FOOD: Recipe - Louisiana Gumbo Ya Ya
By: Arlene Coco Buscombe, Living North Magazine
Louisiana Gumbo Ya Ya
This is the state soup that cooks with Jazz!
Makes approximately 8 to 10 two-cup servings, but freezes great if you have a smaller crowd.
4 boneless chicken breasts,
diced into 1-inch pieces
4 ounces (one stick) butter
or oil (1/2 cup) divided
1/2 cup all purpose flour
(or enough to make a smooth paste)
1/2 pound fresh yellow onions,
chopped (2 large)
4 ribs celery, chopped
1 1/2 large green peppers, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 gallon chicken stock
1 tablespoon dry Italian seasoning
1 pound sliced Okra
thawed and drained
1 splash white vinegar
1 quart cooked rice
File Powder (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté chicken pieces in 1/4 cup butter or oil until browned. Remove and reserve until roux is finished.
2. Add remainder of butter or oil and flour to make a medium brown roux, stirring constantly. Cook for approximately 20 minutes on low. It should be the color of peanut butter when finished. Place on the side to let cool and remove from pot. (roux is often called Cajun napalm, so be careful)
3. Add onions, celery, pepper, garlic and seasonings back to pot that roux was cooked in. Cook until soft and add the roux back to the mixture. Slowly add chicken stock and chicken. Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally until thickened about (30 minutes.)
4. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet over medium heat, add drained okra and cook to remove natural sugar. Cook, stirring constantly until okra starts to break down and dry out (about 15 minutes.) Add splash of vinegar and continue cooking until almost dry and falling apart. Add cooked Okra pieces to gumbo and simmer one hour more over low heat.
5. Serve gumbo over a cup of hot rice placed in bowl with a dash of File powder and a splash of Tabasco.
6. Recipe can be increased or decreased easily and shrimp, crab or ham can be substituted or added. There are as many recipes for gumbo as there are cooks in Louisiana, so don’t be afraid to improvise.
7. Chef’s note- Rice is always served separate in the bowl first; do not add rice to the soup as it will expand.