Before Vermont became the 14th state in the Union, it existed as an independent nation for 14 years. It became in independent country in 1777. The Vermont Republic existed from January 15, 1777 to March 4, 1791, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Vermont. During Vermont’s independence, it printed currency, enacted laws including a ban on slavery and established a postal service. Not bad for such a small place.
Vermont is proud of its natural beauty. And to protect the landscape, the state legislators decided to enact a state-wide ban on billboards. Not only are billboards banned, but road signs cannot feature any commercial logos. According to Vermont, the ban which began in 1968 helps to boost tourism.
While Vermont’s politics were once very Red (giving then Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln a 75% victory), over time Vermont transformed from a rural Red State to an elitist Blue State. This transition was punctuated in 2008, when two towns in Vermont, Marlboro and Brattleboro, passed resolutions aimed at then President George W. Bush and Dick Chaney. The resolution would allow any citizen of these towns to place the President or Vice President under citizens arrest for what they perceived as violations to the constitution. Since these were local resolutions, the President and his VP could only be arrested if they visited the towns in person.
While Vermont is often praised for the abolishment of slavery, this fact is a little misleading. The ban on slavery only applied to adults. Due to a loophole in the law, child slavery was not banned. Still, black men were free to own land and even sue whites in court, so there was progress. Vermont also contributed to the Underground Railroad that helped slaves in the south reach safety in Canada.
Now I know when it comes to celebrating Vermont with food, you were expecting something dripping in Maple Syrup. It would make sense since Vermont is known for their syrup. However; today is also National Gumbo Day. Considering Vermont’s role in slavery, it would make sense some classically southern dishes would have made their way north. So why not celebrate Vermont Day with an amazing Gumbo? Since Vermont has no coast line, this gumbo contains no shrimp. Enjoy!
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1 lb boneless Chicken Breast chopped
12 oz Andouille Sausage
1 medium Bell Pepper
1 medium Onion
1 medium Celery Rib
4 Garlic Cloves
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Flour
1 (14 oz) can Crushed Tomatoes
2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning or to taste
1-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper or to taste
6 cups Chicken Stock
3 Bay Leaves
1 teaspoon Thyme
2 cups Rice
4 cups Water
1 tablespoon Butter
Kosher Salt to taste
1 tablespoon Gumbo Filé Powder or to taste
Green Onions for garnish
Chop chicken breasts, set aside. Slice sausage into 1/4-inch slices, set aside. Remove stem and seeds from bell pepper. Dice pepper, set aside. Peel and dice onion, set aside. Clean celery rib, dice and set aside. Peel and mince garlic, set aside.
Heat a pan to medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil and heat.
Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan along with the sliced andouille. Cook a couple minutes per side until browned. Set aside until ready to use.
In a large Dutch Oven or stock pot, heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil over medium heat. Lower heat to medium-low, stir in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 25 minutes or until roux is a deep brown color resembling chocolate milk.
Add peppers, onion, celery and garlic. Continue to cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add chicken and andouille, cook for 1 minute.
Add crushed tomatoes, Creole seasoning and chicken stock. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom. Add bay leaves and thyme and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour to thicken.
During the last 30 minutes as the gumbo simmers, make rice for serving. Place rice in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add water. Bring rice to a full boil. Cover, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until most of the water is gone and the rice is tender. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Remove gumbo from heat; stir in Filé Powder. Snip green onions for garnish. Mound rice into a small bowl, invert in the center of soup bowls. Ladle gumbo around the rice. Garnish with green onions and enjoy.