Disclaimer: This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Hillshire Brand Company but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #buy3save3 http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO - However it’s still an awesome blog post and recipe so don’t click away! You know you want to read it.
This week I set out to make Chicken and Sausage gumbo to prove to my cajun rice and gumbo loving husband that after nine years of marriage, I can cook cajun foods. Yet all that I really proved is that I cannot cook cajun food but I can still come up with great meals that he will love, even if it doesn’t have a hard to pronounce name such as etouffe or jambalaya. After a disasterous start to authentic gluten free gumbo I scraped that plan and ended up with a great recipe for Sausage Lentil Rice Soup.
13 years ago when we met he took me home to meet his parents and they served me deer meat which was spicy and set me up for years of them keeping the store bought meat packaging to prove to me that it wasn’t game even though I did eventually develop a taste for it. A few months later he took me to Lafayette to meet the rest of his family for a crawfish boil. I ate a crawfish head but not on purpose. It took me years to grasp why people would want to eat like that because I was brought up in a polish / southern household that ate foods such as pierogi or mashed potatoes with fried chicken.
In three weeks we’ll be celebrating 10 years of marriage. That’s ten years of making it work and figuring it out as problems arose. Ten years of learning how to enjoy spicier foods and letting my cooking evolve to fit his taste. So it’s only fitting that the night I decided to make him gluten free gumbo as a pre anniversary present would be a disaster turned success.
I had the perfect game plan for sausage and chicken gumbo but the only hitch was that I was going to use gluten free flour since Mr. Byrd can’t have regular flour. In my head it would work perfectly.
I poured a little oil in the pan and browned the Hillshire Farm Sausage and then browned a few chicken thighs to get the perfect flavored oil to make roux, the base of most cajun foods. I added the gluten free flour to the pan after I removed the meat and slowly started stirring but the roux just would not come together. I stirred and stirred and stirred and while the flour mix on the bottom became thicker, there was always a layer of oil on the top. Oh well I figured, it will work out so I dumped the trinity vegetable blend (celery, bell peppers and onion) into the pan only to have the hot oil on top of the roux fry the vegetables to a char while the rest of the mix siezed up into a huge gloppy mix. Oh well I thought, it’ll be ok. So I added the tomato paste and started stirring in the chicken broth. And then it started to smell like burnt almonds and I knew I was in trouble.
Only one time in our marriage had I smelled the burnt almond smell – when I tried to make homemade enchiladas right after we were first married. It was the worst meal I ever attempted to make and we were too broke then to buy anything else for dinner that night. That meal lives in infamy and the gumbo was about to join it.
I knew somehow I needed to salvage the meal. So I took the sausage and the chicken that I still had and decided to make one of Mr. Byrd’s favorite soups – Lentil. And because we have three little girls that love rice and have rejected my Texas upbringing starch of choice, potatoes, I added rice as well. And of course I added a dose of cajun seasoning because if I’ve learned anything the last 10 years it’s that life is better with a little cajun flavor in it.
Somehow in what started out as a disaster an amazing recipe was made that my family devoured. Mr. Byrd loved it and said it was just as good as gumbo. And the perfect ending is that it represents our family perfectly. Things don’t always work. Sometimes we make mistakes but for the past ten years we’ve always made the best of it and now we have three amazing kids and a mini zoo that we love and adore to prove it.
So I hope you make this recipe with your family during these cool fall evenings. It’s easy, wholesome and a meal that you just throw into a pot and forget. Who doesn’t need that these days?
- 1 package Hillshire Farm beef sausage
- 1 small package of boneless chicken thighs
- 11/2 Cup of lentils
- 1 Cup of Rice
- 1 Cup cut up baby carrots
- 12 oz beef broth
- 6 - 8 cups of water
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
- dash oregano
- cajun seasoning to taste
- Cut the Hillshire Farm sausage into half mood discs and brown in a pot on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove sausage and place chicken in the pot, browning each side without moving for 3-4 minutes or until brown. Remove from chicken from heat and place to the side.
- Add the beef broth and fill the pot with 6-8 cups of water depending on size of pot. Add in lentils and rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium low and add in the Chicken, Hillshire farm sausage and carrots. Add in the measured spices and a dash of cajun seasoning. Add more water if needed.
- Cover the pot loosely and let the soup simmer for at least an hour. Remove the chicken from the pot before serving and tear into bite sized pieces. Place back into soup and stir well. Add more cajun seasoning or salt and pepper to taste before serving.