Comfort Food and Easy Entertaining

As a private chef, caterer and cooking instructor I am often asked "What do you enjoy cooking when you're at home on a weeknight or entertaining guests at your table?" I started this blog to answer that question. Here I will share with all of you the recipes that I find delicious and comforting. Many of the recipes are my own versions of classic dishes, some are contemporary twists on old ideas, and some are discoveries I made while perusing my grandmother’s vast collection of cookbooks dating back to the early 1900’s. Please enjoy these videos. I have also included links to some of the published articles I have written recently. Please feel free to comment here or email me directly with any questions, comments or general thoughts. My email address and information on my catering, private chef and private cooking classes can be found on my website:

Duck and Sausage Gumbo

Duck and Sausage Gumbo

Makes approx. 8 quarts

5 onions (approx. 8-10 cups), medium dice
3 green bell peppers (approx. 2 cups), medium dice
7 stalks celery (approx. 2 cups), medium dice
10-12 cloves garlic (approx. 1/4 cup), minced
5-6 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups green onions, finely minced
1 lb okra, sliced
3 1/2 - 4 lb Andouille sausage (or substitute a good quality smoked pork sausage), cubed
2 cooked duck, meat shredded from bone
1/2 cup Bacon fat
1/2 cup butter (or 1 full cup butter if not using bacon fat)
1 1/2 cups flour
6-8 cups of duck stock (or substitute chicken stock)
3 (14 oz) cans, diced tomatoes
3 1/2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
20 dashes of Tabasco
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
3-4 Tbsp gumbo File

In a large pot, add a few tablespoons of canola oil and sauté okra until it looses its stringiness.  Remove okra from pot and wipe pot clean.

In same pot, heat a few tablespoons of canola oil over high heat and and sauté sausage along with 1 1/2 Tbsp cayenne pepper until well browned.  Remove sausage from pot leaving any rendered fat.

Add bacon fat and butter to hot pot and allow to melt.  Stirring up any browned bits remaining from sausage.  Add flour and reduce heat to medium.  Stir flour into fat.  Continue to stir constantly until roux becomes dark brown.  (This will take about 20-30 minutes)  Add onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves and 2 tsp salt to pot and sauté over high heat about 10 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping up all browned bits from bottom of pot.

Add okra, green onions and tomatoes to pot along with 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper and 2 tsp black pepper and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.  At this point add stock (if using) and stir well.  Leave pot uncovered and reduce heat to medium.  Allow to simmer for about 1 hour.

Add 1 Tbsp cayenne, worcestershire sauce and Tabasco along with duck meat.  Simmer about 1 hour, covered.  Finally, sprinkle top with file powder and cover pot and allow to simmer about 30 minutes.  After gumbo has simmered stir well and it is ready to serve.

Serve over white rice.

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