Brandon Kealoha: Southern-style gumbo with rice (recipe)

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I have always loved Cajuns and southern cuisine. I developed this recipe several years ago, and it has become one of my favorite meals, both at the restaurant and at home.


4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

4 andouille sausage links

8 prawns, 16/20 size

2 red bell peppers; roasted on a grill, then diced

2 medium yellow onions, diced

1/2 stalk celery, diced

1 cup Brandy

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons blackening spice, divided

1 gallon chicken stock

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2-pound unsalted butter

2 cups breaded okra, available in the frozen food section of many grocery stores

Smoked paprika

2 cups hot basmati rice


Generously coat the chicken thighs of the blackening spice and place on a hot grill along with the andouille sausage until cooked through. Sauté the bell peppers, onions, and celery with the remaining blackening spice over a large sauté pan over medium high heat for 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Add the tomato paste and sauté an additional 2 minutes.

Add the Brandy and deglaze the pan making sure to scrape all the brown bits from the pan. Add chicken stock, grilled chicken and sausage and simmer 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, cook the butter and flour together to create a roux, stir constantly until the mixture is chocolate in color and smells like popcorn.

Add to the chicken stock mixture, simmer an additional 10 minutes. Second, add the shrimp and scallops, cook 5 to 6 more minutes until the shrimp and scallops are cooked. Pan-fry breaded okra and sprinkle with smoked paprika. Place a half cup of rice on a plate and garnish with a few pieces of fried okra.

Brandon Kealoha is executive chef and general manager of Js’ Bistro in Dayton.


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