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Chuck Braden

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Quick and Gumless Gumbo            Mike Braden


Hey Dad,

I just made this again recently, and thought it would be a good addition
to the family cookbook. The rest of you seemed keen to getting a copy, so
here ya go:

1/2 lb. Catfish (fillet or "nuggets")
1/2 lb. Kielbasa sausage
3/4 lb. Chicken (breast)
1 Green Bell Pepper
3 small (or 2 med or 1 large) yellow onion
3 celery stalks
3-5 cloves garlic
Optional: fresh hot peppers, hot sauces, to your liking
2 14.5? oz cans chicken stock
1 14.5? oz and 1 32? oz can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup washed rice (preferably long grain or basmati)
"Creole Seasoning" (or Essence, or red pepper, paprika, etc)

First of all, this is an easy, college bachelor adapted recipe. This dish
is done in about 2 hours, prep to eating, and is quite good. The above
ingredients can be changed as you see fit. Don't like catfish? Use
shrimp. Dont like seafood, leave it out, increase the other meats. If you
can find it, maybe try Andouille instead of Kielbasa sausage. Have the
time, dice your own fresh skinned and de-seeded tomatoes. Creole
seasoning can be found in just about any spice aisle in the US. It is
basically just a seasoned salt (red pepper, paprika, garlic powder, maybe
some celery salt, etc). If you feel comfortable using your own spices
instead, feel free. This recipe can easily be scaled up or down as
needed. It is *much* better the second day, to the point that I would
suggest making this a day ahead and putting it in the fridge, then
reheating as you make some fresh cornbread.

Cut the catfish and chicken into small pieces (~1/2" cubes). The Kielbasa
should be quarted lengthwise and sliced into ~1/2" thick wedges. Dice the
onion, bell pepper and garlic. Leave the garlic pieces large, as you dont
want them to burn. Any hot peppers should be diced fine. Celery can be
chopped or diced depending on how crunchy or soft you want it in the final
dish. Add 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil to a large, hot, pot. Quickly sautee
the catfish pieces in the oil unti just firm and cooked through. Season
lightly with creole seasoning as they cook. Remove and set aside. Add
more oil if neccessary and repeat with the chicken pieces. After you have
removed the chicken, add 2-3 tbsp oil to the hot pan (the excess oil will
be used to make a quick roux). Add the Kilebasa. Cook the Kielbasa for
3-5 minutes on med high heat to heat it through. Add onions, bell
peppers, celery, any hot peppers, and garlic. 

Continue to cook until onions start to turn clear, adding black pepper and
any hot sauces in the meanwhile. Add three heaping teaspoons of flour and
contiune to stir. This should form a very thick paste over everything. 
If it seems too dry, add a little oil. If it seems too wet, add a little
more flour. Cook another 2-4 minutes (note: a traditional gumbo uses a
very dark, almost burnt, roux. We do *not* want that in this case,
especially because we already have food in the pan. We just want to make
sure the roux gets heated through and thus "activated"). Slowly add one
can of chicken stock with stirring. This shoudl dissolve most of the roux
and begin to thicken. Add the tomatoes (undrained) and the other can of
stock. Add the reserved catfish and chicken. Add the rice. Bring to a
just boiling and then drop to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hours, stirring
occasionally. Check the flavor at about 30-45 minutes and adjust as
neccessary. The dish is done when the rice is tender.

Without any hotsauces and hot peppers, the creole seasoning should leave
the dish at mild-medium heat. If you find you have over salted the dish
(due to the creole seasonings containing salt), you can either serve with
a sweet cornbread or chop a washed potato into large pieces, add it to the
dish, continue to cook 15-20 minutes, and then remove the potato pieces
(the potato will absorb salt). I suggest serving with hot, fresh, sweet
cornbread (or cornbread with some honey or honeybutter). Top with freshly
cut green onions. This dish is heavy, with complex flavors, so I'd
suggest a light ale or lager or perhaps a slightly sweet but non-obtrusive
white wine. This dish is prone to induce overeating and heartburn, so
some Tums on hand would be a plus.


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