Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gumbo-ish soup

I had some keilbasa in the freezer and thought of making some kind of soup with it. After looking up a few different gumbo recipes, I decided to write down a bunch of the ingredients and just make it up as I went along. I was a little skeptical, but when I tasted it, my eyes widened in a "holy-crap-that's-good" sort of way. Here's what I used:

3tbsp of bacon grease + 4 heaping tbsp flour for the roux.
3 cups of beef broth or 3 cubes bouillon with 14-16 cups water (add after the remaining ingredients- some of the water will cook off, and you will need to add more for a total of 14-16 cups)
1 large onion -diced
3 large celery stalks -diced
6 small/med carrots -sliced
2 med green bell peppers -diced
2 large tomatoes or 28 oz canned tomato -diced
1lb keilbasa -quartered, then sliced
2 chicken breasts
1 cup long grain or wild rice
6 baby portabella mushrooms -thickly sliced
1 small bag frozen okra (12-16 oz)
10 cloves garlic -minced
1 tsp ground bay leaves or 3 whole
2tbsp Worcestershire
2tbsp hot sauce
1 tsp cajun seasoning
1 tsp salt (after tasting, if needed at all)

I basically made the roux, added the water/beef broth (and made sure it was smooth), then threw in the rest. The chicken was thrown 1/4 breast portions, then shredded after it was cooked. It was just the right amount of spicy, and a lot of tasty. I let it boil then turned it to medium heat and left it simmering for a good 2+ hours. I'm not sure the minimum time it takes, and I would have left it in the slow cooker if it fit. When making the roux, turn the heat on enough to melt the fat, and whisk in the flour until smooth. Add a little of the broth at a time, whisking, and make sure that you keep an eye on it- if you have the burner on and leave the mixture on the stovetop before adding the broth, you will end up with dumplings instead of a soup base. Yes, I've done that before. You can also briefly cook the kielbasa first and use the fat cooked off that instead of some of the bacon fat.