Wednesday 6 August 2014

Spicy Meat Gumbo from Jamie's America.

I'm writing this after watching a disturbing episode of Sons of Anarchy where someone bites their own tongue off. Have a completely grossed you out too? It's just like the awful fight scene in Game of Thrones where someones head get completely crushed and you get to see the whole thing. I saw that scene over and over for a couple of days in my head and I covered my eyes for half of it and now I'm having thought-mares again about the last thing I just watched. I want to re-watch something else that is all sunshine and rainbows and chocolate cake. So instead I'm going to try and think of cooking and food and Jamie's America cookbook.

This book has so many recipes I want to cook... deep-pan pizza...NYC Cheesecake...Velvet Cupcakes... Fiery Dan Dan Noodles (awesome name, right?)... Sher Ping Pancakes... Jewish Penicillin... Veal Parmigiana... NYC Vodka Arrabbiata... A killer mac 'n' Cheese... And thats just the New York chapter!!?! These recipes don't sound very adventurous compared to others in the book... Wild West Rice...Mountain Meatballs...Beer Butt Chicken...Hush Puppies...La Brea Salad...the list could go on. There are a few ingredients in this book I might find it hard to get a hold of in Australia such as Alligator and Cactus but Jamie does suggest other things instead. There is a couple of spices that I've never heard of as well but this allows me to do a little google research and online shopping. Who doesn't love online shopping?

Here's the thing, I find I am still cooking inside my comfort zone when it comes to choosing recipes each week. I'm avoiding doughs and dumplings and home-made pasta... I'm avoiding the raw meats and fish (I don't trust any butchers or fish shops in my area at the moment though) and I'm looking at the ingredient lists and if it looks overwhelming I'm flipping the page or if the amount of pots looks like too many then cya later to that recipe. I'm going to have to man up next week and branch out. Stretch my wings and attempt to fly... I guess it doesn't matter if I fail miserably. The local birds can always end up with my un-risen bread or Tristan can add a cracked egg to any disastrous dinners and have it for breakfast.

Last nights dinner was not a miserable disaster though, it was fantastic! With three types of meat in it, Tristan was in his element. I'd never had a Gumbo before but heard people talk about them and before I'd ever cooked one or eaten one they were this mystical american dish that was going to blow my mind. This was the first time cooking and eating and I was well impressed.

Smokey sausage and bacon with chicken shredded throughout, sweet potato falling apart and thickening the sauce, making it all come together nicely. It was kind of like a stew but not frumpy like some stews can get. This had fresh flavours and spices with the sweet potato flooding the entire dish with a subtle sweetness but enough spices that it was spicy and savory. There was nothing frumpy about this dinner!

Jamie Oliver Spicy Meat Gumbo

Jamie Oliver's Spicy Meat Gumbo from Jamie's America.

serves 6-8

4 chicken thighs
4 chicken drumsticks
1 tsp paprika
1tsp cayenne pepper
olive oil
400g smoked sausage, thickly sliced (I used fresh chorizo sausages)
4 rashes streaky smoked bacon, roughly chopped
1 large onion, finely diced
1 green capsicum, deseeded and chopped
1 yellow capsicum, deseeded and chopped
4 sticks of celery, finely diced
3 heaped tbsp plain flour
6 gloves garlic, finely chopped
1kg sweet potato, peeled and roughy chopped
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
4 bay leaves
1.5L hot chicken stock
a small handful of fresh curly parsley, finely chopped
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced

- Combine chicken pieces, paprika cayenne pepper and olive oil in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Fry in a large pot along with the bacon and smoked sausage and cook for about 15 minutes until everything is browned all over. Remove from pan.

- Cook your onion, celery and capsicum in the pan with all the meat juices and oil until softened.

- Add the flour next and make sure you keep stirring. This roux is the important part of making a gumbo. Keep cooking the roux until it gets 'peanut butter' colour.

- Next add your garlic, sweet potato, thyme, bay leaves and browned meat then finely pour in the chicken stock. Bring everything to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until chicken falls apart.

- Remove the chicken from the pan and shred the meat off the bones and remove the skin. Add chicken back in pan and season with salt and pepper.

- Serve the gumbo on rice with the fresh spring onions and fresh parsley on top.


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