Our Gumbo and Wine Pairing Experiment

Our Gumbo and Wine Pairing Experiment

Our deconstructed gumbo

Our deconstructed gumbo

Ever since our visit to New Orleans, we've been talking about the delicious Andouille Sausage and Chicken Gumbo we enjoyed at Café Sbisa which we visited earlier this month. We wanted to do less talking about it and more eating it. Alas, the French Quarter isn't just around the corner from us so, we put our test kitchen on the task. We've included our recipe at the end of this post for you to try. 

Allow about an hour to prep all the gumbo ingredients

Allow about an hour to prep all the gumbo ingredients

Once we perfected our gumbo, it was time to select the wine. One pot meals are often a challenge to pair - but a New Orleans style gumbo is an extra challenge with its cacophony of flavors from the smokey spiced andouille pork sausage, the chicken (and shrimp if using), the fresh vegetables, the herbs and the cajun spices. A lot going on in one pot!

Sure smells like we got it right!

Sure smells like we got it right!

We initially selected the 2017 Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and the 2016 Château Haut-Rian Bordeaux Blanc Sec thinking a crisp dry white would be best.

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  • Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc's grapes are grown in Marlborough's Wairau Valley and Awatere Valley of New Zealand, and the wine offers aromas of citrus, tropical fruit, fresh herbs and cut grass with notes of grapefruit, melon and ripe stone fruit. We have enjoyed lobster, bouillabaisse and barbecued fish paired with Kim Crawford previously, so perhaps gumbo will pair as well. ($22)
  • Château Haut-Rian Bordeaux Blanc is bottled on the estate in the village of Rions in the Bordeaux region of France. It is a refreshing and zesty blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. The nose is grapefruit, melon and fresh cut hay. The wine is well-balanced and tastes of minerals, grass, lime and lemon rind with no oak, as it is fermented in stainless steel tanks. We have paired this Bordeaux Blanc successfully in the past with oysters and low country boil, so we thought it would be a worthy contender. ($40)
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Results: She preferred Château Haut-Rian while He preferred the Kim Crawford. But we both agreed neither one was perfect; the grapefruit flavors became too bitter, the herbs became too peppery. We moved on to an American wine, the 2016 Decoy Sauvignon Blanc, thinking that its subtle sweetness might tame the spice profile of the gumbo. It proved to be a better pairing, but still not ideal.

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Unwilling to be beat, we decided to take wine off the table and dig deeper into our cellar. It turns out the answer was an IPA! The Flying Coffin swooped in for the win.

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  • The Flying Coffin Unfiltered India Pale Ale comes from the Props Craft Brewery in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. This medium-bodied IPA is infused with Chinook hops and dry-hopped with a combination of Mt. Hood and Cascade hops. It has notes of caramel and piney hop qualities. 
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Andouille Sausage and Chicken Gumbo 

Serves 8, allow a couple hours

  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 15 oz bag frozen cut okra (or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large sweet vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
  • 1 package (12 oz) Aidells Cajun Style Andouille smoked pork sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cups (32 oz) chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Zatarain's Gumbo Filé
  • Steamed shrimp and sliced green onion, for garnish, if desired
  • Steamed white rice as accompaniment, if desired

1. Place chicken breasts in a large pot, cover chicken with water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer until chicken reaches 165 degrees, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken from water reserving pot of water. When chicken is cool enough to handle pull apart or shred using two forks and set aside in refrigerator.

2. Place the okra in the pot of reserved chicken water and simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the okra and set aside. Empty the water from the pot.

3. Put the empty pot back on medium heat and add butter and flour. Whisk frequently for about 15 minutes until the roux is a medium-dark brown (whisk almost continuously to prevent roux from burning). 

4. Stir in the onion, red and green peppers, celery and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.

5. Stir in the bay leaf, thyme, basil, paprika, peppers, salt and chicken broth.

6. Simmer for 30 minutes, loosely covered, stirring occasionally.

7. Remove bay leaf and stir in shredded chicken, simmer for another 15 minutes.

8. When ready to serve, remove pot from heat and slowly stir in the gumbo filé. Adjust seasonings to taste.

9. If desired, top with steamed shrimp, sliced green onions or steamed rice.

Let us know what you think!!

 

 

 

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