Author Archives: Jaime

Chicken Gumbo

Gumbos are commonly considered to be southern cuisine and to be Cajun in particular.  They do make a mean and oh so wonderful gumbo but they aren’t the only ones that make gumbo.  We make it here in the north east too, particularly when it is winter and cold and you want something hearty on the menu to warm you body and soul; and it is very good.  Gumbo is any hearty, spicy and lightly thickened soup that contains meat, vegetables and a variety of herbs and spices that have been sautéed before the broth is added.  Chicken gumbo is one familiar to most of us but it is also made with fish, shell fish, pork, sausage and other meats.  Gumbo is made all over the United States and everyone seems to have their own favorite recipe.  It is soup and in this case, chicken soup.

Chicken soup of any kind is as famous for its medicinal purposes as it is delicious to eat and is wonderful to help ward off and even cure cold and flu symptoms or just perk you up when you are feeling down.  There is Chicken and rice, Chicken and noodle, Chicken Broccoli, Creamed Chicken, (wonderful on toast when food just doesn’t set well on your stomach) and there is Chicken with Barley, Chicken vegetable and the ever popular Chicken stew, with or without dumplings but I think my all time favorite is Chicken Gumbo.  It has some zip and zest to it and truly tantalizes the tongue.  It is delicious and nutritious and I think you will like it too.  Here is how to make it.

Chicken Gumbo:

In a soup pot over medium high heat in

1/4 cup olive oil

Sautee

4 cloves garlic minced

2/3 cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 large firm tomato diced

3 stalks celery with leaves chopped

As soon as the onion starts to turn transparent reduce

heat to medium low

Add

2-3 chicken breasts cubed (about 2 pounds)

2 cups sliced okra

1/2 cup chopped kale

1 carrot grated

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Stir and toss lightly for 3-5 minutes

Add

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

Pinch of rosemary

Pinch of Thyme

Pinch of marjoram

8 cups chicken stock (broth)

3 cups water

Stir to mix and allow to come to full boil over med. high heat. 

Reduce heat to simmer. 

Cover and allow to simmer slowly for 45 to 50 minutes. At about half time you

may want to add more salt, pepper and spices to taste.  When done remove from heat and allow to set 5-7 minutes before serving. Stir and serve in warm bowls with crusty bread and a pear and cottage cheese salad on a bed of crisp lettuce and other salad greens.  Garnish salad with a light sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar.  And for dessert tonight let’s have Lemon Meringue pie.  Oh my, I can hardly wait for dinner.

(NOTE: If okra is not in season I have added cut Romano beans (the flat Italian green bean) and about 2 Tbsp. Tomato paste or Roux for thickener.  To make your own Roux take 2 Tbsp. clarified butter and mix it with 2 Tbsp. flour over low heat until it is smooth and creamy and slightly thickened.  You do not have to add a thickener if you are using okra unless you want a really thick, stew-like gumbo.  Okra has its own thickening properties.)

Reference:
1. Half-Hour Chicken Gumbo Recipe | Martha Stewart
2. Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo with White Rice Recipe …

Cooking Corned Beef Easy Corned Beef and Cabbage Slow Cooking Corned Beef and

The traditional St. Patrick’s Day feast for our family was Corned Beef and Cabbage. My mother would work her magic on the stove top and turn out a meal for a king. Each St. Patrick’s day, my mother would put on a huge pot of boiling water and add her Corned Beef. She would lovingly check it many times during the day to make sure the water wasn’t boiling away and the heat was adjusted just right for evenly cooking the meat. Her patience was rewarded with a tasty fare. Unfortunately I didn’t inherit my mother’s patience or skill for cooking, so making a traditional Irish meal on St. Patrick’s Day was a challenge for me. That was until I learned the value of using my slow cooker when making Corned Beef and Cabbage. Now we have this Irish feast a couple of times a year.

Everything needed to make a tasty meal is included in the package. Corned Beef brisket and seasoning. Choosing the cabbage is not an overwhelming decision, simply choose 2 heads of cabbage which when chopped will fit perfectly in the slow cooker along with the meat.

I start to prepare the corned beef the night before we will be eating it. Place the beef in the slow cooker and cover with water. Add the seasoning packet at the beginning of the cooking process and set the slow cooker on the high setting. Continue to cook the beef overnight on the high heat setting.

In the morning check the water to ensure the water is still covering the corned beef. Set the cooker on the low heat setting and go about your usual daily routine. This works out great since my family has a very active lifestyle and cooking dinner in the slow cooker allows healthy meals without having to spend a great amount of time hovering over the stove.

Checking on the corned beef I do what I call the fork test. I simply prick the meat and if the meat starts to fall apart when I try to lift it with the fork then I know it is time to chop the cabbage. I cut the cabbage in six sections. These sections are added approximately 1 hour before serving. This keeps the cabbage crispy without overcooking.

When it’s time to eat I simply add parsley potato as a side dish and we have a traditional Irish meal. corned Beef and Cabbage is no longer a once a year occurrence for us . When I find Corned Beef on sale I usually pick up a couple of briskets and put the extra package of meat in the freezer. This way I have a quick alternative to hamburger or pork dishes to choose from when I’m in the middle of a hectic week.

As an alternative I leave out the cabbage and add canned white potatoes and onions to the meat but there is nothing to compare to a good Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner when the Irish side of my family emerges.