Monday, September 17, 2012

Roasted Okra and Roasted Okra Fries

After making our gumbo, we had a bit of okra left over.  In the NFL Sunday Football spirit, I decided to try out two okra recipes: oven-roasted okra and oven-roasted okra fries. To be honest, both sounded delicious and I couldn't decide which to make, so I made both! Begin with some washed okra and patted dry with a paper towel.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

To prepare the oven-roasted okra (pictured on left): cut the ends of the okra off and drizzle some olive oil, salt and pepper.
To prepare the oven-roasted okra fries (pictured on right): keep ends of okra on, but just slice in half, lengthwise. Do not add any oil or seasonings.

Cook in oven for 10-15 minutes, or until desired crispiness.  Remove from oven and add salt to okra fries to taste.

Results:  The oven-roasted okra fries tasted almost like fried okra, but without the calories.  They were fairly crispy and NOT soggy at all from the "slime" usually in okra.  The oven really dried out most of the moisture because they were cut in half.  The oven-roasted okra was also delicious.  It did retain some moisture, but was not too soft.  It had that oven-roasted taste (which the fries didn't) and the seeds would almost pop in your mouth.  Quite tasty!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

With football season in full swing, gumbo is very common around our household.  In fact, we like to call it our Game Day Gumbo. :) This post begins with the basic recipe, but includes a cameo appearance by Chris who explains in detail how to make the roux (most important step) in a 5 minute video.  

We've adopted a recipe from Pirate's Pantry by the Junior League of Lake Charles Louisiana.  Some of the recipes I'm not sure I'd ever dare try (e.g. Squirrel Gumbo or Turtle Soup), but it's definitely an authentic south Louisianan cookbook.  

For the roux: 
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup canola oil

Everything else: 
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1/2 bell pepper, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- fresh okra (or can use 1/2 teaspoon of file)
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- seasoning blend: e.g. Old Bay Seasoning, gound cumin, ground coriander, paprika, worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, garlic, cayenne peppers, salt and pepper
- 1 lb raw shrimp
- smoked andouille sausage
- 3-4 green onions (used for garnish)

Recipe for Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
1) Begin by prepping all the vegetables.

and gather all the seasoning you will need. In this gumbo we used Old Bay seasoning, ground cumin, ground coriander seed, paprika, worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. 

2) Once everything is prepped, you are ready to begin the roux.  It really requires patience and constant stirring for a 30-45 mins (depending on fast everything goes).  Begin with the 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup of oil in a large dutch oven.

YouTube video: Chris created a 5 minute video to help show the process of how the roux is made.  Check out the video here.  The roux will go through different phases: tan, milk chocolate, brick and dark chocolate phase.  Here is a quick example of milk chocolate phase.

3) Once the roux is complete (again 30-45 minutes), add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes. After, add 4 cups of water.  Stir for 2-3 minutes to help 'wash off' all the roux from the vegetables to help thicken the gumbo.

4) Add seasoning blend, diced tomatoes, diced okra, and andouille sausage (slided around 1/2 inch thick).  Add in another 4 cups of water.  Let simmer for 3 hours.

5) 20 minutes before plating, add in shrimp (or any other seafood you'd like). Stir in diced green onions right before serving over some jasmine rice.

This makes a great meal any time of the year, but highly suggested watching an exciting football game with great friends!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Perfect Herb Roasted Whole Chicken

This weekend I wanted to make a roasted whole chicken using our new roasting pan we bought this summer when we made the red snapper.  Since I've never done it myself, I wanted to make sure to follow a recipe with lots of reviewer comments.  Ina Garten has a Perfect Roast Chicken recipe that looked very promising with vegetables that roast with the chicken.  Ina puts most of her herbs inside the chicken and I was hoping to make an herb rub on the outside. So, I found an additional recipe Herb Roasted Whole Chicken which does just that.  The following recipe is my take on roasting a whole chicken.  The final product turned out incredibly moist and flavorful.  I'm looking forward to doing more roasting this fall!

- 4 carrots, 2 onions, 1 fennel bulb
- sage, thyme and rosemary (or any selection of herbs)
- 1 lemon, 4 garlic cloves
- 1 whole chicken
- salt, pepper, canola oil

Recipe for Herb Roasted Whole Chicken:
1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Chop carrots, 1 onion and fennel into large chunks and place in roasting pan

2) Chop sage, thyme and rosemary (~1-2 tablespoons per chicken). Add 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil and a generous handful of salt to make an herb mixture to rub on the outside of the chicken.

3) Chop 1 lemon into halves (or quarters), 1 onion into quarters, and a few garlic cloves.  Place aromatics inside the chicken and tie the legs together.

4) Lift the skin of chicken from the breast meat and place some of the herb mixture underneath the skin. Continue to rub herb mixture all over the rest of the chicken.  Salt the chicken generously.


5) Place chicken inside 450 degree oven for 75-90 minutes until the juices run clear and the chicken is a nice golden brown.  At this point the internal temperature is recommended to be over 165 degrees.  I let it go a little too long and it got up to 180, but it still turned out great.  

6) After you take it out of the oven, let it rest for a minimum of 10-15 minutes before slicing into it.

We paired the chicken with some herb roasted potatoes and sauteed green beans.