Most folks around here would say it’s too hot for Gumbo! It has been in the low 90’s and humid. I wanted Gumbo and didn’t want to wait until September for the first cool snap. I’ve been cooking for years but just recently learned how to make Gumbo and tonight will be the first time I try to make Potato Salad!
The cookbook I rely on the most was first printed in 1967. My Grandma, my Mom, and I believe every other cook in the family, owns a copy! Talk About Good is published by the Service League of Lafayette, Inc. of Louisiana and is a compilation of recipes by the members.
When I first endeavored to make Gumbo, I turned to that section and found 12 different recipes and 12 different ways to make Gumbo! I kinda put them all in my head and made up my own recipe. I chose to make chicken tonight, but honestly, there are no rules on what combination of meats or seafood goes into Gumbo.
I start with chicken thighs, boneless and skinless. I personally don’t like to get my hands full of Gumbo when I’m eating. Most people will say that it comes out better with the bones and skin, in the Gumbo, while it’s cooking. They may be right, but it is up to the cook.
Season the chicken thighs with a generous amount of salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. I pour three large ladles of vegetable oil into a five-quart, Dutch oven. Heat the oil on high and put a few pieces of chicken in when it is pretty hot. At this point, I am only browning the chicken, so I cook it for three minutes per side. Remove the chicken and put it aside to cool. Repeat until all of the chicken is browned. When it has cooled enough to handle, I cut the chicken into cubes.
Now with the oil that remains, I make a roux. Make sure the oil is piping hot and add one heaping ladle of flour. I use my heavy duty, cooking spoon and stir continuously until it is a dark brown. There will be a crust on the bottom of the pot from the chicken, just keep scraping it and make sure the flour doesn’t burn. I add my ‘trinity’, onions, bell pepper and celery, and turn the fire to medium. The crust from the chicken loosens from the bottom of the pot when I add the ‘trinity’. Stir every couple of minutes to keep from burning.
When the ‘trinity’ is tender, I pour in my cubed chicken. Stir well and let it cook down for ten to fifteen minutes.
Here’s a little secret… add two cups of water, and it’s chicken stew! I add chopped parsley and green onions, pour in eight cups of hot water, stir and cook at a simmer for ten minutes or so. If necessary, I add some salt. Normally the seasoning on the chicken is sufficient. And that’s it! Pretty simple but oh so delicious. You may need to skim the oil from the top of the Gumbo. Oh! You definitely need to have rice. I made four cups in my rice cooker. That should be enough for the amount of Gumbo I made.
Now for the Potato Salad!!!
I absolutely love my Mom’s tater salad and so we just got off the phone! It doesn’t sound too hard; I just hope it’s as good as hers. I need six boiled eggs and six medium, red potatoes. So, I have five, very large, red potatoes; these should work! I peel the potatoes and cut them into large cubes while the eggs are boiling. By the time they’re done, I’m ready to boil the potatoes. Add salt to the water and boil until tender, not mushy. While waiting for the potatoes to cook, I peel and slice the eggs.
When the potatoes are tender, drain them and pour into a large bowl. I use a potato masher to soften the potatoes but leave some chunky. Now it’s time for the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, and pickles.
I started with two heaping, serving spoons of mayonnaise, two teaspoons of mustard and one diced, dill pickle. The mixture was not creamy enough, so I added one more heaping spoon of mayonnaise. I added salt and pepper and stirred it until it was smooth and creamy. It’s almost as good as my Mom’s!
Well, I’m pretty excited… I finally learned how to make Potato Salad, and now I get to eat some, too!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 3 lbs boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs
- Salt, Black Pepper, and Cajun Seasoning, to taste
- 3 large ladles Vegetable Oil
- 1 heaping, large ladle All Purpose Flour
- 2 large diced Onions
- 1/2 cup diced Bell Pepper
- 1 cup diced Celery
- 2 tsp chopped Green Onions
- 2 tsp chopped Parsley
- 8 cups Water
- 4 cups cooked Rice
- 6 medium-size Red Potatoes
- 6 Eggs
- 3 heaping, serving spoons Mayonnaise
- 2 tsp yellow Mustard
- 1 large, diced Dill Pickle
- Salt and Pepper, to taste