Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chicken: It's What's For Dinner

I am quite sure that I have never mentioned this but my Dad developed a strange and devastating food allergy late in life. . . the man is allergic to beef and pork. I know, I know perish the thought, right? And can I tell you, my Dad LOVED him some beef and pork, especially bacon! But the way I look it, the allergy might just be a blessing in disguise because it's made him somewhat of a healthier eater.

Needless to say, my Mom, Dad and myself are always on the lookout for great new ways for him to enjoy his staple protein - chicken. Let's just say that sometimes the recipes he comes up with are interesting to say the least. For example, chicken marinated in something that frighteningly resembles tarter sauce. I kid you not.

So, when I came across a chicken gumbo recipe last month in The Foster's Market Cookbook by Sara Foster (one of my favorites), I thought it would be perfect for my dad.

Not only is this gumbo healthy, it's also delicious and easy to prepare. It makes a terrific main course served with crusty French bread or cornbread. Not to mention you can freeze your leftovers (and you will have plenty), and I swear it only gets better with time. I enjoyed some last night, in fact. The recipe is below. And Dad, you should make this one!

Chicken Gumbo with Chicken-Apple Sausage


3-4lbs of chicken breasts (bone in)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 yellow onion diced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
4 garlic cloves
8 cups chicken broth (low sodium is a healthier choice)
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen okra
6 plum tomatoes, cored and cut in half lengthwise
4 chicken-apple sausages, about 1 pound (if you don't already have a favorite variety, ask the butcher what is popular)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 green onions, chopped (for garnish)
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons of gumbo filé powder
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy saucepan. Cook chicken about 4 to 5 minutes per side (8 to 10 minutes total), until crispy and brown. Remove the chicken from the Dutch oven; place it on a baking sheet and cook it in oven about 30-40 minutes until juices run clear.

While chicken breasts are roasting, make a roux in the Dutch oven in which the chicken was cooked. Add flour slowly while whisking constantly and cook 4-5 minutes, reducing the heat to medium if the roux is browning to quickly. Continue to cook and whisk until the roux turns a darkish brown-orange color. Reduce heat to low and add the onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper and celery and continue to cook and stir 3-4 minutes longer until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and cook and stir 2 more minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven when done and pull the meat from the bone with a fork. Add to the roux and vegetables. Then add chicken broth, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir well. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the okra and continue to cook about 20 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until the gumbo is thick and the flavors have developed.

Meanwhile toss the tomatoes and sausages with olive oil in a baking dish and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, turning once, or until lightly brown. When done remove from the oven, chop the sausages in 1/2-inch pieces and add to the gumbo along with the tomatoes.

Remove gumbo from heat and stir in the sherry, filé powder and parsley. Discard the bay leaves and serve immediately, over a bowl of steamed rice if desired. Garnish with chopped green onion.


  1. Oooh, gumbo sounds perfect for this chilly spring. Poor Tucker- I feel like your dad is always surrounded by barbeque too. Love the new header picture, by the way!

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  3. I love GUMBO! Can't wait to try this recipe - I love that you use chicken sausage.