A taste of New Orleans

Wouldn’t it be fun to spend New Year’s Eve in New Orleans? I can imagine dining on any number of Louisiana specialties — with beignets for breakfast on New Year’s morn! Yum.

We hope to pay a visit to New Orleans sometime in the next couple of years, but in the meantime can enjoy a couple of that city’s culinary specialties, courtesy of former Worthingtonian Kevin Lease, now of suburban Milwaukee, Wis. Kevin writes that he works with a woman, Cindy Cheramie, who hails from Louisiana, and she owns a boat that has been christened Lagniappe — the name of my column. Lagniappe (pronounced lan-yap), is a creole term that means “a little something extra,” like getting 13 beignets when you order 12. Kevin talked Cindy into sharing a couple of recipes from her native city, including this one for gumbo. Stay tuned for an etouffee recipe tomorrow.

Chicken Gumbo

3 pounds cut-up boneless chicken

1 pound sausage sliced thin

3 small onions chopped

 ½ bunch green onions chopped

½ cup chopped parsley

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

2 ribs celery chopped

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 tablespoons bleached flour

Salt and pepper to taste

Hot Sauce to taste

Heat oil to sizzling, add flour and keep stirring constantly until the roux is golden brown (the darker the better, but be careful not to burn it. Once browned, quickly add celery, onions, green onions and garlic, sauté until soft, stirring constantly to keep roux from burning.

Add meat and sauté until cooked on all sides. Add water just enough to cover the meat. Add salt, pepper and hot sauce. Reduce heat and cook 60 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking, add more water if needed to keep meat covered.

At the end of the hour, add 3 to 4 additional cups of water and cook on low for another 60 minutes. Sprinkle parsley as garnish on top and filé powder (ground sassafras leaves, a common seasoning in creole cooking) if desired.

Seafood can be substituted for chicken and sausage if desired.

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