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    Gumbo Ya Ya

    Source of Recipe

    From "The Glory of Southern Cooking" by James Villas

    Recipe Introduction

    "In the early 1970s, I was at Commander's Palace in New Orleans the day that head chef Paul Prudhomme came up with this chicken-and-sausage gumbo and owner Ella Brennan was searching for a catchy name for it. 'We wanted to offer a non-seafood gumbo in the restaurant,' Ella recalls today, 'and when Paul created this one, I happened to be reading a political novel with Ya Ya in the title, and said to myself, why not?' The rest is history, for today gumbo ya ya (like blackened redfish) has been imitated, modified, and transformed into a Southern classic in homes and restaurants throughout the country. As for the actual origin and meaning of the term 'ya ya,' neither Ella nor I had the remotest idea till a friend informed me that 'ya' means 'rice' in one African dialect. The version here is the original recipe I jotted down that day in New Orleans. Do be very careful not to burn the roux; to attain the color of milk chocolate, the oil, and flour should take about 4 minutes of constant whisking, through the timing can vary."

    List of Ingredients

    ◦ One 2- to 2½-pound chicken
    ◦ ½ cup vegetable oil
    ◦ ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
    ◦ 2 medium onions, chopped
    ◦ ½ medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    ◦ 1 clove garlic, minced
    ◦ ½ pound smoked sausage (like kielbasa), thinly sliced
    ◦ ¼ pound baked or boiled ham, cubed
    ◦ 2 bay leaves
    ◦ ½ teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
    ◦ ½ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
    ◦ 1 teaspoon salt
    ◦ Cayenne pepper to taste
    ◦ 2 tablespoons filé powder
    ◦ 3 cups boiled white rice


    Disjoint the chicken and place in a large pot or kettle with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer till the chicken is tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

    Remove the chicken and, when cool enough to handle, skin, bone, and shred the meat. Strain the cooking broth into another large pot and reserve.

    In a large, heavy pot or casserole, heat the oil till very hot. Add the flour gradually, stirring constantly with a whisk, and cook the roux over moderate heat, still whisking constantly, till it is the color of milk chocolate, about 4 minutes, taking special care not to burn the roux.

    Add the onions, green pepper, garlic, sausage, and ham, mix thoroughly, and continue cooking, stirring, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of the reserved broth, the shredded chicken, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, salt, and cayenne pepper, and stir thoroughly. Add 2 more cups of the broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer 1 hour. Remove pot from the heat, add the filé powder, stir, and let stand 10 minutes.

    Distribute equal amounts of the rice in the bottom of six soup bowls or plates and ladle gumbo over the top. Serve piping hot.

    Makes 6 servings




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