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1 1/3 pounds of chicken thigh meat, cut into bite-sized cubes (if you're starting with bone-in thighs get 2 pounds)
12 ounces of andouille sausage, sliced into thin rounds
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 bell pepper (color of your choice), seeded and diced
3 stalks of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cups of long-grain white rice
4-5 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 (14-ounce) can of crushed or chopped tomatoes
Either the quick stock in the instructions below, or 3 cups of chicken stock
1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups of chopped okra (fresh or frozen are both fine)
1 pound of raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Chopped scallions and parsley for garnish
Quick stock: in a large sauce pot or skillet add a bit of olive oil over medium high heat, then add the chicken skin and any blobs of fat and cook until some fat has rendered (3-4 minutes). Add the bones and any other chicken scraps plus a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over (about 8-10 minutes), then add any vegetable trimmings (except for the pepper seeds and onion roots which are bitter), raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring frequently, until you form a nice brown layer on the bottom of the pan, then add the shrimp shells and cook for a couple minutes, just until fragrant. Gradually add 4 cups of water and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom, then bring to a low boil and drop to a simmer.
Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over medium heat. Mix the chicken and andouille with a few good splashes olive oil, half the Blue Grass spice, and a few pinches of salt. Fry in batches until browned, removing the cooked pieces to a large bowl.
In the same pot sauté the peppers, onion, and celery until fragrant and tender (about 8 minutes). Add the rice and remaining Blue Grass spice and cook for 2-3 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook just until its sharp odor subsides (about 1 minute).
Add the tomatoes and stock (either chicken stock or 3 strained cups of the quick stock above) and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with Worcestershire sauce until it's as you like it, then add the chicken and sausage and any juices and give it all a good stir.
If you prefer softer okra pieces, add them now, if you like them with a bit more chew, wait. If you don't like okra, feel free to omit, just add a couple tablespoons of water or stock to make up for the moisture loss. Bring the pot to a low boil, then drop to a strong simmer and cover. After 15 minutes of cooking give everything a good stir (you can add the okra now if you prefer it crunchier).
Cook, covered, for another 10-15 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the shrimp, then continue cooking with the lid off, stirring often, just until they are cooked through (about 5 minutes).
Serve in bowls or from the pot and garnish with fresh parsley and scallions. If you enjoy bright and smoky flavors it's great with a dash or two of Primonition as well, or your favorite hot sauce.
• Flavor boosts: Instead of salt, use 1 tablespoon of shio koji to season the chicken and andouille before frying, you will also get a bit more browning. Try adding 1 tablespoon of Sofrico to the vegetables.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue.
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