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One-Pot Wonders

Catching up with Carnival

EUGENIA UHL PHOTOGRAPH

If you’re throwing a Mardi Gras parade party, or will take a dish to someone’s house, consider a one-pot gumbo or jambalaya. Either dish feeds a crowd with the advantage of offering an alternative to the plentiful boxes of fried chicken and King Cakes that line every party table this time of year.

Chicken and sausage gumbo fits the budget in time and money, and who has extra time when parades are rolling every day? Stock up on chicken, sausage and rice, and you’ll have several parties covered for jambalaya and gumbo. Since Mardi Gras comes during crawfish season, you may want to throw some crawfish in the jambalaya as well.

It just so happens that my second cookbook, Gumbo, is set for publication March 2, so I’m rich with recipes for gumbo and more recipes that appear in the jambalaya and Louisiana lagniappe chapters.

I like to think about cooks all over the country preparing our dishes during Carnival season. I always get calls from people wanting recipes for their Mardi Gras parties. Some have lived here before; others just like to celebrate. I tell them to order King Cakes from local bakeries, decorate their tables in purple, green and gold and cook a pot of gumbo. My former next door neighbor and babysitter for my girls does it every year in Chicago, saving her beads and throws from her many years in New Orleans.

Gumbo is part of “Savor the South,” a series of single-subject cookbooks from the University of North Carolina Press. Thirteenth in the series, it follows cookbooks on shrimp, catfish, sweet potatoes, Southern holidays, okra, pickles and preserves, bourbon, biscuits, tomatoes, peaches, pecans and buttermilk. Here are two recipes from Gumbo, followed by a one-pot Mexican dish recipe that also would fit well at a Mardi Gras potluck.


Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

2 pounds boneless chicken
   thighs, cut into bite-size
   chunks, or 1 whole chicken,
   cut into pieces
1 pound andouille sausage, cut
   into bite-size pieces
2 Tablespoons plus 1/2 cup
   vegetable oil, divided
3/4 cup flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped,
   white and green parts, divided
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black
   pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf
   parsley
Cooked white rice

In a large, heavy pot, brown chicken and andouille in 2 Tablespoons oil. Remove meat from pot. Add 1/2-cup oil and flour, and stir over medium heat to make a roux the color of dark chocolate. Add white onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic and sauté over low heat for about 5 minutes. Gradually add chicken stock. Add bay leaves, salt, pepper, Creole seasoning and the meat, cover and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. When done, add green onion tops and parsley and remove bay leaves. Serve in bowls over rice with hot sauce and hot French bread. Serves 6 to 8


Crawfish and Sausage Jambalaya

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped, white and
   green parts separated
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced in 1/4-
   inch rounds
1 14.5-can tomatoes
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups seafood stock, preferably, or
   chicken stock or water
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon Creole seasoning.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cup rice
1 pound Louisiana crawfish tails with fat
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf
   parsley

Heat oil in a large, heavy pot. Add white onions, bell pepper and celery and sauté until transparent. Add garlic and sausage and sauté a couple of minutes more. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and stock and bring to a boil. Add seasonings except parsley, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Return to a boil and add rice. Reduce heat again and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add crawfish and green onion tops and simmer until liquid has been absorbed, about 20 more minutes. Remove from heat and top with parsley. Serves 8 to 10


Chicken Tortilla Casserole

3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 1/2 pounds}
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 24.5-ounce can good-quality Roma tomatoes in juice,
   puréed roughly in a food processor
1 teaspooon cumin
1 cup canned green chiles, chopped and drained
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
24 6-inch corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups sour cream
4 cups shredded Mexican 4 cheeses

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. For maximum flavor, grill on a charcoal grill until done. Alternately, use a rotisserie chicken or simmer on stovetop, covered in water until done. When cool, shred with your hands into bite-sized pieces. You can save the water from cooking the chicken to use as broth or use canned broth.

Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a medium pot and sauté onion and jalapeño until wilted. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring.

Add tomatoes, broth, cumin, salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in canned chiles and cilantro.

Spray a 13-by-9-inch casserole dish with cooking spray and spoon a thin layer of sauce to cover bottom of dish. Layer 6 tortillas, 1/3 of the chicken, 1/3 of the sour cream, 1/3 of the remaining sauce and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat 2 times, ending with the cheese.

Bake uncovered in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serves a crowd

 

 

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