Monday, July 16, 2012

Love + Dad's Gumbo + Cornbread Madeleines with No Madeleine Pan

Dear Lauren,

When Dad makes gumbo it's pretty entertaining to watch him make the roux. I know it looks like he's dancing but he's actually wearing wireless earphones for the t.v. and listening to a show about a dog who guided police and later fire trucks to a remotely located house that was on fire in the middle of the night. Still, he moves all around and I can't get a clear photo of him!

Do you know what he did yesterday?

Do you know what yesterday was?

It was our Love-iversary.
I told Dad I had feelings for him. Yes, I told him first. And when I told him, he was leaning over to take a drink and the straw went right under his glasses and stuck him in the eye! Haha! So yesterday morning, I see this post in the cooking group we belong to:

"‎18 years ago today my sous chef told me she was in love with me. She told me again this morning. Love you Sandra."

Sweet as can be, right?


You might be wondering why in the world Dad decided to make gumbo in the heat of the summer. It's our friend Allison's fault. She made gumbo yesterday and dad saw a picture that she posted in our cooking group and that was that. We were having gumbo.

The Holy Trinity. In Cajun cooking that's what celery, onion and bell pepper are called.

The okra wasn't the most beautiful. They'll be fine.

My stock.

Okra's so pretty, I think. Looks like a flower.

Dad's keeping the chicken meat to add to the gumbo. I get the skin and the bones for the freezer, to make more stock. 

At some point, the wooden spoon wore out. Luckily Dad found the rest of it in the gumbo.

When Dad cooks, the whole kitchen blows up. I wanted to make some Cornbread Madeleines from my Cowgirl Chef cookbook. And I did but was relegated to the bar! 

 Ready for the oven.

Crispy on the outside. Moist and tender on the inside. Another perfect recipe by the Cowgirl Chef. I almost forgot about the madeleine pan. Almost. I have to get one! Can you imagine little shells of cornbread?! I read that the blue steel madeleine pans from France are the best but you have to get them in France, they don't make them here. I wonder if I send Ellise Pearce money when she finishes her book tour...will she get me one? I'm pretty much decided I'm going to ask her. Haha! I have no boundaries! Hey, before I forget, make sure you get a digital scale. It will make a huge difference if you measure ingredients in grams on any recipe that might have those measurements included. Like the Cowgirl Chef's recipes. I actually measured out the cornmeal by cup because I had so little space on the bar. But then I stopped and got out the scale. I was way over! It would've made my corn bread so dry! GET A SCALE! For sure! (P.S. And if you were wondering, she gives permission to use a muffin pan instead of a madeleine pan in her cookbook. And it worked just fine.)

Those green onions on top? Guess where they're from? The garden. They're the tops off some red onions Dad's growing. They taste just like regular green onions.

Dad said he got his recipe from a column on Serious Eats. But I know Dad pretty well. He never follows a recipe exactly. Never. It took some cajoling, but I got him to sit down with me and edit the Serious Eats recipe til it more closely resembled what he actually did. And as I suspected, he made quite a few changes.

All I can say is that Dad and John Besh are my two favorite gumbo experts as of today! The flavor in this gumbo is unbelievable! And Allison? She's my new bff! I think I'll just start cooking whatever she's cooked the day before!

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo  

serves 10 to 12

The Chicken:
1 large chicken, cut into 12 pieces
2 tablespoons Slap Ya Mama Hot!
1 tablespoon granulated garlic

The Creole Spice Blend:
2 tablespoons celery salt
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons Slap Ya Mam Hot!
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

The Roux:
1 cup canola oil
1 cup flour

The Rest:
2 large onions, diced
14 ounces andouille sausage, sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Leaves from 6 sprigs fresh thyme from our garden
3 quarts chicken stock, homemade by ME!
4 bay leaves
3 cups sliced fresh okra
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
3-4 dashes Slap Ya Mama Cajun Pepper Sauce
3-4 dashes Filé powder

The Garnishes:
Freshly ground black pepper
Filé powder
Slap Ya Mama Cajun Pepper Sauce
White rice
Green onions, sliced for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350. 

Combine the spices for the Creole Spice Blend and set aside.

Season the chicken with two tablespoons of Slap Ya Mama Hot! and one tablespoon granulated garlic. Put the chicken on a rack inside a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Bake the chicken until the skin is nice and crusty and browned. Let the chicken cool and put the skin and bones in a ziploc for making stock at a later date. Cut the chicken meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Make a roux by heating the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil. It will immediately begin to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate and continue whisking constantly until the roux takes on a deep brown color, about 15 minutes. Add the onions, stirring them into the roux with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the roux is a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the andouille and stir for a minute before adding the celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add the thyme, stock, chicken meat and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and skim off the fat from the surface of the gumbo every so often. There will be quite a bit of fat, just skim it off.

Add the okra, Worcestershire, all of the Creole Spice Blend, several dashes of filé powder, and Slap Ya Mama Cajun Pepper Sauce. Simmer for another 45 minutes, continuing to skim the fat off the surface of the gumbo. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls over rice with some sliced green onions for garnish.


P.S. This recipe fed Dad, me, Erin, and Tim & Patrick each ate two bowls of it after playing golf. I love it when there are people here to feed!

P.P.S. What can I say? Some girls get flowers. I get gumbo!


  1. Awesome post! Now I want gumbo! And a UPS shirt to wear while making roux!