Today we have a tasty Louisiana gumbo recipe from Hana Chelache
A couple of weeks ago Russell and I watched the Disney film The Princess and the Frog. Although I turned 29 last month I might as well be 9 given my choice in films, because I love cartoons. Unfortunately I’ve actually had a really difficult time recently. I love cartoons (both the funny, happy joyful kind that are made for children and the marginally offensive grown-up kind) at the best of times and I’ve found watching them quite comforting recently.
Anyway after seeing it I think The Princess and the Frog might be up there as one of my favourite Disney films. I think I might like it more than Frozen – if that’s not too sacrilegious to say! I really liked the way it was set in New Orleans (somewhere I’ve always wanted to go) during the jazz age and was grounded in the real world. An evil witch doctor and a benevolent voodoo priestess took the roles of the wicked witch and the fairy godmother, and the plucky heroine was a hardworking waitress who loves to cook, working two jobs to achieve her dream – I’m sure we all know someone like that.
it was interrupted by oohs and ahs from Russell, every time Tiana cooked anything”
I also loved that although Tiana’s dream did come true (with the help of an army of singing swamp animals and a wish upon an evening star) her happy ending actually seemed very real. She found love and ended up opening a successful restaurant. The fact that the man she married happened to be a prince seemed more like a nice to have than the reason why she had a happy ending.
Anyway as we were watching the film in our flat, it was interrupted by oohs and ahs from Russell, every time Tiana cooked anything. I don’t really know very much about Southern US cooking at all, but I really enjoyed making this gumbo recipe, which I have adapted from this one on Epicurious. It even has okra in it, which reminded me of the cute little frogs because of the colour and the sliminess!
This is a great recipe because you can make it the day before, adding the prawns (shrimp) at the last minute.
Serves 8 hungry people
It’s a US recipe but I’ve tried to convert it into UK/European measurements. I would actually recommend buying a measuring cup if you like getting recipes of the internet, as it makes converting a lot less complicated.
Half a cup vegetable oil (4 tablespoons, or enough to generously cover the bottom of your pan)
Half a cup all purpose flour (65g plain flour)
3 large onions, chopped
3 red bell peppers (red peppers), seeded, chopped
4 celery stalks
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
500 ml fish stock (I added more water as I went along, but don’t make too much as its meant to be quite a thick recipe)
2 pounds Cumberland sausage (I couldn’t find any andouille sausages), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices (100g)
1.5 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes (75g)
16-ounce packages sliced frozen okra ( I used fresh Okra)
4oz ready cooked frozen shrimp (100g frozen prawns)
Minced fresh Italian parsley
Heat the oil in your largest heavy bottomed sauce-pan, until it is so hot its almost smoking. Add the flour and stir continuously until the mixture turns a dark reddish brown.
Add chopped onions, chopped bell peppers, and chopped celery and cook until onions are soft and brown, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. You need to stir constantly to stop the flour sticking on the bottom. Your arm will hurt after this but the smell it releases is incredible.
Add the garlic, cayenne pepper and thyme, and stir for two minutes, followed by the wine which you should stir until it is absorbed. Add tomatoes with juice, fish stock, sausage, and chicken; simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Add okra and simmer until tender, it should be another 10 minutes or so.
For best results take your pot off the heat, cover and put it in the fridge to rest until the next day. Trust me, it will taste better. The next day reheat in the pot, then add the prawns and simmer for another five minutes (until the prawns are cooked through), then drop in the parsley.
Written by Hana Chelache