Explore Louisiana food through bimonthly magazine
With Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest just around the corner, there’s a pretty good chance New Orleans is on your mind this time of year.
Two years ago, Susan Ford started a bimonthly magazine dedicated to the food of her beloved state. Louisiana Kitchen & Culture Magazine is now entering its third year, and if you don’t get to make it to Louisiana as often as you’d like, this colorful publication can help bide the time until your next trip.
Ford, who says she has subscribers in all 50 states but that Texas, not surprisingly, is home to her second-largest readership, packs the magazine with stories and photographs from all around the state, and almost every story has recipes from both home cooks and noted chefs. You can pick up individual copies at Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and Hastings, as well as some Texas grocery stores, and a subscription costs $25 for one year or $40 for two.
You can browse events taking place throughout the state and some of the recipes on the website, louisiana.kitchenandculture.com, but here’s a recipe from culinary media and photography director David Gallent for a chicken and sausage gumbo braised on low in a Dutch oven or slow cooker. To prepare it in shorter period of time, raise the heat in the oven to 375 degrees and cook for a little more than an hour.
Dutch Oven Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1 cup vegetable oil, divided
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
10 cups unsalted chicken broth, divided
1 (3-lb.) chicken, cut into pieces but with the bone in
Cajun seasoning of your choice
1 1/2 lb. Cajun sausage, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Hot cooked rice
Heat one-half cup oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat; evenly sprinkle with flour and whisk until the roux texture is of wet sand, adding additional oil in small amounts if needed. Cook roux, stirring constantly with a flat-edged wooden spatula, 10 minutes or until the color resembles peanut butter (do not burn).
Gradually whisk in nine cups chicken broth; vigorously whisking after each one-cup addition. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, while constantly scraping the bottom. Do not burn.
Skim away accumulated foam or fat; strain through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; set aside the gumbo base until needed. Wipe Dutch oven clean. (This step can be done ahead of time or prepared in larger batches because the gumbo base can be frozen.)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Set top rack in the middle position with enough overhead room for the Dutch oven to easily fit topped with its lid.
Lightly season chicken with Cajun seasoning. Heat a half-cup vegetable oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, evenly sear chicken until nicely browned; set aside until needed. Brown sausage in hot oil. Add onions and 1/3 cup water to deglaze; sauté 15 minutes, scraping bottom to loosen browned bits.
Add bell pepper, celery and garlic; sauté five minutes. Deglaze with remaining one cup chicken broth; simmer three minutes while stirring constantly. Return meat to the pot, add gumbo-base and gently stir. (Add up to one cup water, if needed, for meat to be completely covered with liquid.) Cover Dutch oven with lid and place in oven; bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 225 degrees and bake for eight hours.
Remove gumbo from oven but do not stir. Skim away any accumulated fat or oil on gumbo surface. Using tongs, remove chicken to a large bowl; set aside to cool slightly; shred, discarding bones. Add shredded meat to gumbo; stir well.
Place Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat to bring gumbo to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes or until gumbo is thick. Taste; adjust seasoning. Add green onions and stir well. Serve over hot cooked rice or potato salad. Makes about 3 quarts.
— David Gallent, Louisiana Kitchen & Culture Magazine
Devouring Japan conference set for this week
The Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Texas is hosting a free two-day conference called at Austin Devouring Japan that will focus on Japanese food culture. On Friday and Saturday at the Julia Glickman Conference Center in the UT College of Liberal Arts (classroom 1.302E), speakers including history professors Ken Albala (University of the Pacific) and Eric Rath (University of Kansas) will lecture on subjects ranging from the history of some of the country’s iconic foods and cultural rituals involving food to how globalization is changing the country’s cuisine and how the world views Japan. You can find out more about the conference and register at blogs.utexas.edu/devouringjapan.
New superfood chips from Austin’s Rhythm Superfoods
The Austin-based Rhythm Superfoods was the first company to sell kale chips commercially, and this month, the company is releasing a new line of baked chips made from other nutrient-dense foods, including quinoa, amaranth, oat bran, purple corn, pea protein, sweet potato, carrot and broccoli. The ingredients used in the chips are non-GMO and do not contain gluten or dairy, and the chips ($3.49 for 5.5 ounces) are available at H-E-B, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods Market and Sprouts. More information at rhythmsuperfoods.com.
My wife is looking to improve her Italian cooking skills. Her view is that a month in Tuscany would be the best education. I thought that perhaps there would some decent local alternatives at a lower cost. We are aware of some of the courses at Central Market. Do you know of any other Austin-based cooking classes or training?
— Dan Becker
Hello, Dan! Thank you so much for reaching out about your wife’s interest in Italian cooking. Although I’m sure she could persuade me that her month in Tuscany idea is the best, I can see where you’re coming from to keep the education a little closer to home.
Central Market really does have some of the best cooking classes in the area, but Whole Foods Market downtown and Faraday’s Kitchen Store in Bee Cave are also good options. (Faraday’s has a class on March 5 with local musician Michael Fracasso teaching lighter Italian fare.)
The Silver Whisk Cooking School in Lakeway just had an Italian class, but they also do custom small-group classes, which might be a fun compromise for you and your wife. Another option for private classes is with local company, A Taste of Italy (atasteofitalyinaustin.com), run by Italian Elsa Gramola. For a different route, she might be interested in joining one of the Meetup.com groups, such as Austin Italians (meetup.com/Austin-Italians) or Austin Italian Wine Club (meetup.com/Austin-Italian-Wine-Club), which often organize classes and tastings.
If your wife does end up persuading you that she needs a trip to Italy, now’s your chance to book a trip with Congress chef David Bull, who is leading a five-day culinary tour in July through cities including Florence, Siena and San Gimignano. The trip will include cooking classes inspired by trips to markets, vineyards and restaurants. Tickets for the trip ($4,500) and more information are at AuthenticToscana.com.