How to Make a “Sassy” Gumbo – written by The Sassy Kitchen
About three years ago I ordered crawfish and had them shipped from Louisiana to California. My plan was to have a little crawfish boil and make a nice pot of seafood gumbo. As it turns out, one of my guests had a shellfish allergy. Naturally I panicked a bit. Then I decided to research chicken and sausage gumbo. I had never made it before but as with everything I have ever cooked, at one time or another; I had never made it before.
I found a few recipes I liked and I took pieces of each of those that I liked and created my own. I decided to add more meat and incorporate more than just plain chicken and sausage, change-up some seasonings, etc.
This gumbo was such a hit that I now have “Gumbo Parties” a couple of times a year. Depending on what I can get my hands on, the meats always change a bit but my basic recipe remains the same.
My basic recipe changed a bit last week when my friend Cynthia Cosco, who happens to be a winemaker, asked if I would try out some of her wines with some of my recipes. Now, for those that don’t know me, this was such an honor and I probably did actually squeal out loud a bit when she asked if I’d be interested in doing this. A few weeks later I met Cynthia at her tasting room and after trying several wines that she will be bottling soon, I left the tasting room with 4 bottles. In my handy wine tote, I had one bottle of each of these wonderful wines:
2012 Passaggio New Generation Pinot Grigio
2011 Passaggio New Generation Unoaked Chardonnay
2011 Passaggio Unmarked Code Seven Napa Valley Pinot Noir
2012 Passaggio Unmarked Code Seven Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
I began by opening the Pinot Grigio and the Chardonnay. I opened the bottles, poured myself a little of each and without food, I sipped them both. Back and forth, back and forth. Stopping, thinking, sipping, stopping… This went on for a while.
I had enjoyed Cynthia’s wines with my gumbo but hadn’t ever incorporated them into my recipe. Honestly, this still wasn’t the plan but in the flash with a glass in my hand, it changed. I must say, it was a tiny flash of brilliance. We’ve all had them. That flash where you’re drinking and cooking and think to yourself “I wonder what will happen if….” and while you’re still really in mid-thought, you pour your glass of wine into the pot. That’s exactly how it happened and it was a good thing!
Now it’s time to MAKE THE GUMBO! READY?
2 Pounds Smoked Sausage. Sliced about 1/4 inch thick. I mix it up. This time I used 1/2 pound Andouille, 1/2 Pound Pork Smoked Sausage and 1 Pound Turkey, Beef and Pork Smoked Sausage. I prefer the pork sausages and have also used pork and alligator sausage in the past.
4 Pounds Chicken Thighs. On the bone, skin and excess fat removed.
1 Pound Alligator Nuggets. You can add more chicken if you’d prefer. I had it so I used it. I have also used Alligator Legs.
1 1/4 Cups Chopped White Onion
1 1/4 Cups Chopped Yellow Onion
1 1/4 Cups Chopped Bell Pepper
1 1/4 Cups Chopped Celery
10 to 12 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Cup Flour (a bit more just in case)
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil.
1/2 Cup Passaggio New Generation Pinot Grigio
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
4 to 6 Bay Leaves. Personal preference to your liking
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cajun Seasoning Blend – I use Emeril’s Essence. It’s ALL IN THERE! BAM!!!
1 Cup Chopped Green Onion
1/3 Cup Chopped Parsley
4 Cups Cooked White Rice. Cook as desired. I keep this simple and cook the rice in water or chicken stock with a touch of butter and 1 bay leaf per cup of uncooked rice.
I HIGHLY recommend having everything prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. Once you start, it needs to be a smooth progression so that you don’t lose your flavors by having to stop and start, etc. The green onion, parsley and rice can wait a bit. You’ll have a few hours of idle time to do this.
Season chicken thighs liberally on both sides with your chosen Cajun seasoning blend and set aside for now.
Add 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil to a large stock pot and bring up temperature over medium to medium high heat. Working in batches, brown the sausage. Some will be crispy looking and some just a little cooked. Set on paper towel lined plate to drain.
Once you have browned all the sausage, once again working in batches, brown the chicken thighs on both sides. You’re not trying to cook it, just sear it. Set it aside to cool a bit then put it in the refrigerator until you’re ready for it.
Next, reduce heat to medium and de-glaze that stock pot with the Passaggio New Generation Pinot Grigio and then slowly add about half of the flour. Cook while stirring for a few minutes and then add 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil, stir and slowly add the remaining flour and another 1/4 cup oil (alternating) until you have a thick reddish-brown roux. Keep stirring for about 20 minutes. When you’re not using the wine, the roux goes from white to a chocolate-brown. When using the wine, it starts out a bit reddish-brown so it’s harder to tell what is happening. You still want to be sure that you are cooking the roux to coax out those incredible flavors that only a homemade roux will give you.
When the roux is ready, add the celery, peppers and onions. Stir well and get them all coated and gooey with the roux. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Toss in the cayenne, salt and pepper and then slowly add stock. Add the stock a little at a time while stirring. Adding it slowly keeps your roux from clumping like bad gravy. Once its loose and liquid, you can add the stock a bit faster and toss in the bay leaf. Add 10 cups and up to 12 depending on the size of your pot and the consistency you want. You can add 10 now and the remaining 2 later if you’d like.
