Executive chef Fernando Mackenzie of Shadowridge Golf Club in Vista, Calif., uses smoked linguica sausage, pimiento peppers, sherry, and fresh clams for a snappy Spanish take on gumbo. In keeping with the theme, he serves it with saffron rice instead of white rice.
1 cup melted butter
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup fresh pimiento peppers, diced
3 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 cup tomato, diced
1 pound linguica sausage, sliced
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, medium dice
3 tablespoons blackened seasoning
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons gumbo filé
1 cup sherry
10 cups chicken broth or stock
1 pound fresh littleneck clams
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
saffron rice, cooked according to package directions
To make the roux, in a large stockpot combine butter and flour and cook over low-to-medium heat until dark brown while stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Set aside.
Place vegetable oil in a large, deep pan over medium heat and saute onions, celery, peppers, garlic, and tomato until soft. Add sausage, chicken, and spices. Continue to cook over medium heat 10 minutes until meat is cooked through. On high heat, deglaze the pan with sherry. Lower the heat and reduce liquid by half. Add chicken broth and bring up to a simmer.
Stir in the roux and continue to simmer for 1 hour. Add clams and simmer until the clamshells open. Sprinkle in parsley and green onions and serve the gumbo with a side of saffron rice.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Chef’s Tip: “To add a toasty depth to the roux — the most important component of gumbo — toast the flour in the oven on low for about 15 minutes before adding it to the gumbo.”