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Cajun Gumbo sprinkled with Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

This recipe is from Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen cookbook. We’ve added shrimp this time, but this original recipe is without shrimp

For a big crowd we double the recipe. One recipe makes about 3- 4 quarts. We enjoy it either with the traditional rice or a crusty bread

The most unusual part of this recipe is making the roux. You can purchase roux at some grocery stores or specialty shops. Making it is not difficult, but it is surprising. The first time I made it I was certain I made a mistake and threw it out! The real flavor of gumbo comes from the roux. It is a pungent flavor on its own, but combined with the seasonings and other ingredients it’s divine!

This gumbo has a lot of broth that is not thick. It is full of flavor and is a dark color. You can make your own homemade chicken stock or broth. Or you can use store bought chicken stock. Or you can make a stock using a concentrate like Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Stock base. These store versions can be salty, so limit your added salt if you use these types.

If you have the shrimp shells, simmer them in about 2-3 cups of water or so for 30 minutes. Strain the shells through a fine mesh strainer. Use this as part of your 7 cups of stock if you use shrimp


  • 1 pound large shrimp with shells reserved, optional
  • 6 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 – 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, plus another 1-2 teaspoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 7 cups chicken stock ( including 2 cups of shrimp shell stock)
  • 1/2 pound andouille smoked sausage, cut into 1/4- 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Hot rice, optional
  • Sliced green onion
  • Tony Chachere’s Original Cajun Seasoning, optional


  1. Remove excess fat from chicken. Rub a generous amount of salt, garlic powder, and cayenne on both sides of each piece, making sure each piece is evenly covered. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl combine onion, green pepper and celery. Set aside.
  3. In a paper or plastic bag combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Add the chicken pieces and shake until the chicken is well coated. Reserve 1/2 cup of the seasoned flour.
  4. In a large heavy skillet heat 1 1/2 inches vegetable oil until very hot (375-400F). Fry the chicken until the crust is browned and the meat is cooked, about 5-8 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Carefully pour the hot oil into a glass measuring cup, leaving as many browned particles in the skillet as possible. Scrape the pan with a metal whisk to loosen any stuck particles. Return 1/2 cup of the hot oil to the skillet.
  6. Making the roux: Place the pan over high heat. BE VERY CAREFUL! This burns if it splashes on your skin! Using a long handled metal whisk gradually stir in the reserved 1/2 cup seasoned flour. Whisk constantly until the roux turns a dark red-brown to black color. This is where I thought I made a mistake! It isn’t though. Do this cooking with a fan in a well ventilated area. It takes about 10 minutes to reach the brown color.
  7. Remove from heat when you’ve reached the right dark chocolate brown color. Immediately add the vegetables, stirring constantly until the roux stops getting darker. Return pan to low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping the pan bottom well. You may even use a metal spatula to do this scraping.
  8. Meanwhile place the stock in an 8 quart stock pot and bring to a boil. Add roux mixture by spoonfuls to the boiling stock, stirring until dissolved between each addition. Return to a boil, stirring and scraping the pan bottom often.
  9. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the garlic and andouille. Simmer uncovered about 45 minutes, stirring often toward the end of cooking. Add as an option 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder and cook another 30 minutes to mellow the flavor.
  10. While the gumbo is simmering, cut the chicken into larger bite size pieces. When the gumbo is cooked add the chicken. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder. Add the shrimp if desired
  11. To serve ladle 1 1/4 cups gumbo into a large soup bowl. Then using a scoop or mold place a rounded 1/3 cup of cooked rice in the center of the gumbo. Garnish with sliced green onion and a sprinkling of a cayenne pepper seasoning mix like Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning.
Seasoned Chicken Thighs
The Cajun Trilogy: Celery, Green Pepper & Onion
Diced Vegetables
Coat seasoned chicken in seasoned flour
Fry Chicken in Oil
Drain Fried Chicken on Paper Towels
Scrape and Keep Bits of Breading in Skillet as You Add 1/2 Cup Oil
Add 1/2 cup Seasoned Flour, Scrape and Stir Carefully Till Dark Brown
Light Rouxs
Dark Roux is Best for Gumbo
Andouille, Chicken and Vegetables Ready to Add to Gumbo
Adding Vegetables to Roux (I Used Red Pepper too)
Veggies Cooking in Roux
Add Roux to Simmering Broth
Add Andouille and Garlic to Simmering Gumbo
Add Chicken to Gumbo
Add Shrimp to Simmering Gumbo
Gumbo! Voila

Quick Thai Spicy Coconut Shrimp 

We’ve made this dish several times this year. It’s a New York Times recipe. I hope you love it too!

In a medium bowl combine:

2 tablespoons red curry paste

2-4 tablespoons fish sauce

1/4 cup sambal

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

2 pounds medium raw, deveined, shelled shrimp

  • Place a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. 
  • Add

3 tablespoons light sesame oil

  • Heat just until smoking.
  • Add the shrimp mixture and sauté 2 minutes.
  • Add

1 cup scallions

2 cups steamed broccoli pieces

  • Cover and simmer for 3 minutes until heated through.
  • Stir in

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1-14 ounce can coconut milk

  • Simmer 3 minutes or until cooked through
  • Add 

1 bunch cilantro, chopped coursely

  • Serve over brown rice

Cioppino/San Francisco Fish Stew

Cioppino in our Garden

Cioppino in our Garden

Dave and I were in San Diego at Torrey Pines this past July where he was speaking at a conference called Scientific Updates. I was lucky to get the chance to go to such a beautiful place! I love exploring. Twice, dining out in La Jolla, Dave ordered versions of this rich broth and seafood. The flavors were amazing. Cioppino originates in San Francisco. The Mediterranean countries all have their versions.

