Cajun Chicken and Ham Gumbo

Good evening!

Last night I tried a new dish that I have never heard of before and surprisingly, it was a success! As I mentioned in the last post, the weather is getting colder and darker therefore I am craving more hearty, warming and stodgy meals. This Louisiana dish is similar to a casserole but slightly spicier and the sauce is a bit thicker but it was just what I needed to make me feel warm and satisfied after a long day at university.

Yet again I found this recipe on the ‘BBC GoodFood’ website. If you hadn’t realised already, this is slowly becoming one of my favourite sites for quick, easy and affordable recipes.

The recipe asked for:

  • Olive oil
  • Chicken breasts
  • An onion
  • Celery sticks
  • Bay leaves
  • Plain Flour
  • Spice mix: Paprika, Cumin, Chilli, Basil
  • Chicken Stock
  • Green peppers
  • Ham
  • Spring onions
  • Parsley

I made the economical decision of adapting the original recipe to suit what I had in my fridge and cupboards at the time therefore I didn’t have to go out and buy ingredients which I wouldn’t use again.

My adapted recipe:

  • Olive oil
  • Chicken thighs
  • An onion
  • Frozen peas and broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Plain Flour
  • Spice mix: Paprika, Garlic, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, Chilli, Salt and Pepper
  • Chicken Stock
  • Green Peppers
  • Gammon Joint (cut into small pieces)
  • Parsley

Instead of celery sticks, I used frozen peas and broccoli because my partner and I are not a fan of celery so we used what we already had in the freezer. We added carrots as they needed to be used and it added to the stodginess to the dish. In fact, these carrots were bought in a vegetable pack a few days before in Tesco’s reduced section. This is my favourite section in Tesco because you can find some really great food prices at ridiculous prices!

I also changed the chicken breast to thigh as this is what I already had in my fridge. Furthermore, I personally prefer a thigh over the breast because I found it more succulent than a breast fillet and it is cheaper which is definitely a bonus in my books!

All the other items I used were lying around in my cupboard therefore you could say that this gorgeous meal was knocked up by leftovers! Lastly, to mop up the juices at the end of the meal I added half a ciabatta baguette with a touch of butter so it isn’t so dry. These baguettes are always a holy grail item in my cupboards. I get them from Lidl in the bread section. The ciabatta bread is bought raw; it has to be baked in the oven for ten minutes before it is consumed but the result is freshly baked bread in ten minutes. It is delicious, versatile, cheap and the shelf life is over a month; what more could you want!

Not only did this recipe ask for basic ingredients  but I only had one hiccup during the process of creating the meal! I found the recipe easy to follow however, making the sauce (which is the most crucial part of the dish) I had to attempt twice! Firstly, I added too much plain flour to the left over oil from frying chicken and the onion therefore instead of getting a spicy, oily paste before adding the chicken stock I got a lump of burning flour. I have never really made my own sauce so I wasn’t sure what the sauce should look like or taste like, without realising my fatal error I added the chicken stock regardless and the result wasn’t good at all! I had a lumpy, spicy chicken mess!

After minutes of deliberating, I resolved the disaster by repeating this step again. This second attempt, I added less flour (only a few teaspoons) and I used a whisk to mix the spice, flour and stock together as well as remove the last little bits of flour. I am so glad that I had extra ingredients!

This meal was definitely worth the momentary struggle as I enjoyed a new delicious meal and I learnt how to make the basis of a homemade sauce! Therefore I can use my new found knowledge to tackle other saucy recipes!

If you would like the direct link to the BBC GoodFood website please email me.

I hope this inspires you to try your own wintery delight!






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