A recipe! For real!
Except that I forgot to take a picture of the finished soup actually plated (bowled?) in a bowl, even though I ate this for dinner on three separate occasions.
So you get to see it in the pot.
Styling tip #1 for soup: put it in a bowl. A cool bowl, with a cool spoon. Because soup just isn’t really that pretty.
Spicy Gumbo (recipe adapted from Allison Fishman’s You Can Trust a Skinny Cook)
- 2 chicken breasts
- 3 T Cajun seasoning (chili powder, paprika, garlic, oregano, cayenne)
- 1/2 C vegetable oil
- 3/4 C all-purpose flour
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 6 C chicken broth
- 1/2 lb andouille sausage
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14-oz), drained
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T dried parsley
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 T Worcestershire sauce
Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, dice, dredge in the Cajun spice mix, and sauté over medium heat until browned and cooked through. Set aside.
I was slightly scared to make a roux (and appropriately so, as you’ll read later), but this recipe makes it pretty simple. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the flour.
Constantly stir the flour until it turns a milk chocolate brown (this should take about 12 minutes, according to Ms. Fishman, though I was being very cautious with the heat and it took me more like 15-16).
Add the diced onion and continue to stir until it turns dark chocolate brown. This took only a minute or two more for me, and was bubbling furiously the whole time. Be careful not to let it cook past the dark chocolate phase, because you don’t want it to burn. If you do burn it, throw it out and start over. It can’t be fixed.
Add the pepper and celery and stir until all the veggies are softened, another five or six minutes.
Slowly whisk in the broth–do this over the course of three to five minutes, giving the broth time to thicken as it heats up. I did it much faster than this, and the roux and broth separated and I spend the next five minutes googling “separated roux” and “did I ruin my life” until it all came together again.
I didn’t take a picture of the separated roux because I really thought I ruined it, and didn’t plan on blogging it. Basically it looked disgusting, but if this happens to you–it’s okay! Keep stirring!
Add the chicken, sausage, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes, parsley, and Worcestershire and simmer for 20 minutes. I did not brown the sausage first (the recipe didn’t call for it) but might next time, just to drain out a little fat and so I can eat half of it before I add it into the soup.
Just kidding. Well, I never mean to do it, but I do.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!
This soup was spicy, mostly because the sausage I bought was hot! hot! hot! fresh from the regional-market-burly-sausage-making-men. I think Fritz actually broke an upper-lip sweat eating this, but he’s not a big fan of hot (hot-spicy, not hot-temperature, obviously) food.
For us spicy food lovers, you can always add some extra cayenne or hot sauce to jazz it up a little, if you want.
Styling tip #2 for soup: drain out some of the broth so you have more “stuff” in the bowl and less liquid. No example of this here, obviously.
Styling tip #3: natural fibers (woven mats, wooden cutting boards) always give a great texture that make boring pictures look interesting without clashing with all the colors of soup.
However, I can’t put anything down in this house without a cat jumping on it.
It’s obnoxious how cute he is, though.
Also, my sister, brother-in-law, and niece are back in California. As a way to work through my emotions, I present you more pictures of the happy family.