown and looks like peanut butter.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook and stir for five minutes.

This is affectionately known in our house as the 'Scary Looking Step" as we always look at one another and ask, "We really eat this? Really???"

Add kielbasa (and shrimp if you're using it) and remaining chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce hear and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally until vegetables are tender and liquid thickens.

Shred or slice chicken. Add chicken and simmer ten minutes until heated through. 

*If you want you can simmer for hours more at this point. If this is your intention, add the shrimp closer to dinner time.
Serve on rice. 
Pass hot sauce.

Want a sneak peek at tomorrows post a.k.a. dessert?

For all of you feeling a gap in your schedule on your first day without Oprah, I hope something new and wonderful is just around the corner.


Cheryl Valadez said...

Looks great, Nicole! And very do-able. Making this next week, for sure. Cake looks tasty too, and I will be back tomorrow to check it out ;D

Speaking of cakes, Cake Lady...LOL! I'm looking for the greatest chocolate cake recipe...ever! What's your fave? Is there an earlier post you can refer me to?

Also, I have a Tres Leches cake recipe that is pretty spectacular. If you're interested, let me know. I love to share :)

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

That looks so yummy!

I will be at your house tonight for the cake. You can just leave it out on the front porch...with a fork.

If not fork, I will just have to eat it with my fingers and really...what WILL your neighbors think?!?!?!

Kathi said...

Copied, pasted, in "my recipes" to try next winter.

I made a gumbo this year that was freakin' awesome. This looks even better. said...

Yum, that looks amazing! I've never seen a recipe like that, and if Oprah endorses it I'm sure to love it! Sounds delicious! Now about to check out that delicious lemon cake recipe :)
Star Hughes Living

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