We’ve never used our downstairs bathroom because it has always been unusable.
Not just dirty but originally constructed, decades ago, with poor, cheap materials not meant to last more than a couple of years. And they didn’t.
Today Steve DeVeau, French-Canadian and master remodeler stripped the bathroom down to 4 walls and I made gumbo. I had a lot more fun than he did 😀
I snipped a few of the last branches of my fresh thyme and decided to go with a mix of peppercorns for the stock because I like the colors of mixed peppercorns.
I found some premixed Emeril’s Essence in the pantry and sprinkled 6 enormous chicken thighs with it before browning. I don’t think I’ll ever buy the premix again. It’s easy to make your own and you can adjust the quantities of ingredients to taste. In addition, it stores well.
The idea of gumbo came to me because I saw some andouille sausages and good quality, refrigerated, canned fresh crab at the Super Duper market. I had file gumbo (no okra in the gumbo for this family) in the pantry and nice prawns in the freezer. Gumbo making is a little fiddly but well worth it.
Chicken, Andouille, Shrimp and Crab Gumbo
6 large chicken thighs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, quartered
Leaves from 2 celery branches
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp mixed peppercorns
2 quarts water
Season the chicken with the essence, then brown in the oil. Set the skillet, reserving the oil, to the side. Put the chicken in a large stock pot with the vegetables, herbs and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Reserving the broth, remove the chicken, allow to cool, then remove the skin and bones, breaking the chicken into chunks. Set aside.
3 andouille sausages, sliced
2/3 cup flour
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery branches, sliced
1 tbsp Emeril’s essence
1 tbsp gumbo file
1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 16oz can fresh crab from the grocery refrigerated section
1 tbsp gumbo file
Brown the sausage slices in the reserve oil, remove and set aside, again reserving the oil. Brown the flour in the reserved oil until the flour is cooked and a chocolate brown. Add the chopped onion, garlic, bell pepper and celery, then cook until soft. Sprinkle the vegetables with the essence and file, then gradually add, stirring, about 10-12 cups of the reserved broth. Pour the broth into a large stockpot, bring to a boil, then add the andouille and chicken chunks. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the shrimp and crab then cook for about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the fire, stir in the second tbsp of gumbo file and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Serve with rice, scallions and more gumbo file if desired.