Was thinking about what to cook today, wondering what can I just throw into a pot and let go. Growing up in Mississippi meant that gumbo was as common as rain in Tampa. To us gumbo was just a conglomeration of leftovers, whatever wasn’t used for the other thoughtful meals. Sometimes we planned for gumbo, with the best ingredients, measured accurately. But what’s the fun in that? You make some wonderful flavor discoveries when you just throw some junk in the pot and let it go.
So instead of thinking about what I didn’t have, I focused on what I did have. A pound of Italian sausage, a frozen chicken quarter, and jalapenos. I ran warm water over the chicken to thaw it a little, and put it in with the bone about 3 quarts of water on medium heat. I cut up the raw sausage and put it in as well. Chopped the peppers, and added those, seeds and all. When it started a rolling boil, I turned it down to medium low and let it continue boiling. Next I just added a few spices: pickling spice, sea salt, oregano leaves, crushed and ground red pepper. I didn’t have tomato sauce so I added two 6 oz cans of V8 juice and hot sauce.
I think it cooked for about 3 hours before I pulled the chicken apart and put the bones back in, and cut up the sausage. I added about 1/8 cup of gumbo file, and let it cook for another half hour. Done. This should last for at lease three days of lunches as well. Just a greasy, fatty, spicy pot of heaven. Fat is not as bad as we’ve been told, as it promotes satiety and is essential for good health. Leaving everything in the pot, including the fat and the bones (marrow) is just the best and most efficient way to retain the nutrients until they get to your gullet.