Martha Stewart’s Half-Hour Chicken Gumbo

by Cate on March 24, 2008

30-minute-gumbo-small.jpgEven though I’m admittedly a big fan of Martha Stewart, I have a love/hate relationship with her recipes.  Some work, some don’t, and I know I’m in good company with my success, or lack thereof.  I vividly remember making a Cranberry Upside-Down Cake recipe of hers twice, back-to-back, determined to beat the thing into submission before giving up.  After it failed the second time, I threw in the towel; I just wasn’t willing to waste any more expensive ingredients to make the recipe again.  That being said, I have had decidedly better success with recipes from her Everyday Food magazine and cookbook.

Since my sister had her baby, when I see them, I try to make an extra meal to give them, just to make things a bit easier.  This time, with an eye to keeping things easy on a crazy holiday weekend, when I spied the recipe for Martha’s Half-Hour Chicken Gumbo in the current issue of Everyday Food, it sounded like just the ticket.  Effortless to pull off, the recipe takes quite a bit of help from precooked items, like rotisserie chicken and pre-cooked sausages, which is quite the departure from a more standard, all-afternoon recipe that Martha would do in her main magazine or regular cookbooks.

So, the all important question … did the recipe work? 

For the most part, yes.  I needed a bit more oil to keep the roux going enough to get the vegetables to the right point, and after taste-testing it at the end, I felt it was missing something.  To me, the recipe just seemed to lack an overall oomph of flavor.  I added in a can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes, which seemed to help.  I meant to add a dash or four of hot sauce at the end, but forgot.  Did the tomatoes help enough to make this a wow recipe?  No.  But they definitely added a little more flavor, and enough that The Husband polished off our entire portion of the gumbo.  And hey, it made for an easy dinner, and some days, that just has to be enough.

Half-Hour Chicken Gumbo
Recipe courtesy of Everyday Food

Rely on rotisserie chicken, smoked spicy sausage, and frozen okra from the store to stack up flavors in our quick rendition of a classic Cajun stew.

Total: 30 mintues (this was spot-on)
Serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower (I needed a bit more oil)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen cut okra
  • 8 ounces smoked (precooked) andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), skin and bones removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
  • Store-bought or homemade cornbread, for serving (optional)
  • I added one can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes

Directions
In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add 4 cups water; stir in okra and sausage. Bring to a boil. Stir in shredded chicken, and warm through, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; if desired, serve with cornbread.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Snarkmeister March 25, 2008 at 11:50 am

How odd. Usually a roux is made with the flour/fat ratio of 1:1 — so I would have bumped up the oil to at LEAST 1/4 cup. Also, it seems weird to me to make the roux and then add the veggies; I always cook the veggies in the oil and THEN add the flour. it doesn’t hurt the veggies at all to be coated in flour (especially since you add the liquids after a minute or two anyway), and this way your oil is flavored with the veggies & spices. Maybe the idea was to create a darker roux by having the flour cook longer? I dunno, it just seems funky. (And it DEFINITELY needs some Cajun seasoning or hot sauce or *something* – while I’m sure th

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Snarkmeister March 25, 2008 at 11:52 am

(Shoot, accidentally hit submit before finishing!). As I was saying, I’m sure this is a tasty meal but it sure ain’t gumbo!

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Ricki March 25, 2008 at 1:31 pm

I know Martha is often knocked for her recipes that don’t work (and I agree that they often don’t), but when they do work. . . .ahhhhh!!

I’ve also had more success with Everyday Food. There seem to be a lot of vegetarian dishes in there, too, oddly!

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Maria March 25, 2008 at 3:21 pm

I have had the same problem with MS’s recipes. Like you, the Everyday Food recipes have been more successful than the others.

I love gumbo, but I also would have added a cajun/creole seasoning to give it a kick.

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DJ March 25, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Yeah…I was going to say add a little Louisiana Hot Sauce to it…and that roux mix seems a little off…the ratio is 1:1 like Snarkmeister suggested..just keep mixing until its dark enough

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Michele Lane March 25, 2008 at 6:07 pm

Im with ya on her recipes not working. UGH. I tried her Red Velvet cake three times. three flat pancakes.

Id do the veggies first in the oil too.. then add the flour. But then you miss out on that toasted flavor you get when you make a dark roux.. hmm I dunno.

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