Post by Phil Heppding
Story and photos by Robert Medina
Looking for A Super Bowl recipe that is more than just finger food? The team at 30afoodandwine.com asked local Chef Robert Medina of Fire It Up Foods to share with us one of his most popular recipes for the big day. Enjoy!!
For game day chow, this is my most requested dish. It is also something you can do a day – or even two days – ahead of time. The longer those flavors linger together the more they become buddies and taste even better than they would when they were strangers.
For the Stock:
1 large chicken (reserve bones)
1 large duck (reserve bones)
4 quarts of water
1 small onion (quartered)
1 stalk of celery
2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
4 cloves of garlic
For the Gumbo:
2 pounds of andouille sausage (diced)
4 large onions (finely chopped)
1 cup of green bell pepper (finely chopped)
5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
½ cup of celery (finely chopped)
½ cup of vegetable oil
½ cup of flour
4 quarts of stock (see above)
2 tablespoons of Firehouse Flashover Seasoning (or your favorite Creole seasoning)
1 cup of green onion tops (finely chopped)
The first thing you need to do is to put the chicken and the duck on an indirect smoker. Using a smoker with the firebox on the side, you can slow smoke them half of the day. I usually will leave them on for about three hours. Use a meat thermometer and when the center of a breast is about 180 degrees, take them off the smoker. My personal choice of wood to smoke with this is pecan but if you can’t find it, hickory or oak will do nicely. Once the birds are fully cooked, remove them from the smoker and allow them to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from both birds. While you are doing this, break the meat up into bite sized pieces. Place all of the meat in a bowl and cover for later use.
Now take all of the bones, the smoked skins and put them in a stockpot along with the other ingredients listed for the stock. Bring this to a simmer. Cook covered for two hours and then allow the stock to cool. Strain into a container you can cover and let it sit to settle. There should be some sediment at the bottom afterwards. You only want to keep the pure stock and not the dregs. Put that stock into a container and let it come to room temperature. There will be a lot of fat that floats to the top. Skim off as much as you can. I like to use a little of it when making the roux – gives it a little extra smoky duck flavor.
Now the fun begins. In a large Dutch oven, pour in the oil and the flour and make a dark roux. It should be as dark as you can get it without burning it. If you reach the color of dark chocolate, congrats, you made it. Add the onion, bell pepper the celery and mix with the roux. Wilt down the veggies until the onions are translucent. Next, add the garlic and a tablespoon of Firehouse Flashover Seasoning. Cook for another minute or two. Now add the stock a little at a time until it is all blended well. Bring it up to a simmer and then cook covered on a low fire for ninety minutes. Now uncover and add the other tablespoon of FOS. Cook another ninety minutes uncovered. Next, add all of the meats including the andouille. Cook for another hour then add the green onion tops. Mix them in well and remove from the pot from the fire. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary. Let the pot sit covered for at least an hour. Serve over cooked white rice.
Note: As unusual as it might sound, we sometimes use potato salad instead of rice with gumbo. When I tell people who are from distant places – let’s say Texas for instance – that we do this in Louisiana, they usually have this really odd look on their faces. That is until they taste it. Once you’ve had it that way, you’ll never go back to rice.
It is difficult to tell how many this will serve. It depends upon the serving size of your bowl. Let’s just say that it will serve approximately 25 to 30 normal people or 15 firefighters.
Robert Medina is a retired New Orleans Firefighter, author of “If You Can’t Stand the Heat…A New Orleans Firefighter’s Cookbook” and a resident of South Walton. In addition to offering private cooking demonstrations, he created and distributes New Orleans Firehouse Flashover Creole Seasoning and Backdraft BBQ & Butt Rub.