When Abby Schiff , the 14 year old blogger behind Yes To Yummy emailed me about two months ago, I was forced to think back to what I was doing at 14.
Ugh. Let’s not talk about it. I was neither cool nor healthy. And what was I wearing?
Abby, however, is pretty awesome. Last year, her doctor told her that she needed to get her health in check, so she took the initiative and improved her diet by first cutting out wheat and dairy. Not surprisingly, she saw great results, and decided to start cooking dinner every night for her family. (Ask my mom how often I would empty the dishwasher without an attitude, never mind cook dinner for everyone) She cooks mostly paleo, and like me, Abby is admittedly obsessed with creating food that fits into specific dietary restrictions without feeling or tasting restrictive. She hopes to make it a career one day. Based on what she’s been creating so far, she’s going to make one serious chef! Here is her recipe for Yumbo Gumbo Soup, which looks delicious, and a perfect way to bring a little extra heat to your summer.
Yumbo Gumbo Soup
Chicken and sausage are great on their own. But when you put them together…magic happens. The great thing about one-pot dishes is all of the flavor you develop from each of the ingredients. By cooking the meat before the vegetables, then adding it back to the pot, you’re allowing maximum potential for those released flavors and fats to be soaked up. Mmm. This dish isn’t quite as thick as a gumbo, but it’s by no means a thin soup. For the summertime, I personally prefer to have it on the lighter side.
First thing’s first: make your creole seasoning. You can buy one, of course, but I prefer to make my own spice blends so I can adjust them to my personal tastes. It only takes five minutes–it’s your call. In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons each of onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and dried basil, 1 teaspoon each of thyme, black pepper, and white pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne, and 4 teaspoons of paprika. Feel free to increase or decrease the levels of paprika and cayenne, depending on how spicy you want it. Pour two heaping tablespoons of the spice mixture into a large ziploc bag, and add 1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken chopped into bite-sized pieces. You can use thighs or breasts: I used the thighs simply because they’re juicier and have more flavor.
Zip the bag shut and vigorously shake it to distribute the spices. You have permission to let all of your anger out on these chicken pieces. The more forceful you are, the better. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of duck fat or coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. When shimmering, add the chicken, and stir occasionally until browned, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove it and some of its juices from the pot and transfer it to a small bowl.
Turn the heat down slightly and add 1/2 pound of roughly chopped andouille sausage to the pot. Give it a good stir every few minutes or so, and cook until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage but not its rendered fats and set aside. To the remaining grease in the pan, add 1/2 cup of arrowroot powder and an additional 1/4 cup of duck fat or coconut oil. With a wooden spoon, stir constantly until thickened and darkening in color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add in 2 chopped onions, 1 large chopped green bell pepper, and 4-5 chopped stalks of celery. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt just to release some of the water. Saute until soft and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.
To the veggies, add 5 minced cloves of garlic and 3 small bay leaves. Stir for a minute or so, then gently pour in 4 cups of chicken stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low and add the chicken back in. Cover with a lid and let bubble away for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so.
About 5 minutes before you want to eat, add the sausage back into the pot with 1/4 cup of sliced green onions. Increase the heat a bit and let cook until the onions are slightly wilted. Ladle the gumbo soup into bowls and serve over cauliflower rice. Add a drop of hot sauce if you like it SUPER spicy.
Want to see more of Abby’s delicious creations? Head over to Yes To Yummy!