While I was in college I went to New Orleans, working with the Economic Empowerment and Global Learning Project to build an arts center in the Lower Ninth Ward. It was an amazing experience, and I made sure to eat and drink my way through the culture while I was there. My favorite food by far had to be the gumbo, followed closely by the beans and rice (beignets from Cafe Du Monde don't count...that would be unfair). I actually forgot about gumbo until recently when I saw a clip on the news of this year's Mardi Gras celebrations. I was instantly transported back to the spicy, stewy, burst-in-your-mouth flavor of New Orleans gumbo!
This makes the perfect winter meal as it's both warm and spicy. It's impossible to be cold (or hungry) after eating a bowl of gumbo!
Margaret's New Orleans Gumbo
For the gumbo:
1 lb andoullie sausage, sliced thin
2 lb organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 bell peppers (I used red, orange, yellow)
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp grassfed butter
1 cup chopped celery
2-3 cups chicken broth
3 Tbsp tomato paste
3 bay leaves
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground thyme
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt + more to taste
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper*
black pepper, to taste
For the cauliflower rice:
1 small head cauliflower, riced
2 galric cloves, minced
2 Tbsp grassfed butter
salt and pepper, to taste
*if you don't like spicy, start with 1/4 cayenne pepper and wait to add more until the end, when you can taste to see how spicy it is.
1. Add the butter and diced onions to a large pot. Saute them over medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
2. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Stir in the spices (paprika, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper).
3. Carefully add the meat to the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the meat is about 3/4 way cooked. Then add the vegetables and tomato paste and finish cooking the meat.
4. When the meat is cooked, add the chicken broth (start with about a cup and slowly add more until desired consistency is reached) and the bay leaves. Bring the pot to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover for at least 30 minutes.
5. About 15 minutes before you eat, you can make the cauliflower rice. Add the butter and minced garlic to a pan (large enough to fit all the riced cauliflower), and saute it until golden brown over medium heat.
6. Add the riced cauliflower and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes before turning the heat down to low and covering the cauliflower. Stir every 2-3 minutes, checking the tenderness of the cauliflower. They rice should be tender within 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper before serving.