This Sunday, Eduardo and I celebrated SOUPer Bowl VII. Since we’ve been together, we’ve always watched the Super Bowl in the couch, with a bowl of soup and a platter of wings in front of us. I made a recap of the soups we’ve enjoyed through the years in last year’s SOUPer Bowl entry, New England Clam Chowder (oh, the irony). Still bitter over the outcome of the playoffs for my beloved Saints, I decided to bring New Orleans to the Super Bowl through food. Enter the Gumbo Ya Ya!
Gumbo Ya Ya is the famed chicken and sausage version served at Mr. B’s Bistro, a contemporary Creole restaurant in New Orleans’ French Quarter. It also happens to be Tom Fitzmorris’ favorite restaurant gumbo. Tom Fitzmorris is New Orleans consummate food person: he’s a recognized critic, writer, recipe developer, and radio host show and probably the biggest advocate for the restaurant industry in New Orleans. He took the recipe for Mr. B’s Gumbo Ya Ya – available in the restaurant’s website – and scaled it down for the home cook in NOMenu.com. If you ever want to read a New Orleans restaurant review or try to recreate a dish associated with the city, this would be the site to visit.
I scaled back this even further from the Fitzmorris version to yield four generous main course servings or six appetizers. I stayed 90% true to the recipe: I added half a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce in the final seasoning round and about a cup of lump crabmeat. Adding seafood might totally invalidate the Ya Ya surname, but since it is my base recipe I’d rather attribute than atone.
The Main Cast
- 3/4 pounds andouille or smoked sausage (we used chicken andouille)
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Creole/cajun seasoning and salt
- 5 ounces canola oil
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup diced onions
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (two regular sized cloves)
- 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock
- 1 cup lump crabmeat, shells picked out
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons file powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked long grain white rice