This Chicken and Sausage Marmalade Is Incredible to Freeze

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Prix Fixed, the new Lifehacker menu planning tips column .

The second letter of our letter came from a well-prepared host looking to add frozen food to her spontaneous dinner party repertoire:

Hi Claire,

Summer is a social time here. My seat is usually where our group lands after a walk. There are also unexpected (but welcome) meetings at least once a month. Because of this, I often host impromptu dinners.

I always keep freezer food on hand. These are usually lasagna, bolognese sauce, or meatballs. It’s well received, but it’s getting boring. I would like to have a more interesting ace in my pocket.

Ideally, this would be food cooked in advance in the freezer, or, if cooked fresh, something that sticks together and cleans quickly. It is often possible, but not always, to invite a friend to cut or cook. I would rate my culinary skills in the top five.

I have an oven, 4-burner stove, microwave, multicooker and grill. I would rather not light coals for this while playing. Freezer galore.

A platter of fresh herbs (at least cilantro, garlic, sage, thyme, parsley), eggs, some crackers and common fridge / pantry items are always on hand. I’m allergic to shellfish so this is not an option. I am open to most other proteins. When it comes to budget, I mean reasonable, but not necessarily cheap – perhaps somewhere between hot dogs and steak.

Thank you. I’m very happy to hear what you come up with.

I love hosting and I loved being prepared, so I really love this email. It sounds like you already know a lot about the Italian subgenre of freezer-friendly food, but did you know that many Cajun and Creole dishes also freeze just fine? My favorite is gumbo.

There are many different ways to make gumbo and three different ways to thicken it. Okra (hence the name gumbo), fillet powder and sauce all add body and flavor to the dish, but in my mom’s simple (no shellfish) gumbo with chicken and sausage, only two are used – za and fillet. My mom’s people, the Cajuns, most likely descended from Acadians who came from the French part of Canada, so our gumbo lacks tomatoes and we rely heavily on ru. (Actually, we couldn’t find filé when we first moved from Mississippi to Los Angeles, so our gumbo was just a fuel for most of my childhood. It was still very good.)

Gumbo is traditionally simmered for several hours, but I often cheat by removing all the meat from pre-cooked grilled chicken and then taking the carcass and boiling it in store-bought chicken broth for an intensely flavorful and gelatinous broth. stock hybrid. You can do this the day before to speed up the work and shorten the boil time at the end. Haters will say that this is a scam and unconventional, but I already talked about it .

Gumbo should be served with rice, although some do with potato salad, so you have three options. You can cook a fresh batch of rice by defrosting the gumbo, you can cook and freeze a whole pack of cooked rice , or you can buy these very convenient overpriced frozen rice bags from Trader Joe’s (there are approximately six servings of rice in each box.) There are no wrong answers here, so take the rice route that is most convenient for you.

Purchases

Before you can cook, you must shop. Here’s what you need:

  • 1 pound Anduy sausage
  • 1 pre-cooked grilled chicken
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 bell peppers (green is traditional, but I prefer red and yellow.)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • Cajun seasoning, preferably Tony Chachera or something with the same amount of salt.
  • Rice (or Trader Joe’s Frozen Jasmine Rice)
  • At least 6 cups of chicken stock
  • Fillet powder

You will also need a few common pantry paper clips:

  • Flour (at least 3/4 cup)
  • Vegetable oil (the same amount)
  • Granular garlic
  • Granulated onions
  • Freezer-safe plastic bags with zippers

Plan

This gumbo doesn’t have many ingredients, so its flavor depends on two main ingredients: broth and dressing. You can use regular store stock and you should be fine, but as I mentioned earlier, I like to use leftover grilled chicken carcasses to make it meaty (chicken?) And give it more body and better flavor (and turn it into the stock, in fact). For this broth or broth you will need:

  • 1 grilled chicken
  • 6 glasses of store stock

Take a chicken carcass and remove all the meat from its skeleton. Preserve all skin, bones and cartilage. Transfer the meat to a container or Ziploc bag, close it and refrigerate until ready.

