Gourmet Gumbo

February 5, 2013 9:44:04 AM PST
The party is getting started in New Orleans, leading up to Fat Tuesday next week. Gumbo is a staple on the table for many during the Mardi Gras season.

Chef Rochelle Taylor from Sur La Table in Northbrook Court is sharing her recipe for "gourmet" gumbo during a Mardi Gras Party cooking class this Thursday, February 7th. She'll also be sharing tips and recipes for creating your own Mardi Gras dinner party.

Mardi Gras Party cooking class
February 7th, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Sur La Table, 2160 Northbrook Court


Chef Taylor's top "Mardi Gras Party" tips:
-Make a muffaletta "bar". Set up a station with the muffaletta mixture, meats, cheeses, breads and lettuces to accommodate both sandwich-lovers and gluten-free guests alike.
-Adding heat is easier than taking it away! Keep everything at a medium level of spiciness but allow guests who like their food extra spicy to add heat by having options available.
-Gumbo can be made the day before. But skip adding the seafood until the day you serve. Simply heat up the gumbo & mix in the seafood when you're ready to eat.
-More time = more flavor. Be sure to take the time to really let the gumbo's roux develop on a slow heat or it will not have the depth of flavor that you are looking for.
-Thicken to your likeness. You can thicken your gumbo with either okra or file powder. Both are equally effective, and both are considered traditional thickeners.

Muffaletta Olive Salad
-The muffaletta is one of the signature sandwiches of New Orleans. For almost 100 years, the Central Grocery on Decatur Street in the French quarter has been serving this classic, which features a piquant olive salad spread on an Italian roll and layered with sliced cheeses and cold cuts. In this version, we've presented this famous sandwich as a salad. When processing the spread, you can pulse several times for a chunky texture or process longer for a smoother spread. Any leftover olive spread will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: 4 servings
-1 large clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
-3/4 cup pimento-stuffed olives
-1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
-1 large celery rib, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
-1/2 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
-1/4 cup Italian pickled vegetables, drained
-1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and seeded
-6 to 8 pickled cocktail onions
-2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
-1 tablespoon sugar, plus more as needed
-Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
-5 ounces arugula leaves, washed and dried
-1/4 pound provolone cheese slices, cut into 1-inch wide strips
-1/4 pound mortadella or Genoa salami, cut into 1-inch wide strips
-2 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Place garlic, olives, celery, red onion, pickled vegetables, roasted peppers, pickled onions, capers, lemon juice, and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
-Pulse until mixture is coarsely chopped.
-Add more olive oil if mixture is too thick and pulse to incorporate. Transfer olive mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Taste and season with sugar and pepper.
-Cover and allow olive mixture to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
-To serve, place olive mixture in a large salad bowl.
-Add arugula leaves and toss to coat. Divide salad between 4 chilled salad plates.
-Top with strips of provolone and mortadella, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Chicken, Prawn and Sausage Gumbo
-Serves 8
-There is debate about the origin of the word "Gumbo". It likely comes from the Bantu word meaning "okra" or the Choctaw word meaning filé. These are the two methods used to thicken this popular stew. You can make this recipe the day before, but don't add the prawns until right before serving or you will overcook them.

-8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
-1/2 cup all purpose flour
-3 large onions, chopped (about 6 cups)
-3 green bell peppers, seeded, chopped (about 3 1/2 cups)
-4 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
-8 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
-3 bay leaves
-1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
-16 ounces bottled clam juice
-2 cups low-salt chicken broth
-2 pounds andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
-1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
-16-ounce package sliced frozen okra
-2 pounds prawns, peeled and deveined
-Minced fresh Italian parsley, for garnish
-Steamed rice, for serving

-Melt butter in heavy 6-quart pot over medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk until incorporated. Cook, stirring occasionally until dark reddish brown, approximately 1 hour.
-Add onions, bell peppers and celery and cook until onions are soft and brown, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cayenne and stir 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add wine, thyme, and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
-Add tomatoes with juice, clam juice, broth, sausage, and chicken; simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Add okra and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.
-Add prawns to pot and cook until just opaque in center, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Season gumbo to taste with salt and pepper. Place one scoop of steamed rice in center of bowl and ladle gumbo around. Garnish with minced parsley.

-Makes 30
-To develop more flavor, let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature before frying for best results. Watch your oil temperature carefully: too hot and the beignets will burn. Too cold and they will be greasy.

-1 cup whole milk, 105-115°F
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1/4 ounce active dry yeast
-4 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-4-6 cups canola oil, for frying
-1 cup powdered sugar, for garnish

-Pour the warm milk into a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar, the yeast, and a heaping tablespoon of the flour into the milk, whisking constantly, until both the sugar and the yeast have dissolved. Set aside for 5 minutes, or until foamy.
-Add the butter, salt and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Fold in the remaining flour and sugar with a large rubber spatula.
-Knead the dough by hand in the bowl for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
-Remove the dough from the bowl and roll out on a floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into squares (2-inch squares are more traditional, but larger squares can also be used), cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm location until beignets are doubled in size, about an hour.
-Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat until it reaches 350°F on a thermometer. Fry the beignets in small batches in the hot oil, turning them every 30 seconds or so with a spider or slotted spoon, until golden brown all over.
-Use a spider or slotted spoon to remove beignets from the oil and drain on paper towels set on a cooling rack over a sheet pan. Put the powdered sugar into a fine-mesh strainer and dust the warm beignets generously.
-Serve while warm.

Black-eyed Peas with Andouille Sausage
Serves 6-8
Several cultures believe that eating black-eyed peas will bring prosperity or luck. When cooked with sausage and bacon, it adds flavor to your meal as well!

-2 cups dried black-eyed peas
-1 1/2 pounds andouille sausage or other good-quality smoked sausage, divided
-1/4 pound bacon, cut in to 1/4" pieces.
-6 cups water
-1 medium onion, finely chopped
-1 rib celery, finely chopped
-1 tablespoon minced garlic
-3 sprigs fresh thyme
-2 bay leaves
-3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
-1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
-1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
-1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
-Chopped green onions, Tabasco sauce and cider vinegar for serving

-Rinse and soak peas overnight in water to cover by 3 inches. Drain and set aside.
-In a 6- to 8-quart pot set over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy and fat has rendered. Remove bacon, leaving fat behind.
-Chop 1/2-pound piece of the Andouille in to 1/4" pieces and add to the bacon fat, along with the onion and celery.
-Continue cooking until onions and celery are soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add peas and water and season with salt. Place thyme, bay leaves, cardamom, coriander, mustard see an pepper flakes in cheesecloth back and add to water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
-Simmer peas until tender and liquid is thickened, approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove spice bag and strain if desired. Check and adjust seasoning.
-Slice remaining sausage into 1/2-inch rounds. Fry briefly in a nonstick skillet and keep warm.
-Place peas in a serving bowl and garnish with fried sausage, green onions, tabasco and cider vinegar as desired.