I don’t know about you, but I often find that food from warmer climates can make the best comfort food in the middle of winter. Food from Southern Italian Spain, India and Greece, can all give dishes that are just divine to come home to on a dark cold evening, welcoming you with a big hug, wrapping you just as well as fleece blanket.
Creole & Cajun food from the Southern States can be really comforting, with spices that give you an inner glow. I am fascinated with Southern food. Chatting to anyone from the South about their food is always accompanied with an exploding enthusiasm, with their face lighting up as they describe their the dishes and tell me what I should try.
Gumbo is real stick to your ribs food, satisfying and flavourful. It has Creole seasoning, (which you can buy at a store or message me if you would like a jar of my hand blended Creole- or a bag can be shipped, either are inexpensive) and usually andouille sausage or kielbasa can be used. If it doesn’t give enough oomph, I add liquid smoke but this would probably cause much head shaking and tutting from my Southern friends. For anyone in the UK, liquid smoke can be purchased in Waitrose. I also adjust the Creole seasoning before simmering to balance the flavour. Depending on the sausage used, I may add up to another couple of tablespoons.
Wine note; a round fruity wine such as Voignier is just great for this! An aromatic wine with big fruits such as peach and sometimes mandarin, this off dry wine blends well with the slight spiciness of this dish. I particularly like Voignier from Argentina!
1lb/450g boneless chicken breasts chopped into 1 inch cubes
1lb/450g smoked sausage sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
4 cups/ 1 litre hot chicken stock
1 large onion
2 large bell peppers- one green one red diced
8 large stalks of celery sliced
1/2 cup/125ml olive oil
1 cup/140g all purpose / plain flour
3 TBSP Creole Seasoning
4 TBSP Chopped garlic
4 large bay leaves
Liquid smoke (optional) see note in intro plus extra Creole seasoning if needed
- Place oil in a large dutch oven / round casserole dish . Use a little flour to sprinkle on the chicken & brown the chicken in the oil. Place the chicken on a paper lined plate to drain.
- Add the remaining flour to the oil and cook to a nut brown roux. Take off the heat and cool slightly. Meanwhile, brown the vegetables in a large heavy based skillet / frying pan and cook while stirring about 5 minutes.
- Begin to add the hot chicken stock to the roux s little at a time, blending them together with a wooden spoon. When all of the stock has been added, put the vegetables, chicken and sausage into the stock mixture. season with salt & pepper to taste. Boil for 5 minutes
- Add remaining ingredients with up to 50ml of liquid smoke to taste & extra Creole seasoning if needed. Simmer on low for an hour.
Serve with rice & cornbread.