Kimchi Chigae (Kimchi Stew)

Photo by The Serving Wench

Photo by The Serving Wench

After watching Despicable Me 2 (watch it!), I wanted, ever so badly, to have minions.  I mean, who wouldn’t really?  If I had minions to help me in all aspects of my life, then I could sit around watching episodes of Archer and plot what dishes I could conjure up.  Well…I might do that already.  Okay honestly, I probably would be playing with my minions and showing them off at work.  So, in essence it would probably be counterproductive.  I still feel like Tony Stark in Iron Man 2 telling Pepper Potts, “I want one.”

With life’s many demands, I finally got to have a weekend off and get in the kitchen.  To those of you that have time to be in the kitchen everyday or at least three times a week, I envy you wholeheartedly.  This dish is quick and truly simple to make.  Which is helpful in my crazy schedule.  This recipe calls for pork belly, but bacon will do.  I love spiciness!  So you can make this as spicy as you want by adding more kimchi juice as you prefer.

I’ll be honest, I don’t much about the history of kimchi but I can describe it in three words: smelly, delicious and can go with anything!  Okay that last part wasn’t a word ,than let’s say a phrase, but seriously I could put kimchi on ANYTHING?  Kimchi on burger, kimchi on sandwiches, kimchi on pizza…  So, I’m sure you get the idea.  I heart kimchi.  If you haven’t tried it, please do.  It may not be for everyone, but you might be just missing out.

*You can make this dish vegetarian by leaving out the meat altogether*

Prep Time: Cooking Time: Difficulty: Servings:
10 min 20 min Easy 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6-8 oz. pork belly or bacon
  • 1-2 C   chopped kimchi
  • 1 tsp   red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBS  red pepper paste (gochuchang)
  • 1          white onion
  • 2          green onion stalks
  • 2 TBS  minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Half a package of tofu
  • ¼ C     kimchi juice
  • 2 C      water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice up the onions, cut the green onions in one-inch length and cut up tofu in squares.
  2. In a pot, add in pork belly, garlic and white onions on medium-high heat.  Cook until pork is halfway done.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except the green onions and salt and pepper).  Bring to a boil on high (For approximately 10 min).
  4. Reduce heat to medium heat; add in green onions and salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Cook for at least five to ten minutes.
  6. Serve with a side of rice or over rice.

Gumbo

Gumbo
Photo Taken by Nicole Ramos

This dish takes a bit of love and care to make, but oh so worth it in the end.  What makes a true gumbo is the file powder, which is made from sassafras leaves.  It has a distinct flavor and smells almost like eucalyptus.   It’s sometimes difficult to find in the grocery stores, but I’m so glad (but it’s also dangerous) that they opened up a Penzey’s Spice store down the street from me!!  I’ve already planned on reorganizing my kitchen to see how many new spices I could stuff in my cabinet…

Have no fear if you can’t find this seasoning.  Due to undeniable cravings and a need, no really a NEED for gumbo, I’ve made it without the file powder and it’s just as tasty.  There are many variations out there and I even have seafood gumbo recipe, but this recipe contains some chicken, Andouille sausage and shrimp for a nice mixture.  Gumbo can be served alone or with rice, but it’s amazing with the Green Chili Cheese Cornbread!

Prep Time: Cook   Time: Level: Serves:
25 min. 2 ½ hrs. Intermediate 6-8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lg.      boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 TBS   Cajun seasoning
  • ¼  C     vegetable oil
  • 1 lb.      andouille sausage
  • ½  C     all-purpose flour
  • 5 TBS   butter or margarine
  • 1 lg.      onion, chopped
  • 8 clv.    garlic minced
  • 1          green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • ¼ C      Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ C      parsley (coarsely chopped) plus some for garnish
  • 4 C       water
  • 5          beef bouillon cubes
  • 1          (14-ounce can) stewed tomatoes with juice
  • 4          green onions, sliced, white and green parts
  • ½ lb.     jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined and cooked
  • 1-2 tsp  Filé powder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Chop up the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery, set aside in small bowl.
  2. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Season and then brown chicken on both sides and remove (about 3 min. on each side). Add the sausage and brown for 3 min., and then remove.
  3. Lower the heat to medium.  Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool.
  4. Slice up sausage and chicken.
  5. Return the pot to low heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons margarine. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, making sure to cover the vegetables in the roux and then add Worcestershire sauce, a little more Cajun seasoning to taste and the parsley.
  6. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add 4 cups hot water and bouillon cubes, whisking constantly, until the bouillon is dissolved.
  7. Add the chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.
  8. Add the stewed tomatoes, stir and at that time cover and simmer for 1 hour. Just before serving add the green onions, shrimp, some more chopped parsley and filé powder.  Add enough filé to thicken and flavor to your preference.
  9. I recommend that you keep the filé powder near the guests, so they may thicken their gumbo to their preference also.