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A Perfect Dinner Party Dish: Shrimp, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo adapted from Bon Appetit

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The Pool was tented for the occasion.

What makes a dish perfect for a dinner party?  I’d suggest something that keeps the cook out of the kitchen so that he or she can really enjoy their dinner guests’  company as much as possible.  Last weekend, we were entertaining The Bride and Groom, that is our two friends, Jill and Steven, who have the distinction of being the only

The Wedding was
covered in “Vows”
in the New York Times.

couple who have been married at our house.   Turns out, this was a mere 6 years ago.  I thought it was longer, likely because it seemed to take a decade for the lawn to come back.  This year, the lawn had completely recovered from its wedding bell blues—except, of course, where a small dog, who shall remain nameless, left its marks this summer. Jill and Steven made the guest list of people they wanted to see.  And since there were both some new and familiar faces, Andrew and I wanted to be part of the group and not confined to the kitchen.



Enter this recipe for Gumbo, that gift of Louisiana to dinner party hosts everywhere.   The reason for this is simple.  A gumbo tastes best after it has rested, the flavors melding together to form a spicy, rich, mixture that just begs to be served over steamed rice.   The cook, therefore, should make the base for the Gumbo early in the day—if not a day ahead.  Everything goes into the casserole except for the Shrimp.  Once the base has cooked the required hour, it gets chilled in the refrigerator.  This has the benefit of allowing the excess fat from the sausage to congeal and be easily removed for the final cooking. That done, you bring the mixture to a simmer, add the shrimp for all of five minutes and dinner is served.  How wonderful is that?  The recipe originally appeared in Bon Appetit in 2006.   I did change it up, using smoked sausage in lieu of the original call for Andouille. And I also halved the quantity, which every commentator had recommended. There was a gracious plenty for 12 and I even had some left over. Here is the recipe:

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