Crew’s Mess: by Capt. John Wampler
On my recent 207th Florida-to-New England transit, delivering a Viking 54C from Panama City, Florida, to East Greenwich, Rhode Island, one of my favorite stops was St. Simons Island, Georgia. Morningstar Marina is convenient and has cheerful dock staff, but call ahead for reservations – it fills up each night with transients.
At the head of the main dock is the Country Kitchen restaurant. Under the charge of owner and New Orleans-trained executive chef, Archie Prince, the food here is outstanding. My favorite is the chicken and andouille gumbo. Chef Archie provided me his recipe; which I have condensed from restaurant quantity to a manageable amount for owner and crew.
This recipe calls for andouille sausage and pulled chicken. If you can’t find andouille sausage, any kielbasa or smoked sausage will do. I get the chicken from my favorite BBQ joint, however, supermarket rotisserie works as well.
Perhaps the most delicious and simplest of gumbo combinations, it’s a full-bodied stew with a seasoned roux-based sauce. There’s no mystery to making a roux; you just have to pay attention and take it almost to the point of burning before it’s just right.
This dish is great as leftovers; just warm it up and eat as is, or serve it over white rice for a delicious quick meal.
2/3 cup butter, divided
1/2 pound andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cup chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 cups shredded chicken, smoked or rotisserie
Garnish: white rice and sliced green onions
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook sausage 6 minutes or until browned; remove sausage with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet.
Add remaining butter to skillet. Gradually whisk in flour; whisking constantly, until flour is a milk chocolate color (about 25 minutes).
Stir in green bell pepper and next five ingredients. Cook, stirring constantly, 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Gradually add broth, stirring until combined. Add tomatoes, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves.
Bring to a light boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Return sausage to pan; simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
Stir in chicken.
Remove and discard bay leaves before serving.
Garnish with a tablespoon of white rice and green onion. Enjoy.
Capt. John Wampler (yachtaide.com) has worked on yachts for more than 30 years. His recipes are casual enough for anyone to prepare. Comments are welcome below.