This is a recipe he found online at Epicurious. He made one recipe last weekend and we both ate it 4 days in a row. There were a good 9 servings here! Low in fat, calories and carbs and full of flavor, protein,vitamins and minerals!  I added cooked short grain Arborio rice to mine. Dave is avoiding the carbs 😦 I prefer the rice to the original crusty French style bread.

Living in the Midwest we’ve experimented with various forms of shellfish. We prefer the frozen clams and mussels in the shells to the fresh. Can you believe they sell fresh mussels in Michigan? The frozen were meatier than the fresh. Calamari or squid are available cleaned and frozen. No more squid ink to deal with! None of the fish became tough with cooking and reheating.

Dave followed this recipe below with these additions:

  • Add 1 pound frozen clams in their shells
  • He used cod instead of halibut, which is not easy to find in Midland
  • Add a 2nd bottle of clam juice instead of the 8 oz water
  • Use a fennel bulb the size of a large fist
  • Add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Serve with cooked rice (I prefer the short grained Arborio rice) and/or crusty French or crusty sourdough bread

The recipe is from Bon Appetit, December 2011:

Fideua/Spanish-Style Toasted Pasta with Aioli: The Authentic Version!


This is the true version of a type of paella made with thin short pieces of pasta rather than rice. Toasting the raw pasta adds a deep earthy flavor. It does remind me of Rice-a-Roni, but with better taste. A shallow paella pan is the best cooking pan to use, but a large sauté pan works too, the larger the better.

Sauté onion

Add drained, minced tomatoes 

Add garlic and spices

Add the toasted thin spaghetti 

Add the toasted pasta to the browned tomato/onion/seasoning mixture

Add the toasted pasta to the browned tomato/onion/seasoning mixture

Pasta is ready to add the shrimp

The broth and wine have been added, the fideau has simmered and is ready to add the shrimp.

Add the shrimp marinated in garlic, olive oil & salt

Add the shrimp marinated in garlic, olive oil & salt

Broil the shimp until it turns pink

Broil the shimp until it turns pink

The Fideau rests!

The Fideau rests!

Fideau! /Spanish-Style Toasted Pasta
I doubled this recipe to fill my 17 inch paella pan

3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced or pressed garlic

Salt and pepper

1 pound or more extra large shrimp, raw,deveined with shells

2 ¾ cups water

1 cup  clam juice of fish stick (this is essential for the best flavor)

2 bay leaves

8 ounces spaghettini or thin spaghetti

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained thoroughly and finely chopped

1 teaspoon paprika, or more

1 teaspoon smoked paprika, or more

1 teaspoon anchovy paste, or more

¼ cup Spanish white wine, or more

Chopped parsley and lemon wedges, optional

Aioli: 1/2 cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, 2 teaspoon minced garlic and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice. Serve with the Fideau at the table.

  • Cut the spaghetti into 2 inch lengths. Using a kitchen towel, loosely fold 4 oz  spaghetti keeping it flat. Twist the towel around at each end. Position so 1-2 inches of pasta rests on the counter and remainder hangs off edge. Pressing bundle against the counter, press down on long end of towel to break strands into pieces, sliding bundle back over edge after each break. Pour into a bowl and repeat with remainder of pasta.
  • Remove shells from shrimp. Place shells in a microwave proof medium bowl. Place shrimp in a medium ceramic or glass bowl.
  • To the shrimp add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Mix and refrigerate.
  • To the shells add the water, clam juice and bay leaves. Cover and microwave until liquid is hot and shells have turned pink. Set aside.
  • In a broiler safe 10 skillet or paella pan, toss spaghettini and 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium high heat. Stir frequently until browned to the color of peanut butter. Place in a bowl.
  • Wipe out skillet. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Saute until softened and turning brown.
  • Add drained and chopped tomatoes and cook, stirring, until mix is thick, dry and slightly darkened, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining garlic, paprika, smoked paprika and anchovy paste. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute or less, stirring.
  • Add spaghettini and combine.
  • Turn on broiler and adjust rack 5-6 inches from element.
  • Pour broth through a fine strainer into the skillet. Add wine, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir well. Increase to medium high heat and bring to a simmer
  • Cook uncovered,lightly stirring occasionally, until liquid is thickened and pasta just tender, 8-10 minutes.
  • Scatter shrimp over pasta and partially submerge shrimp. Place skillet under broiler until shrimp are opaque and surface of pasta is dry with crisped browned spots, 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let stand uncovered 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with lemon wedges if you like.
  • If using a paella pan, serve at the table.
  • This is the same recipe as paella. Use short grained arborio rice or short grained brown rice and follow the same recipe. The brown rice will need to cook longer.
  • I have used the traditional carbon steel paella pan from Spain. This requires special seasoning with oil before and after each use. I also have used a traditional stainless steel 10 inch skillet for this recipe. The paella pan is more authentic.
  • When making paella, it’s all about the rice. It needs to stick to the paella pan and be scraped off with a metal spatula.

Serves 4 main entrees or 16 tapas.

Adapted from     July 2012