Today's cook the book recipe, excerpted from The Oprah Magazine Cookbook, is for a sensational Creole Gumbo straight from the Big Easy. Chef Leah Chase, owner of the restaurant Dooky Chase and arguably the Queen of Creole Cuisine, pulls out all the stops. Her version includes fresh crabs, oysters, and shrimp; veal and chicken; and two kinds of sausage. The recipe makes a lot—it serves 8 to 10—so mix up some Sazeracs and prepare it with a group of friends. This is soul food at its absolute best.
- 4 live hard-shell crabs, cleaned (or 4 ounces fresh crabmeat)
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 pound kielbasa, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 pound veal stew meat
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 chicken wings, tips removed, cut in half at joint
- 1/2 pound smoked ham, diced
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 24 shucked oysters (1/2 pint) with their liquid (optional)
- 1 tablespoon filé powder
- 5 cups hot cooked rice, to serve
In an 8-quart Dutch oven, combine crabs (if using crabmeat, ass in fourth step with the shrimp and oysters), chicken thighs, both sausages, and veal. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture (called a roux) turns the color of pecans, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add onion. Cook, stirring constantly, until onion softens, about 3 minutes.
Stir roux into pot with crab mixture. Gradually add 3 quarts of water, stirring to combine and scraping any browned bits from bottom and sides of pot. Bring to a boil. Stir in chicken wings, ham, paprika, parsley, garlic, thyme, and salt. Return to a boil, then reduce heat; simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Add shrimp and oysters (if using); simmer 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in filé powder. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve over rice.