For the cast and crew, last night I prepared a chicken & sausage creole soup. The inspirations behind this soup are three things. First, as I mentioned in About Us, my father was instrumental in my learning how to cook. He was the spicy parent. My mother was equally talented but her dishes were more nuanced and less spicy.
Second, this soup will evoke the soul of New Orleans’ creole cooking culture. Think of this as gumbo with a thinner consistency and a simpler flavor profile.
Third, there is the influence of a marinara sauce with three sausages I used to make for mid-week parties with my family and friends.
For this Will Smith Crew I wanted them to feel the fire and taste the soul without becoming too drowsy and affecting the quality of their work. The crew has been working at night in locations throughout Los Angeles. It is not uncommon for me to bring them my gourmet soups at 2AM to 4AM in the morning. They need something lively to keep them up as well as to give them the energy to keep them going. The second soup was a vegetarian carrot & ginger soup (I will blog about that at a later date). The ginger provides a nice subtle pick me up!
As always I started with the base for the chicken & sausage creole soup. First, I got fresh herbs (mostly from my own garden) and vegetables from our local market.
Second, I created a base (my secret sauce) with high quality low sodium chicken broth for my chicken & sausage creole soup. To the broth I added whole onions, celery, green peppers, thyme, rosemary and whole garlic cloves. I let that cook for 1 1/2 hours or until it reached the luscious viscosity I wanted.
In the third step I removed all the solid ingredients from the pot. I discarded any rosemary and thyme stems. Then I cut the onion and the green peppers in half. Next, I added all the remaining solid ingredients into a food processor. I processed until the ingredients were married to one another.
In the fourth step I put all the married ingredients back into the pot with the broth and cooked it for an hour until it achieved the proper viscosity and taste.
The fifth step occurred while the broth was cooking for the second time. That is when I prepared my chicken & sausage, making sure the sausage was cut and chicken shredded properly. For the sausages I used Aidells Habenero and Green chili and their Cajun Style Andouille. Hillshire Farms’ Turkey Smoked Kielbasa was my third sausage. I slow roasted the chicken with my special blend of creole seasonings and they turned out juicy and flavorful. I rough shredded them before the next step. And I simultaneously prepared my white rice, lightly seasoned.
For the sixth step I added Italian tomatoes, other vegetables, the sausages, chicken, and more special spices to the base and cooked it for approximately one hour. In the last 20 minutes I added the rice and cut okra that had been flash frozen.
The seventh step involved letting the soup rest and marry some more.
Once rested properly, the eight and final step was to arrange the presentation including any condiments that enhance the marriage of the soup ingredients.
How Does It Taste
The feedback was that they really enjoyed this version that until now was not on the menu. With the first bite, if you get a piece of okra in your spoonful, you will notice it’s toothiness. There is a nice crunch to the okra. As a kid, nothing was worse for me than slimy okra. Mine is not cooked that way. The second thing you notice is the taste of the broth. The broth washes over your tongue and is immediately followed by the sweet and slightly tart taste of the Italian tomatoes. You might notice a hint of heat that in a few seconds gets more of your attention. That is the habernero and green chili sausage with its the Latin flavor you can love—a spicy mixture of hot habanero and fire-roasted green chiles, fresh cilantro and a dash of tequila.
Next the taste of the andouille dances on your taste buds to add some gourmet cajun kick. The lean pork is double smoked for deep, rich flavor and the special creole spice blend welcomes the taste of Louisiana to your plate. The chicken, rice and the other vegetables provide a bed for the creole love to reside and satisfy your need for taste heat and comfort for your belly.
That is our 5 hour chicken & sausage creole soup.