Enjoying my recent posts about my foodie travels around the Deep South? Then you must go out and buy one of my favourite cookbooks, Jamie’s America. Although the cookbook isn’t entirely authentic, Jamie Oliver’s interpretation of Southern cooking is simply delicious and must not be scoffed at! Not only does the cookbook contain recipes from all over the United States, it also features some of my Southern favourites; jambalaya, red beans and rice, sweet potato pie, grits, hush puppies, barbecue and more! This cookbook is certainly worth every penny!
One of the recipes I first attempted from the cookbook was ‘Spicy Meat Gumbo’. One summer whilst I was at University, I visited my parents in Vicksburg; this was the summer I discovered my love of gumbo and I swear I hardly ate anything else!!! Up until our recent vacation, Neil had only tried the Jamie Oliver version of this tasty dish, which I am sure many gumbo enthusiasts would not agree with due to the presence of chorizo and sweet potato! Luckily, we were able to sample the real deal at the Gumbo Shop in the New Orleans’ French Quarter. However, if you aren’t able to make the long trip to Louisiana, this dish is a tasty alternative!
Jamie Oliver’s Spicy Meat Gumbo
(Serves 6 – 8)
4 chicken thighs, skin on
4 chicken drumsticks, skin on
Salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
400g chorizo, thickly sliced
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped
4 celery sticks, finely chopped
3 tbsp. plain flour
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 kg sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
4 fresh bay leaves
1.5L chicken stock
Small bunch of parsley
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper and spices.
2. Put a large saucepan on a high heat, add a little oil and fry the chicken, chorizo and bacon for approximately 15 minutes until golden and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
3. Turn down the heat and add the onion, peppers and celery to the pan. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until soft then stir in the flour to make the roux. Cook very gently, stirring constantly until the roux gets nice and dark and the flour has been cooked out; this can take between 10 – 30 minutes depending on how brown you want the roux to be. Peanut butter colour is a good starting point!
4. Add the garlic, sweet potato, browned meats, thyme and bay leaves to the pan and cook for a further minute. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil then turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender and falls off the bone.
5. Once cooked, scoop the chicken out of the pan and shred the meat off the bone. Discard the skin and bones and return the meat to the pan.
6. To serve, roughly chop some parsley and stir into the gumbo. Throw in a bit of cooked rice and scatter sliced spring onions over the gumbo. Enjoy!!
Words cannot describe how much I adore this recipe! The cayenne and paprika add a nice depth of flavour and spiceness to the dish, which is further complemented by the chorizo oil that is released during the cooking process. The chicken is so tender and juicy due to the slow cooking and, as the sweet potatoes break down, a sweetness is added which is not typically found in gumbo but, I think, adds another dimension.
Gumbo is typicall made with Andouille sausage, native to Louisiana and France, however, it is hard to get hold of in the UK. Jamie Oliver suggests chorizo as an alternative and, although the flavour is very different, I think it works really well. There are some great UK chorizo producers, so why not use a fantastic UK product in this dish!
Give this recipe a try, I promise you will keep coming back for more! Perfect for a taste of New Orleans during the British summertime.
- Gumbo and Jazz in the French Quarter, New Orleans
- Beignets and Muffuletta at the French Market, New Orleans