Growing up I was lucky enough to escape a third of the Winter months by getting away to Coral Bay for a full month of family holidays. Nowadays, with work commitments etc I find myself theoretically “stuck ” suffering the Winter chills and daydreaming of tropical destinations. Anyhow, there’s a limited list of what I consider to be “perks” around this wintry time of year and it goes like this;
– Warm Hugs
– Long Boots
– Ankle Boots
– Ugg Boots
and that’s basically it.
So thought I would share one of my favourites off the list – Gumbo. This is a brilliant hearty winter warming dish that can be as clean or comforting as you like. When I make the clean version I leave out the rice, bacon, chorizo and prawns making it not only healthier but a lot cheaper (although perhaps a little less fun 😉 ) This recipe is also an awesome dish to make for a large group as with 4-6 people there are usually plenty of leftovers.
Olive oil – Just enough to coat pan.
3 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
½ tsp Paprika
½ tsp Cayenne pepper
600g Chicken Breast or Thighs cut into large pieces
1 chorizo sausage, thickly sliced
200g of bacon, chopped roughly, no rind
200g of peeled raw prawns
Large onion, chopped
1 green capsicum, seeded and chopped
1 yellow capsicum, seeded and chopped
1 red capsicum, seeded and chopped
4 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
1 medium size sweet potato
1 tsp garlic flakes, or 3 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp fresh Thyme, or 2 stalks.
4 bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock (Reduced salt) and 1 cup water
Spring onion and fresh parsley to garnish
Mix cornflour, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper together in a bowl and use it to lightly coat the chicken pieces. Keep remainder to add to dish later. In a large pan heat the olive oil, and add the chicken, sausage and bacon. Stir-fry together for 5-10 minutes over high heat, or until everything is golden brown and slightly caramelised. Reduce heat to medium high. Remove chicken from pan and place on a large plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.
Using the same pan add the vegetables (onion, bell peppers, celery, sweet potato) and sauté them for around 10 minutes. Add a small amount of stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape the caramelisation off the bottom of the pan so it becomes part of the sauce.
Add a little water to the left over cornflour/spice mix and stir until dissolved. Stir the cornflour mixture through the pan. Add the chicken back into the pan to continue cooking. Add the rest of the ingredients (garlic, bayleaves, thyme) along with the stock/water and allow to simmer for another 20 mins or until the chicken and all vegetables are well cooked and sauce thickened nicely.
Add the prawns into the pan for the last 5 minutes of cooking so they don’t overcook. Serve over rice, garnish with spring onions and fresh parsley.