Something I so love about my blog, A Life From Scratch, is the doors it has opened and the people I have gotten to meet. What started off as a mere space to share recipes has grown and opened doors with Apartment Therapy, Martha Stewart Living, Make It Better, and most recently a darling business right in my own home town: 365 Barrington. The owner, Liz, reached out to ask if I would be interested in writing a guest post for her blog focusing on the lovely topic of Sunday Suppers and the significance of gathering around the table to share meals with friends and family. Having a love of all things food and shopping at Heinen’s Grocery, I jumped at the opportunity. This is right in my wheelhouse and Chicken & Sausage Gumbo is one of our family’s favorite Sunday Suppers.
On my way to preschool pick up, I began mulling over the concept of Sunday Supper while zipping down Kelsey Road. We all know the traditional scene and yet does that scene still even exist in our hectic crazy scheduled lives? Shockingly, I was recently at a true authentic Sunday Supper, in between football and baseball, of course. It’s 2:00PM at my darling neighbors and there are various grandmas aunts moms hustling throughout a heavily heated kitchen. Quick introductions are made. ‘This is my new neighbor, Courtney! Her son Beckett is Blaise’s age. Bucket?? No, no….Beckett….Bucket?’ Fair enough. I laugh while taking it all in. Sauces splattering away on the cooktop. Chicken pieces roasting in the oven. Water bubbling for multiple pounds of pasta. Two (obviously) kinds of meatballs set out on large platters. A light salad to round it all out covers the very last inch of the counter space. Dads having beers, moms having wine, kids having bubble gum. It all felt so….right. This is the Sunday Supper of our dreams that so little of us these days ever experience.
Why is that?
Well, lifestyle changes to begin. Not many of us are living with aunts, cousins, parents, and in laws right down the road. And even those who are lucky enough to live near each other, well, there is the….calendar. Can you imagine coordinating a weekly dinner with your family? There’s your calendar. Your kid(s) calendar(s). Grandma’s calendar. (Since when did Grandma get so busy?) Travel schedules and deadlines and teams to coach and homework to complete and we all know the drill that goes so on and so forth. Things have just….shifted. They may be more complex than the simpler time of homemade marinara for eight hours, but there is so much good that also comes with the hustle and bustle we are all living each and every weekend.
Seeing your four-year-old hit it to the outfield, for one thing. And win.
Seeing your nine-year-old hold his own on the football field. And win.
And yes, it’s not always about winning but sometimes it can be. We had two very happy boys last Sunday and come dinner time when we came home late, tired, and way too dusty, the answer was a Heinen’s rotisserie chicken and a spinach salad. Keeping it real, my friends.
Even Sunday Suppers featuring a meal from Heinen’s prepared foods counter allow us to embrace this is the season we are in. We may not have open Saturdays or Sundays, but the point is we find the time to sit down together when we can. That shifts around of course, but currently we are enjoying Tuesday nights at home. The big guy has off from tackle, the bigger guy usually isn’t traveling, and the little guy is, as always, within my reach. So where does that leave us.
It leaves us to enjoy a homemade meal together around our table. It may not be as sloooooow and as tediously cooked but it’s still filled with the exact same intentions: to connect those that sit down to eat it.
And that’s exactly what we did with this sausage and chicken gumbo. The weather, in the evening, was just starting to turn. Hot and sunny all day and come 6:00 you’re reaching for a sweatshirt. Which means it’s the perfect time to get the dutch oven on the stove, warming up with some olive oil at the bottom, just waiting for the flavors that are about to hit and melt into it.
Flavors like sweet onion, fresh herbs, jalapeno for heat, paprika for smokiness, chicken thighs for richness. This is the quick cooking recipe you can enjoy after a crazy Sunday…..or Tuesday…..or Thursday. Take your pick for your own family.
Ladle into deep bowls, plop down around the table together, and, if you’re anything like my boys, hopefully you’ll get at least one legitimate thought about something that took place during their day. I’d consider it all a huge win.
Sausage and Chicken Gumbo
- 2 lbs andouille sausage, cut on the diagonal in 1/2 inch ovals
- 2 lbs chicken thighs, skinless, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 TBS dried thyme (I used some fresh)
- 1 TBS dried basil (I used some fresh)
- 1 TBS dried oregano (again, used some fresh)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup paprika (I used a mix of regular and smoked)
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups fresh or frozen okra
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 TBS chopped fresh parsley or cilantro – for garnish
- In a Dutch oven cook the sausage 10-15 minutes until both sides are browned and slightly crispy. Transfer sausage to a plate, leaving the drippings in the pot.
- Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pot and cook over medium high heat for 7-10 minutes until each piece is browned and cook through. Transfer the chicken to the plate, leaving the drippings behind.
- Now it’s time for the veggies! Add the onion and celery over medium heat and cook until translucent. Add in the garlic and jalapeno and cook for another 3 minutes or so.
- Add in your fresh herbs, cayenne, paprkia and stir to combine. Cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes, then add in broth and okra.
- Bring all ingredients in the pot to a simmer, then add in the cooked sausage and chicken. Simmer simmer simmer for as long as you’d like.
- At the end stir in the fresh lemon juice and taste and adjust salt & pepper if needed.
- Garnish with parsley or cilantro and enjoy!