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Feb 20, 2018
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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The Weekend Project: Chicken & Homemade Andouille Gumbo

February 13th 05:02pm, 2014

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During the week, recipes are all about speed and ease. But when the weekend rolls around, it’s time for cooking low and slow, proofing dough and overnight marinating, soaking and resting. It’s time for a project. Each month, Dan and Anne Marie Lodholz present The Weekend Project with the game plan, the shopping list and the recipes to ensure all that work and time is well worth your effort.

Easter falls late this year (April 20), and consequently, Mardi Gras – and all the Fat Tuesday decadence that implies – doesn’t occur until March 4, giving you plenty of time to indulge before Lent with parades, party-throwing and general food and drink frivolity. Toast with tasty cocktails and cook your favorite, soul-warming Creole or Cajun dishes. This month, we’re helping you kick-off your own Fat Tuesday festivities by showing how simple it is to make your own andouille sausage and a roux-based gumbo.

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There are as many recipes for gumbo as there are cooks in the South. Some call for okra; others insist it must have file powder, which is made from ground sassafras leaves. A third style of gumbo, the roux-based Cajun version here, has influence from German immigrants who settled in New Orleans. This gumbo starts with deep, nutty roux, then adds the holy trinity of Cajun cooking (celery, peppers, onion). The spice blend that gives this gumbo its authentic NOLA kick comes from The Libertine chef-owner Josh Galliano; save any leftover seasoning for a barbecue rub or to flavor roasted meat, vegetables and even popcorn.

 

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A key component to a Cajun gumbo is good andouille, the French-named, German-style sausage that is heavily smoked. Many stores today sell “andouille,” but finding a smoked version that includes both coarsely ground pork and chunks of meat and fat can be challenging. With the proper stand mixer attachments, making your own is simple to do and more than worth the effort.

Traditionally, andouille is made using a beef middle casing, which is around 2½ inches in diameter, and any good butcher should be able to sell them to you. This sausage recipe also calls for Insta Cure No. 1. Also called pink salt or quick cure, Insta Cure No. 1 is blend of salt and 6.25 percent sodium nitrate that helps cure the meat and lends a smoky pink hue to the sausage. This optional ingredient is available online.

The Game Plan
Day 1
: Make and smoke the andouille sausage.
Day 2: Make the Creole Seasoning. Roast the chicken. Make the gumbo.

 

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The Shopping List*

5 lbs. pork butt (the fattier the better)
2 to 3 onions
1 tsp. Insta Cure No. 1 (optional)
Several fresh thyme sprigs
¾ cup paprika
Sausage casings (Request enough casing to make 5 lbs. of sausage.)
2 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1 3½ to 5 lb. chicken
2 red bell peppers
4 to 5 celery stalks
3 quarts chicken stock
6 cups cooked white rice
Green onions, for garnish

*This list assumes you have 1 head of garlic, kosher salt, cayenne, sugar, freshly ground black pepper, allspice, dried thyme, dried oregano, chili flakes, canola oil and flour at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase these items, too.

 

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Andouille Sausage
Makes 20 6-inch sausages

5 lbs. pork butt, divided
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cayenne
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
2½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Insta Cure No. 1 (optional)
¼ tsp. allspice
Sausage casings, soaked in water and rinsed

Special equipment: meat grinder and sausage stuffer attachments for stand mixer

Day 1: Cut 3 pounds of pork butt into 1- to 2-inch chunks. Place on a sheet tray, cover with plastic wrap and freeze, along with the sausage grinder attachment, at least 30 minutes. (The meat and grinding equipment should be as cold as possible to prevent the fat from melting as it’s ground.)
• Meanwhile, dice the remaining 2 pounds of pork into ¼- to ½-inch pieces. Set aside.
• Place the onion in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 10 to 15 times. Scrap the onion into a bowl, mix in the garlic, and set aside.
• In a separate bowl, combine the salt, paprika, cayenne, sugar, thyme, pepper, and Insta Cure No. 1 (if using), and set aside.
• Affix the chilled meat grinder attachment to the stand mixer. Carefully feed the chilled mixture through the machine on a course grind.
• Add the diced meat, onion and garlic to the ground pork and mix. Add the dry spices and mix until well incorporated. Fry a small patty in a saute pan until cooked through and taste. Adjust seasoning as needed.
• Affix the sausage stuffer attachment to the stand mixer and slide the entire casing onto the nozzle, tying a knot at the end of the casing. Slowly feed the meat through the machine to fill the casing.
• When the entire casing is full, remove and tie a knot at the opposite end. Carefully pinch the sausage and twist into links at 6-inch internals.
• Meanwhile, preheat a smoker to 225 to 250 degrees or prepare a charcoal grill for low, indirect heat. Smoke the links at 225 to 250 degrees for 1 to 2 hours, until the andouille reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees.
• Sausages will keep 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. Use in Chicken & Homemade Andouille Gumbo (Recipe follows).

 

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Creole Seasoning
Recipe courtesy of The Libertine’s Josh Galliano

½ cup paprika
6 Tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to season chicken
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil
2 tsp. cayenne
½ Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. chili flakes

Day 2: Mix paprika, salt, garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, thyme, oregano, basil, cayenne, sugar and chili flakes together in a non-reactive bowl. Store in airtight container. Use with Roast Chicken and Homemade Andouille & Chicken Gumbo (Recipes follow).

Roast Chicken

1 3½ to 5 lb. whole chicken
Creole Seasoning (Recipe above), to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Several sprigs fresh thyme

Day 2: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a rack on a baking sheet.
• Liberally season the chicken on the inside and outside with the Creole Seasoning blend and salt. Stuff the chicken with the fresh thyme.
• Place the chicken on the rack and roast about 45 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted in the center of the thigh reads 165 degrees. Let cool, then remove meat from the bones. Set aside.

 

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Homemade Andouille and Chicken Gumbo
10 to 15 Servings

2 cups canola oil or lard
2 cups flour
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced onion
3 quarts chicken stock
2 to 3 Tbsp. Creole Seasoning (Recipe above)
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
4 to 6 (about 1½ lbs.) andouille links, cut into ½-inch pieces (Recipe above)
Meat of 1 roasted chicken, cut into chunks (Recipe above)
6 cups cooked white rice
Chopped green onions for garnish

Day 2: In a large stockpot, warm the oil or lard over high heat. Just before it begins to smoke, add the flour and whisk constantly until the resulting roux thickens and starts to smell nutty, about 10 to 15 minutes.
• When the roux is the color of peanut butter, remove from heat and carefully stir in the onions, celery and peppers. Return to the stove over medium-high heat, add the stock, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
• Stir in the Creole Seasoning and salt, plus more to taste. Then add the andouille and chicken and slowly simmer 10 minutes. Serve with rice and garnish with green onion.
• The gumbo (without rice) will keep, covered, in the freezer for several weeks.

-photos by Michelle Volansky

 

 

By Anne Marie and Dan Lodholz

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