Dig in to Mardi Gras with paczkis, pancakes and gumbo
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen's Janine Washle shares Fat Tuesday recipes and a day dedicated to indulgence.
Universally celebrated Fat Tuesday goes by different names, Mardi Gras, Carnaval, and Fasching are a few, yet they all mean the same thing; the day before Lent when all the fat, flour, and sugar need to be used up so a period of fasting and lean eating can start with no temptations. Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen's Janine Washle says Fat Tuesday is literally a day devoted to eating, and she's showing us how she celebrates.
Two of the most popular ways to use up fat, sugar, and flour are pancakes and doughnuts. Great Britain seems to have the most fun with pancakes hosting pancake flipping races in the streets. Polish paczki (poonch-ki) are eggy, yeast-raised doughnuts. A single one is called a paczek (poonch-ek). Devotees celebrate with paczki parades and festivals. German doughnuts, known by several names, Berlins, Bismarcks, or Fastnachts, are originally unfilled, yeast raised, deep fried then sprinkled with powdered sugar. Later, these caloric delights were filled with jelly being the forbearer of jelly doughnuts everywhere. Pennsylvania Dutch bakers also make fastnachts, but they are quite different from the German doughnut. They are deep fried creations most often looking more like a cruller that are molasses dipped and powdered sugared.
Mardi Gras is the world's largest Fat Tuesday celebration held in New Orleans. Beignets, the little French doughnut, are consumed by the hundreds probably thousands. Really, all of the traditional Creole/Cajun favorites are enjoyed immensely like gumbo, jambalaya, bananas foster, and pralines. Even though Fat Tuesday falls during the week, it is easy to put together a celebratory meal featuring a tasty, easy to assemble gumbo.
Upon first glance gumbo appears to be just an ordinary stew. It's the roux that elevates the stew to gumbo status. Roux made with oil is the beginning of Cajun gumbo; whereas, butter-based roux showing it's French roots, is the basis of Creole gumbo. Creole gumbo is tomato based and thinner than Cajun gumbo; therefore, making it the perfect candidate for a weeknight dinner. Butter roux comes together very quickly and does not get as dark as an oil-based roux. Roux adds flavor and body to the broth. Situated on the banks of the Mississippi, Creole cuisine and Cajun too, is seafood heavy. That is fine if you can afford it and if you have seafood lovers in the family. Don't hesitate to fix a Cajun dish that has seafood in the ingredients list. Simply substitute chicken, turkey, even lean pork. The taste will change a little and the cooking time will lengthen, but you will be schooled on the mystique that is gumbo.
Whether you eat your fat, sugar, and flour in the form of doughnuts, pancakes or other deep fried sweet, or you prefer a heartier approach, a day devoted to eating, Fat Tuesday, is a day most of us can stick a fork into. Literally.
(Creole-style gumbo is thinner like soup and incorporates a butter roux)
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 TB bacon fat, optional
¼ cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
½ cup chopped green pepper
¾ cup chopped celery
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced fresh tomato
2 quarts (8 cups) water
1 TB seasoned salt (Creole seasoning, or Lawry's)
2 bay leaves
2 cups frozen sliced okra, optional (if this is what is keeping you from trying okra, omit it)
1 # chicken breasts, chopped
To make the roux, melt the butter and bacon fat, if using, in a large sauté pan set over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Turn heat to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes slowly whisking and moving the flour around. Roux is ready when it is a golden brown color. Remove from heat and set aside. It should not smell burnt and bitter. The proper smell is like toasted nuts. Of course, if using bacon fat, it will have a bacon-y aroma too. If the roux burns, start over. Nothing good ever came from a bad beginning in the kitchen.
To start the gumbo, melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, pepper, and celery. This is the Cajun trinity. Saute until the onion is translucent, 10 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato, okra if using, and continue to cook for an additional 3 minutes. Whisk (not a spoon) in the roux. You have to whisk or it will clump up. Gradually whisk in the water. Add seasoned salt, bay leaves, and okra, if using. Bring to a boil then add chopped raw chicken. Adjust heat to a simmer. Cook 30-35 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve hot over rice.
The prep time can be drastically reduced if 4 cooked (broaster) chicken breasts are used in place of the raw chicken. Reduce cooking time to 15 minutes to thoroughly heat chicken and allow flavors to combine.
Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen also has a special Mardi Gras & Fat Tuesday Recipe Booklet available by email. To ask for a complimentary copy, just email Janine Washle at email@example.com
To find Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen on Facebook: click here. https://www.facebook.com/#!/JanineatCloverFields
CloverFields Farm & Kitchen
Hardin Springs Area
Big Clifty, KY 42712
Janine Washle and her family live at the Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen in Big Clifty, Kentucky in Hardin County. CloverFields Farm & Kitchen, part of a century old farmstead, is our home and business. The McGuffin house, the original farmhouse, is a registered state landmark. CloverFields Farm has a prosperous farming history. They are continuing this rural story in their own unique way by the addition of CloverFields Kitchen a place to explore the past through food and merge it with our modern lifestyles.
CloverFields Farm is dedicated to the preservation of southern, especially Kentucky, food traditions. The kitchen is commercially-outfitted compliant with Health Department standards. In this kitchen I develop new recipes based on original ideas, inspirations from my culinary research, and most often according to what is in season.
On the farm, they make many gifts and specialty items. She is currently working on her first cookbook, but she also has a long resume developing recipes for several companies. She has also won several contests and cook-offs with her original recipes.
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Creole Chicken Gumbo