Game Thyme!

February surprisingly is full of food!   With mardi gras, fat Tuesday, super bowl, Valentine’s Day, and basketball season you are sure to be fumbling through recipes for a go-to winning dish.   Superbowl is undoubtedly known for four main food categories…Pizza, Wings, Chili and Chips & Dips. With this year’s big game falling so close to Mardis Gras, why not combine the two and kick your pre-game party up a notch.   With a  hot creole crab dip and a pot of  chicken & andouille sausage gumbo, you are sure to set the tone for a classic New Orleans style spread.

 

Hot Creole Crab Dip

 Crab Dip.JPG
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 red or orange bell pepper chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 lb lump crab meat
  • 2 8 oz packages of cream cheese
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese or for spicier dip use pepper jack
  • 1 bunch green onions minced
  • 1 jar of marinated artichokes chopped (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1-2 Tbsp hot sauce (franks or tobacco)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp creole all purpose seasoning (Paul proud homes or tony chichirri)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees or on a low broil.

Heat the butter over a medium-high heat in a saucepan until it bubbles and starts to foam. Cook the onions, peppers, celery, and garlic until all the veggies are soft and beginning to brown.

In a separate microwave-safe dish, heat the cream cheese on medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until soft. Then stir until the cheese is creamy and smooth. ( note, if cream cheese is not soft enough it will be difficult to mix into the dip evenly)hile the vegetables are cooking, mix mayonnaise and rest of ingredient list into a medium bowl.

While the vegetables are cooking, mix mayonnaise and rest of ingredients with the exception of the crab meat into a medium bowl and blend well.

Now add cooked veggies and crab meat and gently mix until evenly distributed.

Place in an oven safe casserole dish. Place in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Serve this dip with vegetables, toasted pita chips, or my favorite crusty sliced baguette slices. Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo

Gumbo 2.JPG

Ingredients

  • 4 strips of bacon
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 whole chicken roasted
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 TBSP Cajun Seasonings
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBSP Salt & Pepper
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 3 TBSP chopped parsley leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 TBSP File Powder (optional)
  • 8 Cups of chicken stock
  • Cooked White Rice
  • Hot Sauce

Directions

Season the whole chicken with salt, pepper, and olive oil and roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees or until the internal temperature reaches 164 at the thickest part of the thigh.  Set aside, let cool, and pull the meat off the bone.  

Chef’s tip: You can reserve and freeze the carcass to make homemade chicken stock at a later date.

In a large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven or large pot, cook the andouille sausage until browned and then remove to a paper towel and set aside. Next heat the strips of bacon on medium-high until crispy and bacon fat has rendered. Remove the bacon.  

To make the roux: Add ¼ cup of canola oil to the bacon drippings and ½ cup of all-purpose flour and continue to stir on a medium to medium-high heat until a dark copper or penny color roux has formed.  (Approximately 30- 45 minutes)   

Add the onions, garlic, celery, and bell peppers to the roux and cook, stirring, until wilted, 4-5 minutes.  Add the reserved sausage, salt, cayenne, bay leaves, cajun seasonings, and thyme sprigs and cook for another 2 minutes. Stirring slowly add the chicken stock, and cook, stirring, until well combined.  Bring this mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low uncovered and stirring occasionally for 1 hour

Add the reserved pulled chicken to the pot and simmer for another ½ hour, skimming off any fat that rises to the surface.   

Remove the pot from the heat.  Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the bay leaves.

Spoon the cooked rice into the bottom of deep bowls or large cups and ladle the gumbo on top. Garnish with chopped parsley and green onions.  Serve with some hot sauce on the side.   

White Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 4 cups water, chicken stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 bay leaf

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the rice, water, butter, salt, and bay leaf and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit, covered and undisturbed, for 5 minutes.

Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork. Discard the bay leaf and serve.

Yield: 6 cups

Gumbo 1

 

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