Sunday, May 17, 2009

Friday Night with Commander's Palace

My Friday night was spent celebrating the food of Commander's Palace. During a class with Michael Nix, a superbly talented wine buyer for Sherlock's Wine Merchant and Cook's Warehouse, we served eight recipes from the famous New Orleans restaurant. The Cajun spices were flowing as much as the wine. For a taste of our class, try this truly spectacular gumbo. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Commander's Palace's Gumbo Ya Ya

1 large roasting chicken (about 5 pounds), disjointed
Cayenne pepper
Powered garlic
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped celery
2 cups coarsely chopped green bell pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound andouille sausage, finely diced
4 cups fluffy cooked rice

Cut chicken breasts in half crosswise. This will give you 10 pieces of chicken. Season with salt, cayenne pepper and garlic and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Measure flour into a large paper bag. Add chicken pieces and shake until well coated. Remove chicken and reserve the flour.

In a large skillet brown the chicken in very hot oil, remove and set aside. Stir oil remaining in skillet with a wire whisk to loosen all the lovely brown particles from the bottom and the sides of the pan.

Whisk in 1 cup reserved flour and stir constantly until the mixture of oil and flour (the roux) becomes dark and brown. Remove from heat and add onions, celery and green bell pepper and stir constantly so that they do not burn. Transfer roux and vegetables to a large heavy saucepan or dutch oven.

Add stock to roux and vegetables and bring to a boil while stirring. Lower heat to a quick simmer and add garlic, sausage and chicken. Continue cooking until chicken is tender,
1 ¾ to 2 hours.

Adjust seasonings and serve in gumbo bowls over steamed rice.

Serves 8

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I love Mother's Day! The stars aligned this morning and our 3-year old slept until 8:30. We then enjoyed a fabulous brunch at a popular local restaurant only to be followed by my favorite activity...napping. I hope everyone one of you has the day of your dreams too.