Don't let the list of ingredients intimidate you! Once it's all thrown together, it just simmers on the stove and you have to stir it every once in a while.
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
- 1 pound smoked sausage or turkey smoked sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil or other vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2-3 ribs celery, chopped small
- 1-2 carrots, scrubbed well (don't peel them!) and sliced thinly - the slicing blade of a food processor is perfect for the carrots and celery
- 1 cup dry sherry
- 12 cups water
- 4 chicken stock cubes - I use Knorr Low Sodium
- 2 beef stock cubes - also Knorr
- 1 large or 2 small bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- Several grinds of fresh black pepper
- 1/2 cup par-boiled rice (Uncle Ben's)
- 1 cup orzo or other tiny pasta
- 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
Add the sherry and let cook on high until it is reduced by half, about five minutes. Add the water and stock cubes, thyme, bay leaves and all three peppers. Stir well, let come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer about 30 minutes. Stir it every so often. After 30 minutes, add the rice and stir well again. Let cook another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pasta and the tomato paste and stir well to dissolve the tomato paste. Let cook another 10 minutes and serve with lots of hot bread and a bottle of Crystal or Tobasco for those who like it HOT!
Tip: If you can get it, you can swap andouille sausage for the smoked sausage for a more New Orleans flavor. Of course you omit the sausage entirely and use just chicken, or chicken and ham (diced into 1/2 inch cubes) or chicken and shrimp - just like for gumbo!