Get the recipe for gumbo from Cafe Orleans at Disneyland

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Disneyland’s famous gumbo recipe has been a hit with guests for over 15 years. (Photos: Everett Collection; Disneyland Resort)

From the start of Disney’s animated classic The princess and the FrogTiana is working hard to fulfill her dream of owning a restaurant where she can serve iconic New Orleans-style dishes like okra, a thick soup made with the Creole “holy trinity” of celery, peppers and onions and a protein like fruit. de mer, chicken or sausage, served over rice.

Like Tiana and Leah Chase, the New Orleans chef who inspired her character, almost everyone in New Orleans has a go-to okra recipe. The dish can vary in color from dark chocolate brown to orange, depending on how long the roux – an equal parts combination of flour and fat used to thicken sauces – is cooked and seasonings added.

And Disney, of course, has its own Tiana-approved version of okra. In the New Orleans Square area of ​​Disneyland Park, the same okra recipe has been served at Café Orleans for over 15 years. “Not changing the recipe and staying true to the ingredients and the technique are some of the reasons our customers love it,” says Adrian Martinez, Executive Chef at Disneyland. “Most of the time, however, we feel the popularity [of the dish] it’s because it tells the story of New Orleans and what you might expect to see from a sidewalk cafe in the French Quarter.”

Martinez says it’s possible to recreate Disneyland’s gumbo recipe at home, and suggests investing in a quality vessel (like a cast iron or stock pot) to cook it in. try more recipes and improve your cooking at home and what you prepare for your family and friends,” he explains.

Martinez also says that making your own homemade chicken broth will enhance the flavor of your okra and give you more control over the final flavor of the dish. He suggests using the best ingredients you can afford: free-range chicken and organic produce will add more flavor to the dish. If you can find it, okra lime, a spice powder made from North American sassafras leaves, is also a good ingredient to have on hand.

The biggest obstacle to making okra is the roux, which can take a long time to develop, but can also burn easily. To make a roux with ease, Martinez says, “Don’t be afraid to cook the roux at a lower temperature, stirring constantly to get the right color and flavor.”

Martinez says an enamel pot is a great vessel for cooking okra.  (Photo: Megan duBois)

Martinez says an enamel pot is a great vessel for cooking okra. (Photo: Megan duBois)

According to Martinez, the recipes are more like guidelines than strict rules to follow. “Playing around with it or tweaking it a bit to suit your tastes is fine,” he explains. “Take some liberties to try things that might not be in the recipe.”

With Martinez’s advice…and Disneyland’s chicken gumbo recipe, I was ready to try the dish for myself. The recipe is divided into three smaller recipes: Cajun Spice, Cajun Rice, and Chicken Gumbo. The Cajun spice can even be prepared ahead of time and stored for later use.

I started by making the Cajun spice – a flavorful blend of 10 different herbs, spices and a pinch of sugar. I measured everything into a small reusable plastic container before putting the lid on and shaking it until the spices were well blended. After the spices were combined, I tasted the mixture: It was definitely spicy thanks to the cayenne pepper, but sweetened by the sugar, dried thyme, and dried oregano.

A delicious okra starts with the Cajun spice being added to the dish.  (Photo: Megane du Bois)

A delicious okra starts with the Cajun spice being added to the dish. (Photo: Megane du Bois)

Cajun rice was also easy. I started by chopping the onions and red pepper into small pieces and sautéing them in oil in a deep pan until translucent, but not caramelized. Then I added the rice and made sure it was well coated in oil. After a few minutes of toasting the rice to bring out more flavor, I added the vegetable broth and Cajun spices and covered the pan so the rice could cook.

After removing the lid, I fluffed the rice with a fork and tasted it. It was perfect, with a deep flavor from the rubbing of spices, without being too spicy.

