1 cup coarsely diced onions
3/4 cup coarsely diced celery
1/2 cup coarsely diced bell pepper
2 Tbsp. finely minced garlic
4 Tbsp. vegetable or Canola oil
1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes with can juices
6 strips thick-sliced bacon
4 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
4-6 cups diced roasted chicken
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 cup white wine
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. Kosher or sea salt
2 tsp. Frank Davis Bronzing mix
1 tsp, (heaping) Frank Davis Poultry Seasoning
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 cups pre-cooked orzo pasta
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
In a high-sided fry pan or oval roaster, saute the onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in the cooking oil over a medium-high fire until the vegetables soften and clear.
Then, without reducing the heat, stir in the canned tomatoes and cook them into the mixture until thoroughly blended.
Hint: To get the tomatoes to impart a light and delicate flavor, I suggest you chop them into small pieces as they cook.
Next, gently fry down the bacon until the strips turn crunchy and crispy and most of the drippings have been rendered out.
Then a fistful at a time, gradually add in the sliced mushrooms and pan-fry them until they become semi-dried yet golden brown around the edges.
When they're all done, gradually fold the roasted chicken into the 'shrooms and combine everything until fully incorporated.
All that's left at this point is to gradually sprinkle the flour into the pan and whisk it uniformly into the pan ingredients until a pasty base forms.
At this stage, stir in the white wine, drop in the bay leaves, and drizzle on the red pepper flakes, the kosher salt, the bronzing mix, and the poultry seasoning.
All that's left to do now is to add the broth and blend everything together. Then reduce the flame to low, cover the pot tightly, and simmer the base for about 20 minutes to get the ingredients to marry.
Then when the flavors have combined, toss in the green onions and the parsley and stir the entire pot once again for continuity.
Now almost immediately, fold in the orzo pasta just keep in mind that the pasta will be al dente and ready to eat in just a matter of minutes. . .so be careful that you don't overcook it (about five minutes should be all it takes!)
Finally, just before you plan to serve your gumbo, increase the heat once again to high and briskly whisk in the cornstarch a little at a time (you don't want it to lump!)
When the 'gumbo stock' thickens slightly and glazes the pasta as well as the roasted chicken and the mushrooms, the recipe is right!
All that's left at this stage is to sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese and fold everything together quickly once more. (You should do this part quickly since the Parmesan will begin to melt and become stringy the minute it hits the hot stock!)
This gumbo is best when it is ladled out into deep soup bowls and served with either sesame-studded bread sticks or hot buttered French bread right from the oven. Of course, nothing makes it more completely N'Awlins than to serve it with a saucer of spicy stewed okra and tomatoes on the side!
1. Don't over-burden the gumbo by overcooking it! The moment a richness develops, it's ready to be slow simmered only! Overcooking makes the gumbo ingredients rubbery.
2. The worst thing you can do to this dish is to thicken the stock to resemble a heavy sauce (I mean, after all it's NOT a stew!). The broth should barely have body and only enough of it to coat the chicken and the mushrooms. Let's put it this way--if you're satisfied that what you end up with is a 'chunky, slightly thickened soup,' you're right on!
3. To prepare the roasted chicken, take a 2-1/2 to 3 pound fryer, wash it thoroughly inside and out, and pat it dry with a couple of absorbent paper towels. Then season it lightly with only salt and pepper (or a little of my sprinkling spice) and roast it for about an hour in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. (Or...and I didn't tell you this...you can cheat at this part by buying one of those pre-roasted chickens you now find at all the big supermarkets and using it instead of roasting your own!).
4. Either way, I also encourage you to pick up a dozen or so 'grinder rolls' when you pick up your ingredients. Then before you tear apart the roasted chicken to make enough diced meat for your gumbo, I suggest you thinly carve the chicken breast, toast the grinders, slice up a batch of lettuce and tomatoes, butter the hot grinders and slather them with a coat of mayo, and make some 'roast chicken sandwich' lagniappe. Because all you actually need to make gumbo is the 'pickins' off the chicken carcass anyway! Enjoy!
5. Orzo pasta is a special pasta cut that closely resembles large grains of rice. It is outstanding in soups and stews and can be found in the spaghetti aisle of most major supermarkets.
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