Spice up the football party with a tasty gumbo

Posted at 3:10 PM, Sep 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-04 15:32:36-04

It doesn’t matter if fans tailgate in a parking lot or park themselves on a comfy couch at home. Food plus football equals a match made in heaven.

The pair may make a great couple, but any like long-term relationship, it needs to break away from the boring and ordinary. Wings, sandwiches, chips and dip are tasty, but they can feel like the “same ‘ol, same ‘ol” season after season.

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This season, with just a little planning and TLC in the kitchen, anyone can spice up football food for at home or away parties.

On the “Football Fun and Food” episode of her new Food Network series Valerie’s Home Cooking, Valerie Bertinelli shares a gumbo recipe sure to score a touchdown with the fans.

Very Best Gumbo
Adapted from "One Dish at a Time: Delicious Recipes and Stories from My Italian-American Childhood and Beyond" by Valerie Bertinelli © Rodale 2012. Provided courtesy of Valerie Bertinelli. All rights reserved.

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped, reserving 1/2 cup sliced for garnish
  • 8 to 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 quarts store-bought chicken stock
  • Two 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 12 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 scant tablespoon cayenne, or more to taste (this much makes it medium spicy)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • One 10-ounce box frozen sliced okra, thawed
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 15 cups cooked white rice, such as Minute Rice, for serving
  • Hot sauce, such as Crystal, for serving
  • Filé powder, for serving, optional

Warm 1 cup oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven until hot. Add the flour to the pot all at once, whisking until the consistency is uniform. Cook the roux, whisking occasionally, until it is the color of a tarnished penny, about 20 minutes. Do not let it darken any further. Carefully add the celery, bell peppers, onion, chopped scallions and garlic to the pot, working away from you as the hot roux may spatter. Stir with a wooden spoon until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add enough stock to just cover the vegetables, about 1 quart, and stir to combine. The roux may separate. Add the tomatoes with their juices, andouille and smoked sausages, salt, black pepper, cayenne, bay leaves and the remaining stock, about 1 more quart. Partially cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the okra and cook, stirring, until the gel dries out slightly, about 3 minutes. Add to the Dutch oven.

Taste the gumbo for seasoning and adjust as desired. Add the chicken, cook until warmed through and serve, or simmer up to 2 hours more to concentrate the flavors, adding the chicken 20 minutes before serving.

Sprinkle with the reserved sliced scallions and serve over rice. Serve with hot sauce and file powder if using.

Yield: 12 to 15 servings
Active Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

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