Put the carcass (including the skin and cartilage) in a large saucepan, pour over the broth and bring everything to a boil. Let it brew for two to three hours until the broth darkens. (If you have an Instant Pot, you can drop everything in there and cook under high pressure for 45 minutes.) Strain the broth / broth, let it cool to room temperature and refrigerate until ready to eat. This. I usually cook the broth / broth the night before I plan to cook the gumbo, otherwise it is too long a process. This is also a good time to cook the rice and freeze it if you are not using Little Merchant Joe’s pouches.

You are now ready to make gumbo. To do this, you need:

  • 1 lb. Andui sausage, sliced ​​into 1/4 inch thick coins
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped 1/4 inch
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4 inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, preferably Tony Chachera
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 6 glasses of broth
  • Reserved Grilled Chicken
  • 1 tablespoon fillet powder
  • Diced green onions (for garnish)

First, prepare your mise-en-scene . Slice and dice whatever needs to be cut and sliced, and measure out the amount of seasoning. If the gumbo were a chemical reaction, then preparing the dressing would be the stage that determines the speed – once this is done, everything will move very quickly, so it is better to get everything ready and ready for work. (Also: If you’re concerned about the lack of salt on the ingredient list, don’t worry; Tony Chacher has plenty of it .)

When done, add the andui to a large stockpot or Dutch oven and cook over medium to high heat until the coins are browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. Remove the cookware from the hotplate and let cool for a few minutes. This time, choose a playlist and make sure everything you need for the next 40 minutes is within reach, because ru is one of those things that really needs to be stirred up all the time. (My ru was made after exactly one full listen to The Bee Gees’ Idea , which is pretty good music that turns the blush on.)

Either way, add the butter and flour to a saucepan or Dutch oven, set the heat to just below medium, and stir constantly (with a whisk or wooden spatula) until the mixture is the color of chocolate milk. Don’t be discouraged if it seems like this will never happen. Your sauce will likely remain somewhat sandy blond for a while, then take on a nice toffee hue before finally reaching the chocolate-milky color we’re looking for. Don’t stop at the chocolatey milky color – that’s what gives gumbo its characteristic base, and it just won’t taste good if you use a lighter sauce for dressing.

Oh, and please be very careful when stirring the dressing and adding vegetables to it. Basically, you fry the flour in hot oil, creating a scalding paste that will stick to your skin and burn all the shit. I got burnt with roux exactly once and this blister taught me a valuable lesson (don’t do gumbo if you are chemically altered in any way).

Now that your sauce is ready, season the vegetables with tony, granulated garlic, and granulated onions. Add them to the sauce, increase the heat to medium and let cook, stirring frequently, until tender and tender. (Don’t worry about burning the dressing, the vegetables will release enough moisture to prevent this from happening.)

Add four cups of broth, bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least half an hour, but ideally an hour. If it gets too thick, add a little more broth. Add the sausage and chicken and let it simmer until the proteins are warm. Try and season some more Tony if it’s not salty enough. Remove from heat and add fillet powder.

Your gumbo is ready. Enjoy a cup to reward yourself for all that stirring, then let it cool completely before freezing.

When it’s cool, you’ll want to split it between two gallon freezer bags. Lay the bags on their side, then slowly push the elastic towards the opening of the bag to push out all the air and create an even layer. (If you’ve never frozen foods like these before, see here for a more detailed explanation.) Close the bags and place them on a baking sheet to freeze. When frozen, you can stack them on top of each other or “file” them vertically next to each other.

When you’re ready to serve the marmalade, simply rinse the packet with warm water to scatter everything, then transfer the marmalade to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. You can cook fresh rice, reheat frozen rice, or toss a couple of Trader Joe sachets in the microwave. Serve in bowls of hot rice and garnish with scallions and Louisiana hot sauce, preferably Crystal.

For a quick tip on menu planning, please send a request to Claire at claire.lower@lifehacker.com. Be sure to include as much information as possible, including any dietary restrictions, protein preferences, budget, and available cooking equipment. Please be aware that processing times can be at least a week, so please submit inquiries in advance.

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