February is for Mardi Gras, Carnival parades, and snow?! Sami and Dwayne Owens have an authentic gumbo recipe that's been passed around the family for decades. This particular recipe was given to the Owens' family by Louis Kirschoff and has been a staple in their kitchen for over 18 years. In fact, Dwayne recently learned how to make his own andouille sausage.
Sami said, "Dwayne makes the sausage from pork butt that's been smoked. Then, grinds it into Paul Prudhomme's sausage recipe and puts it into casings. It's a process that takes approximately two days to complete. Yep, he's competing with Paul Prudhomme."
Competing with Paul Prudhomme is quite the lofty goal but Sami admits that Dwayne's andouille is tastier than the Cajun Kings. If you're unfamiliar with Prudhomme, he's an American celebrity chef known for his Cajun and creole cuisines and has been credited for popularizing it.
As the story goes...
Kirschoff lived in west end Paducah and was neighbors with Dr. Dennis Owens, obstetrician/gynecologist in Paducah, KY. It was Dr. Owens who shared the recipe with his brother Dwayne and dad Jim. The gumbo was so well liked by Jim Owens that he requested his sons learn how to make the recipe start to finish. Jim wanted his sons to slow down and perfect the roux, the most important ingredient in an authentic gumbo.
Kirschoff owned Kirschoff's bakery and deli in downtown Paducah. It was a family-owned business that opened its doors in 1873 by Louis' great-grandfather Franz Kirschoff. After a closure, Louis and his daughter reopened the bakery in 1997. The famous bakery, known for its delicious artisan breads, famous baked treats, and wonderful lunch combos, had always been a favorite in Paducah. The family sold the business in 2019. Louis Kirschoff died this past December from natural causes.
Sami and Dwayne have been a couple for 18 years. (together 10 and married eight). Both have a tremendous love of food and enjoy cooking for friends, family or just the two of them. For years, Sami had a catering business and still throws a party from time to time.
This weekend her niece Miranda Walker is having a Mardi Gras themed wedding and Sami and Dwayne are providing the food. Part of the festive menu includes the famous gumbo from Kirschoff.
Sami said, "I've had that recipe hanging in my garage for over 18 years." She said after Dr. Owens shared the recipe with Dwayne and their dad, every time the family headed down south to vacation on the gulf, they made the gumbo. With all the fresh seafood, who could resist.
Ingredients: Modified from "Cooking Across the South" Serves 12
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 stalks of celery, chopped
3 onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 pound sliced okra
3 Tbs. shortening
2 quarts chicken stock
2 quarts shrimp stock
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. hot sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup
1 large tomato, chopped
1 Tbs. salt
2 sliced of ham, chopped (Cured Tasso or smoked ham)
1 pound of andouille sausage or polish (Kielbasa)
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 chicken cooked and chopped (remove skin and bones)
1 pound cooked crabmeat
4 pounds boiled shrimp (get your shrimp stock)
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 pint oysters
Juice of one lemon
Directions: Heat oil in large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add flour slowly, constantly stirring with a whisk until the roux is a dark brown. 30 - 45 minutes.
Add celery, onion, green pepper, garlic, parsley, and cook on low for one hour stirring frequently (very important to cook this low).
Fry okra in 3 Tbs. shortening until brown. Add to gumbo and stir well over low heat for a few minutes.
In large stock pot add chicken stock and shrimp stock, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, ketchup, chopped tomato, salt, ham, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and cayenne. With a large spoon and roux mixture to stock. Simmer for three hours stirring occasionally.
About 30 minutes before serving time, add cooked chicken, crabmeat, and shrimp. Add oysters, lemon juice and brown sugar the last 10 minutes of simmering time.
Serve over hot cooked rice in a soup bowl.
It's all about the roux, or so I've been told. This evening, I was writing a feature article about one of my high school friends. No surprise. I've found my 'thing' to do during Covid that makes me happy. Kevin, on the other hand, needed an activity that filled the void. He decided to try his hand at cooking.
I believe he's found his 'thing'. Tonight, was Cajun gumbo night. Granted, Cajun cooking is a Louisiana specialty and not so much a home cook from Kentucky. From the seafood, to the spices, to the Holy Trinity of onion, celery and green pepper - which is the basis of almost every dish - it's a real treat and worth a try.
This evening's recipe required a trip to the grocery. We had quite a few items on hand with the exception of the Cajun seasoning, andouille sausage and fire roasted tomatoes.
Kevin did everything from start to finish. He found the recipe (yes, this is another's recipe - the link is at the bottom of the page). He did the shopping. Kevin even bought a new frying pan, though it doesn't look like he used it for this dish. He did the prep (including the deveining of the shrimp), the roux, the cooking, and the minute rice.
All I can say is kudos to the new master chef. It was incredibly delicious. And, yes...I told him it was full of flavor and everything was cooked perfectly. The flavors blended well and it really couldn't be any better for finding a random quick gumbo on the internet.
I do have a treat planned. An authentic Cajun gumbo recipe is coming your way with an extra added bonus from a famous local chef. I'm going to get the scoop and write the article with the recipe within the next week or so. My husband worked so hard at this recipe, I wanted to share. And it's great for a gumbo that takes a little over an hour. It's good stuff.
Click on the link for the recipe.
Easy Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
Homemade beef vegetable stew with a kick and a side of cornbread
When Emeril Lagasse used to say, "Let's kick it up a notch" prior to adding some heat and spice to his dishes, the Food Network audience would go wild. That's exactly what I'm doing with this oh so yummy vegetable beef stew recipe. Let's get started.
It's stew time! My entire family loves beef stew, even my little Poppy. In the cold winter months, nothing heats up your insides like a homemade beef stew. I'm sure many of you have a favorite recipe and this might be another one to add to your collection. I've spent quite a few years experimenting with different seasonings and this combination is one the whole family gobbles up.
It's not a difficult. In fact, the above picture is a joint effort between my husband and I over the weekend. He did the shopping and got the majority of the recipe in the pot and I added the seasonings and did the cleanup. From my perspective, that's the way to get it done. I hope you enjoy!!
2 lbs. chuck roast (fat trimmed and cut in chunks)
Large can whole tomatoes
Large can crushed tomatoes
Box of vegetable broth
1/2 cup ketchup
Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Six carrots (sliced)
Four stalks of celery (sliced)
Medium onion (chopped)
Can green beans (drain and rinsed)
Bag of frozen sweet corn
Large baking potato (peeled and chopped)
2 Tbs. dried oregano
2Tbs. dried basil
Tbs. garlic powder
2 bay leaves
1/2 Tbs. red pepper flakes
flour for beef
2 Tbs. olive oil
Directions: After chopping the chuck roast into cubes, salt/pepper and dredge in flour. Shake loose powder and place in heated skillet with a Tbs. of olive oil. Brown until cooked (approximately 15 minutes on medium heat).
Sauté' chopped carrots, celery, and onion in a Tbs. of olive oil (approximately 5 or 6 minutes). salt/pepper
In large stock pot, combine the beef, sautéed vegetables, add the can of tomatoes (squeeze the whole tomatoes into the pot), can of crushed tomatoes, box of vegetable broth, chopped potatoes, corn, green beans, and seasonings. Cook on medium to medium high heat for approximately an hour. Check your seasonings by giving it a taste test and adjust. If it needs more sweet, add ketchup. If it needs more kick, add more Worcestershire sauce.
It's a great dinner idea when its cold outside. Buy your favorite corn meal mix to make the cornbread. My dad gave me a great tip...instead of using only one egg like the recipe calls for, use two.