Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Week of Chicken Meal Five: Garlic Free Chicken Gumbo (Gluten, garlic, dairy, corn free)

 NOTE:  Well folks, since it seems that I'm destined to get a cold (least if my head and throat are any indication right now), I'm going to cheat and post the rest of these recipes early so that you don't have to go weeks without finding out the "ending" as it were.  Out of all of the recipes that I made during the "week of chicken" I have to say that this gumbo recipe is my favorite.  I ate it for breakfast even on Saturday and it reheats quite well.

I just wanted to start out with a huge warning for you all.  If you are a gumbo know who you are.  Someone who makes their gumbo with a roux that has been cooked for days, insists gumbo file is a major component of gumbo and gumbo isn't gumbo without andouille sausage in every single bite.  If you are one of those people, a big piece of advice.  Walk, nay run, as fast as your legs can carry you away from this recipe never to return.  Because this gumbo recipe breaks every single rule in that gumbo purist book. 

But, hey, it's allergy friendly and darned tasty, so it's all good right?

Just a quick note.  This recipe calls for brand specific ingredients.  That's because the products I list I know to be garlic free (as of today anyway).  Always be sure to check your labels and if you can't find a product (I'm most worried about the chicken stock) in your area...just sub out home made and go from there.

Also, there is one specialty ingredient in this that I like to call my secret weapon (or secret ingredient if you don't want to go Mission Impossible):  Liquid smoke.  Trust me do not omit this unless you absolutely 100% have to.  It helps make up for lost flavor from the lack of sausage and it helps to give the gumbo a long simmered roux type of depth.  Without the liquid smoke the recipe would be lacking.  The liquid smoke I use is an all natural hickory smoke that lists two ingredients.  Water and natural hickory smoke flavor.  That's it and that is all any liquid smoke should need.  ALWAYS check your labels (like I have to remind you of that anyway if you're here) to make sure that it doesn't contain something you can't have.

Garlic Free Chicken Gumbo (gluten,garlic, corn, dairy free)
  • 4 to 6 cooked bone-in chicken thighs, meat removed and cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1/2 lb. nitrate free bacon (I use Hormel Natural Choice), diced
  • 1 green bell pepper,  seeded and diced
  • 1 small onion (or 1/2 of a large onion), diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 box Pomi strained tomatoes (I can find these at my local Kroger affiliate over by the canned tomatoes), or 1 can (15 oz) Eden Organic diced tomatoes (unflavored)
  • 2 cups Kirkland brand Organic Chicken Stock (or use home made).  Note:  If you use the 15 oz can of diced tomatoes I'd reduce this to 1 3/4 cups as the Pomi tomatoes come in a 20 some ounce box.
  • 1 package frozen okra
  • 1/2 tsp. ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp. ground thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. Cheyenne Pepper (depending on how much you like heat)
  • 1 tsp. Liquid Smoke
  • 4 tbs arrowroot
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • Olive oil
  • 2 to 3 Cups prepared white rice, depending how much you like rice
Pour a little olive oil into a preheated non-reactive pan over high heat (I used an 8 quart stock pot for this) and place bacon in pan.  Cook until bacon releases some of it's fat and is cooked, but not brown.  Kill heat on pan.  Remove bacon bits from pan and place in a bowl with chicken meat.  Sprinkle ground sage and thyme over the meats and toss lightly with a fork or other utensil to distribute the seasonings through the meats.  Set bowl aside.

Turn heat back on to pan and set to medium high(I kill the heat to make sure the bacon bits or bacon fat doesn't burn while I'm removing the bacon...I'm just not that quick at it, if you are confident that you're quicker than me feel free to leave the heat on under the pan...just don't blame me if you burn your dinner ;).  Add olive oil to pan to bring fat up to about 2 tbs.  Pour pepper, onion and celery in pan.  Place in bay leaf and dried thyme and sprinkle with a small amount of salt and pepper. 

Saute vegetables, stirring frequently, until the onions start to look translucent.  Add Cheyenne pepper to pot and stir well to combine.  Add chicken stock and stir to deglaze pan.  Add tomatoes, meat and okra to pan, stir and reduce heat to medium.

Cook for about 25 to 30 minutes or until okra is definitely cooked through and the mixture is somewhat thickened.  Add liquid smoke and stir to combine.

Meanwhile in a cup or bowl combine arrowroot with cold water.  Stir until mixture is smooth and arrowroot is incorporated into the water (I do this with my, clean mind you, fingers). 
Add the water and arrowroot mixture to pan while stirring constantly.   The mixture will get thick very quickly.  Be sure to kill the heat as soon as the mixture gets to the consistency of thick gravy as arrowroot thickened sauces and such will start to break down and get thin again the longer the arrowroot is cooked.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve nice and popping hot and a neat tip?  Serve with the rice OVER the gumbo in the middle of the dish.  That way your rice won't get soggy.  Just scoop down through the rice into the gumbo to get the goodness in every bite.

Cooked quinoa would be a good alternative to rice, I think if you want a non-rice alternative.

I am quite proud of this recipe in all honesty.  I think I really caught the spirit of gumbo without all of the allergens included...sure it's not the same as gumbo with all the fixings, but it is good and gets the job done.  Even my husband really liked it and he doesn't like hot foods. 

Also one more tip.  If this is too hot for you when you taste it, don't despair and think you need to throw it out.  Take some honey and add it 1 tsp at a time to the pot, mix well and then taste.  The sugars in the honey will counteract the heat and trust me the final product won't taste sweet.  I've used this trick once or twice throughout the years.

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