Add sausage and simmer for 1 hour.
Add Chicken and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add Alligator and simmer for 1 more hour.
Using slotted spoon, remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool slightly. Remove chicken from the bone and chop or shred then return to pot and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning. Be careful. The flavors will continue to develop and it’s always easy to add salt and pepper later but removing it…. not so much.
Add the parsley, and about a Tbsp of Filé powder. Stir again.
Scoop desired amount of rice into a bowl, pour hot gumbo over the rice and top with chopped green onion. Serve with hot sauce and Filé powder on the table. Sometimes a couple shakes of each add a nice touch. **
Serve with a well chilled glass of Passaggio New Generation Pinot Grigio.
**I make my gumbo one to two days in advance. It keeps well and the “sitting” time really let’s those flavors “Do Their Thing”.
Harvest has finally settled down. We have a few things still fermenting but all is well. The grapes looked fantastic this year! I’m predicting another great vintage! I am looking forward to sharing this vintage with you!
Here are just a few photos from Harvest 2013 – Enjoy
Well, predictions were right for Harvest 2013…it came early! The 2013 Passaggio Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio came in full 10 days earlier than 2012 and the grapes looked fantastic…I actually think they look better than last year’s!
It was a brisk morning in Lodi when they picked fruit at 6:30am. I always love this time of year. It’s a time when thoughts of the outside world normally fade away as the sound of grape laden buckets takes over and harvest becomes the center of all activity. It’s a peaceful time when I can forget about everything else and just focus on harvest. This year, though, has been a little different. Mattie, my Airedale and Passaggio Winery dog, has undergone bone cancer surgery to remove her left front leg. It has taken its toll on me for sure. My heart is heavy and my spirit is weary. Mattie is actually doing better than I am. She seems better each day. Still not quite able to stand on her own, but she is getting better. I am sure she will be running…well, I understand it may resemble a hop… around the winery before you know it. I am very thankful for all the support, hugs, thoughts, and prayers during this difficult journey. Barbara, my neighbor and wonderful friend, has been such a huge support. She made dinner twice for us and visits Mattie at least twice a day for belly rubs. Mariah, my pastor, brought a care package of snacks…doggie treats for Mattie and ice cream for me! Friends from all over the world are leaving social media messages of encouragement…wonderful words of encouragement and daily advice.
For these things I am very grateful….
Meet the Winemaker – yep that’s me!!
I am looking forward to this event at Dogpatch Wine Works tasting room. I hope you join me and share a glass of Passaggio Wine on April 18th from 5-8pm. 2455 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.
Come and hear my story of how I got started in the wine industry and where I plan to take the Passaggio brand…
Click here for more details
March 15th – Passaggio Wines on the calendar for bottling. The days leading up to this date were intense. Trying to coordinate getting all the packaging paraphernalia to the winery on time was quite a task not to mention getting the wine ready too. It actually came down to the wire. The capsules and corks were to arrive on the 14th. Two o’clock went by and the UPS driver had all ready dropped a package off at the winery and it wasn’t the capsules and corks for Passaggio Wines bottling. I immediately got on the phone to the company and they had me down as bottling on the 25th…oy vay!!! Needless to say, you can bottle without capsules, but you can’t bottle without corks!
The company realized their mistake and had the capsules and corks to me at 7am on the 15th. Now that’s cutting it close…geez!
The day went very smooth. I had wonderful friends who took part in this memorable occasion. It makes bottling more of a non stressful day when you have great people helping you get through it. Passaggio Wines bottled the 2012 Unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Rose Colored Glasses, and newly added to the line-up this year – Sauvignon Blanc.
Shout out to Dave Gifford, Chris Nelson, Justin Rose, and the Luna Sei group for all their help!!! You guys are awesome….
- Luna Sei Moon Mix 2010 Red Table Wine (fiftyshadesofwine.org)
Labels, capsules, bottles and corks…oh my! The winery has been pretty quiet this past month but I have been busy behind the scenes as I gear up for bottling. The Passaggio 2012 Unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Rosé are scheduled for bottling. Added to my Spring line up is the 2012 Passaggio’s UNMARKED Sauvignon Blanc…I am so excited! I’ve been diligently doing market research (hint. hint) and tasting through some very good Sauvignon Blancs. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it…LOL…and I am happy to declare I am very excited to get this wine on the market!!!
The Passaggio Sauv Blanc grapes are from Lake County. This photo shows the beginning of the process. My good friends from the Luna Sei wine-group sourced and picked these grapes…here they are helping sort. The 2012 UNMARKED Sauvignon Blanc will be a great addition to the spring / summer Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. We will be racking, fining, and cold stabilizing in the next couple of weeks. We will be bottling the middle of March. Wait til you see the label for the Sauv Blanc – you’re gonna love it…. 😉
Stay tuned for what’s next…