Celebrate with Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

It’s Sunday. It’s National Corn Chip Day. It’s also a strange “Season” within the Church. Did you know that the time between the Epiphany (January 6) the beginning of Lent is called Carnival?

I know what you are thinking – traveling fair, rides, games and maybe a petting zoo. Deep Fried Oreos, bacon wrapped everything and cotton candy. And you’d be right. That is a carnival. Carnival means have a good time. Merry making and feasting. It comes from the Latin phrase carnem levare. It means to remove the meat. Think about it – Lent is the only season within the Church Year that is filled with penance and fasting and abstinence rules, even by today’s lax standards. Once upon a time, people actually abstained from meat throughout Lent, and not just as a Friday observance. So the days leading up to Ash Wednesday was a pass, if you will, to eat up all the soon to be forbidden foods you have before Lent.

You could look at this time as a very long Mardi Gras, leading up to the big event – Fat Tuesday. Once upon a time, it wasn’t just steaks that were forbidden. Any animal product – milk, butter, eggs and such – were a big no-no. It’s also why children were not expected to abstain. Children need milk and eggs and such. Those over 65 are also given a pass, although some die-hard Catholics feel the age of adults is irrelevant. Yours truly would be among them.

So why do I bring all this up? Because I love to have Cajun Foods throughout “Carnival” and not just restrict such deliciousness to Fat Tuesday. While this isn’t a typical Gumbo (no shrimp or crawfish), it does have chicken. And chicken is perfect for Sunday Supper, right?

And I’ll let you in on a little secret – while Gumbo is amazing over white rice, it’s even more amazing over Mexican Rice. It’s like a double whammy of heat. Now if you aren’t a fan of heat, what can I say? Cajun isn’t for you no matter what kind of rice you use. However; if you are like my guys, this is one way to bring on the heat and warm you from the inside out. Enjoy!

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1 lb Chicken Thighs
12 oz Louisiana Hot Sausage
1 medium Orange Bell Pepper
2 Jalapeno Peppers
1 medium Onion
4 Garlic Cloves
1 medium Celery Rib
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Flour
2-1/2 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning or more to taste
Pinch Reaper Pepper Seasoning, optional heat
4 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 tablespoon Cornstarch, for thickening
Green Onion for garnish if desired

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Set aside. Slice sausage into 1/4-inch slices, set aside. Core, seed and finely dice bell pepper and jalapenos, set aside. Peel and finely dice onions and garlic, set aside. Clean and finely dice celery, set aside.

Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil and warm.

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.

Add 1/2 cup oil to a large pot and heat to medium heat. Add flour and stir. Cook for about 25 minutes, constantly stirring, until the roux browns to the color of chocolate.

Add peppers, onion, celery and garlic. Stir and cook about 5 minutes. Return chicken and Andouille. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add Cajun seasoning and chicken stock. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom.

Simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour to develop and thicken. If sauce needs to be thickened, remove from heat. Ladle a couple of tablespoon of the liquid into a small bowl. Whisk in cornstarch. Pour into gumbo and return to a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Serve over sticky rice. Snip the tops of a green onion as a garnish if desired.

Sticky Rice
1-1/2 cups White Rice
1-1/2 cups Water
Pinch Salt

Place rice in a saucepan with water and a pinch of Kosher Salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve, fill a small bowl with rice to create a rice mound in the middle of a plate or shallow bowl. Ladle the gumbo all around the rice mound. Garnish with some snips of green onions, serve and enjoy. Happy Carnival Season!

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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