One of my favorite things in the world is to meander through the neighborhood with Brian on a Sunday morning. We have no agenda and we just let our curiosity (and often our appetites) dictate our pauses, window shopping, actual shopping, and eating. This morning our wanderings found us strolling down Market and after months of resistance, for a reason I felt strongly but could never entirely articulate, we finally tried Criolla Kitchen, which is in the former all-night Bagdad Cafe location.
It was delicious. The first thing we ordered was a cup of gumbo, which we chased with sweet potato tater tots which, when dipped in the crack-ridden sauce they come with, can’t help but make you happy.
We were inspired to try our own version of gumbo, so we pulled up a Food & Wine recipe on the iPhone, stopped into Sharon Stone’s and had delicious gumbo for dinner.
Like most New Orleans cuisine, it’s not exactly low in calories, but it is all kinds of warming and delicious.
Chicken and Okra Gumbo
Food & Wine
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- vegetable oil
- 1 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3 large celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 green bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 6 ounces andouille links, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons prepared jerk paste or 1 tablespoon ground jerk seasoning
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon smoked hot paprika
- 3/4 pound fresh or thawed frozen okra, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- One 3 1/2-pound rotisserie chicken—meat shredded, skin and bones discarded
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Steamed rice, for serving
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, whisk the flour with 1/2 cup of oil until smooth. Cook the roux over moderately low heat, whisking often, until deep brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add the onion, celery, bell peppers and garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 20 minutes.
- Gradually add the stock to the casserole, whisking until smooth. Add the andouille, bay leaves, jerk paste, thyme and paprika and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the okra to the casserole and simmer until tender, 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken meat and season the gumbo with salt, pepper and Tabasco. Discard the bay leaves, ladle the gumbo over rice, garnish with the scallions and serve with Tabasco.