Friday, August 17, 2012

Let Dinner Make Itself: Easy Baked Gumbo

The last few weeks I've been thinking about how I cook. And I've been finding ways to make dinner time easier, less stressful and no problem at all. HA! At least with the food.

Last night's supper was particularly easy and tasty. Both kids had two servings!

Since growing up we called this Auntie Sherry gumbo. And for good reason, my Aunt Sherry made it for our large brood whenever we would come to visit. This gumbo is warm and filling, inexpensive, super tasty and not hard at all to make. You find what you have in your kitchen and throw it in the pot.

My mom makes her's on the stove top, my sister in the crock pot, I do ours in our dutch oven on low heat in the oven for half a day. It's versatile and forgiving! We've traded the ham for ground pork sausage, ground beef, polish sausage sliced into rounds or with bacon.

You can trade the brown rice for white rice or for flavored rice (one Spanish and one something veggie or chicken based).

This is how I made mine at lunchtime and when we walked in the door, it was ready to eat at 4:30! We let it sit on the back of the stove for a bit before dinner, our cast iron dutch oven stays hot for a long time!
Aunt Sherry Gumbo
2 cloves of grated garlic
1 small onion diced
2 carrots diced
1 stalk celery diced
1 small green pepper diced
2 small cans (or one large can) of tomato sauce
1 quart of chicken stock
1 pint of water
1 3/4 cup of soaked/sprouted brown rice (you can also use uncooked)
1/2 cup of diced ham
2 whole, frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 slices of bacon
1 bay leaf
salt (generously)
pepper and garlic powder to taste
finely chopped chives to taste

Dice uncooked bacon. In a dutch oven over the stove top, brown bacon until fat is translucent. Remove from heat. Add all remaining ingredients, in no particular order. Stir. Bake with the lid on at 250 degrees for 4-5 hours. Start checking for the rice to be done and the chicken to be done at 3 hours. When chicken is cooked through and rice is tender, take chicken breasts out, dice in to bite size pieces. Return them to the pot. And serve.

Serves 4-5

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