Recently I have been in the mood for Louisiana style food. I made Jambalaya last week and made gumbo last night to celebrate Gumbo Day. It turned out great. This is probably the second time that the gumbo turned out perfect. The secret ingredient for gumbo is file which is Sassafras. Like any spice, file looses some flavor after it is opened. That being said. I have found that using more of the spice when it is older will give it the flavor you want.
To make my gumbo, I first boiled chicken thighs for about 40 minutes. Once the chicken is done, I took it out to cool and poured the broth into a bowl so I could start the “Holy Trinity”. That’s a term for onions, bell peppers, and celery in Louisiana cooking. Pour some oil in the bottom of the pan and add your vegetables. Cook them until they are just starting to soften.
I started the roux with a half inch of oil in the bottom of a cast iron skillet and put in a tablespoon of Guar Gum for each 4 tablespoons of almond flour until the roux is thick. At this point, I added salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and file. I know most people don’t add flavoring to their roux, but I find that it enhances the flavor of the gumbo. You will need to watch your roux while it’s cooking to make sure it doesn’t burn. It will begin getting brown on the bottom so when you stir it the roux gets darker. For a chicken and sausage gumbo, I like a darker roux. If I was doing a shrimp gumbo, I would make it a little lighter in color.
Now that all the components are ready, we pour the broth back into the pan with the vegetables and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil, start spooning in the roux until you get the consistency you like. I like my gumbo thick but not as thick as a gravy. Once you get the broth thickened to your preference, add in shredded chicken and sliced sausage. Season with salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and File to taste. Voila! Delicious, rich and creamy gumbo.
The secret to this recipe from BHG Magazine is the Chimichurri sauce. It gives that extra kick to a delicious steak. I didn’t have a yellow sweet pepper so I used a green bell pepper.
1 ½ to 1 ¾ lb. Beef flank steak
2 Tbsp. Plus 2 tsp. Olive oil
2 pablano peppers, stemmed & seeded
1 lg. Red onion, cut into 1/2” wedges
1 med. Yellow sweet pepper
1 c. cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. Lime juice
1 tsp. Dried oregano, crushed
1 clove garlic, minced
Season steak with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper; set aside. Cut pablano & sweet peppers into 3/4″ strips. Heat a heavy 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add peppers, onion and a large pinch of salt. Cook 5 minutes without stirring. Cook 5 minutes more, stirring once, or until vegetables are lightly charred and tender. Remove from skillet; keep warm.
Add remaining oil to the skillet. Add steak. Cook 12 to 15 minutes or until medium-rare (145F), turning once halfway through. Transfer steak to a cutting board. Cover, let stand 5 minutes. Slice steak; serve with pepper-onion mixture and chimichurri.
FOR CHIMICHURRI: In a small bowl, combine cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, oregano, garlic and a pinch of salt. Stir in 2 teaspoon oil.
This being Memorial Day weekend, I will be grilling hot dogs with a couple of toppings. Below is the Garden Hot Dog Topping.
¼ c. vinegar
3 Tbsp. Sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
½ small yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ small green bell pepper, chopped
½ small orange bell pepper, chopped
Cream cheese, softened
To make pickled peppers, whisk together vinegar, sugar & garlic in a bowl. Add peppers. Chill 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Serve hot dog with pickled peppers, cream cheese & tomatoes
Today is Garlic Day and Amaretto Day. I couldn’t find Amaretto at my local grocery which makes it a little hard to make a drink for Amaretto Day. So I will share this recipe for Garlicky Pickled Veggies from Better Homes and Gardens. I made some adjustments to the recipe because I didn’t have quart jars. At the beginning of April, I mixed everything and put them into two half gallon mason jars. After waiting the week needed for the pickling, I was pleasantly surprised. This is a great way to pickle any vegetables you have around. I will probably put more garlic in next time I make it because the garlic in this batch is sort of overpowered by the red pepper flakes. These pickled vegetables are great as an appetizer or on a veggie tray for company.
3 c. cauliflower florets (1 head)
2 med. Red bell peppers, seeded & cut into 1: pieces
12 oz. Green beans, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
2 med. Carrots, cut into 1/2” slices
1 med. Onion, cut into thin wedges
4 c. vinegar
2/3 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. Salt
12 garlic cloves, smashed
1 ½ tsp. Crushed red pepper
In a large pot, combine vegetables. Add enough water to cover. Bring to boiling. Cook uncovered, 3 minutes, drain.
In another large, nonstick, heavy pot combine 4 cups water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to boiling, stir to dissolve sugar.
Pack vegetables into hot-sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/2” head-space. Add garlic and red pepper evenly between the jars. Pour hot vinegar mixture over vegetables, maintaining the 1/2” head-space. Wipe jar rims; screw on lids.
Let cool 30 minutes. Chill for at least 1 week before serving. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Ropa Vieja is a Cuban beef stew. The weird part is that ropa vieja means “old clothes” in English. I really like this dish because you can do it in a slow cooker. Any dish in a slow cooker is easy & delicious. Enjoy!
1 ½ lb. Flank steak
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz. Can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
1 c. beef stock
½ bottle beer (pale ale)
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Oregano
1 Tbsp. Tabsco
Starting with the steak, put all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Once cooked, pour contents into a large serving dish and shred the meat. Serve topped with cilantro and olives.
With the leftovers we shredded the beef and placed them on cabbage leaves covered with cream cheese. This is a great way to stay on a Ketogenic diet instead of using a tortilla or bread.