The okra took longer than expected, but my patience paid off. I started by cutting the chicken thighs and the andouille sausage into bite-size pieces. I couldn’t find the recommended tasso ham, a spiced, smoked, and cured meat product from Louisiana, so I turned to the internet to research alternatives. I found chunks of pancetta worked well, so I tossed some pancetta in a little Cajun spice to add some tasso ham flavor.

Then, as Martinez said, I found my “quality vessel”, an enameled Dutch oven. I melted the butter, browned the meat for a few minutes before adding the garlic, then removed the meat with a slotted spoon. Because there was so much meat in the pan, some pieces turned browner than others. Next time I would brown each type of meat individually to keep things more even.

The remaining butter and fat from the meat was then ready for the flour, which I sprinkled evenly over the top of the fat and started whisking. I lowered the heat slightly and stirred the roux for about 15 minutes, until it was a deep golden color, between the color of cornflakes and caramel.

My finished Cajun rice.  (Photo: Megane du Bois)

My finished Cajun rice. (Photo: Megane du Bois)

When the roux was ready, I added the rest of the Cajun spice and stirred well. While the recipe said to put the meat back in the pot and then add the chicken broth, I was worried that adding the meat first would result in a lumpy stew, so I added the broth first. I added the broth one cup at a time and whisked the mixture well with each addition. Once all the broth was added and the resulting liquid was well mixed, I added the meat and stirred the pan again.

After the meat, I added green and purple okra. I loved the addition of purple okra, which retained its color even after cooking, making it an even more appetizing dish. I simmered the okra for about 20 minutes, making sure the okra was tender, but not too slimy.

Using purple and green okra added an extra splash of color to my dish.  (Photo: Megane du Bois)

Using purple and green okra added an extra splash of color to my dish. (Photo: Megane du Bois)

To serve, I put Cajun rice in a bowl, then poured okra over it. I topped it with sliced ​​green onions, which added a nice fresh bite to the whole dish. I took a bite and was instantly transported to New Orleans Square at Disneyland.

My parents, who have been to New Orleans but not Disneyland, said the okra tasted similar to what they had at The Big Easy. The dish was spicy, but not overwhelming. After dinner, I put the leftovers in a container, because okra is even better the next day – and it was.

Can’t wait to do it again for my family, especially when we want a taste of New Orleans on the Florida coast. Or maybe we’ll whip up another batch of this Disney-approved okra dish for our next family movie night, and watch The princess and the Frog while we have fun.

Want to taste Café Orléans in your own kitchen? Disneyland shares its Chicken Gumbo recipe.

Café Orleans Chicken Gumbo

Courtesy of Disney Parks and Resorts

(Photo: Disney Parks)

(Photo: Disney Parks)

For 4 people

Ingredients:

For the Cajun spices:

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 1 tbsp seasoning salt

  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

For the Cajun rice:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon diced white onion

  • 1 tablespoon diced red bell pepper

  • 1 cup medium grain white rice

  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth

  • 1 tablespoon Cajun spice

For Okra:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced

  • 1/2 cup diced ham

  • 1/2 cup andouille sausage, diced

  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons cajun spice

  • 4 cups of chicken broth

  • 1/2 cup sliced ​​okra

  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, for garnish

Instructions:

For the Cajun spices:

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl; store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

For the Cajun rice:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

  2. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes, or until translucent.

  3. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil. Toast the rice, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes.

  4. Add the vegetable broth, stir, then add the Cajun spices, stirring well.

  5. Cover pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until liquid is completely absorbed.

  6. Fluff with a fork before serving.

For the chicken okra:

  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, tasso and andouille sausage and cook until golden brown, 5 minutes. Add garlic, stirring to combine. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  2. Remove the meat from the pot using a slotted spoon, reserving the fat in the pot. Place the meat on a large plate and set aside.

  3. Add the flour to the fat in the pan, whisking to combine. Bake until the mixture turns golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in Cajun spices.

  4. Return the meat to the pot, stirring well to combine. Slowly add broth, whisking vigorously after each addition until mixture is smooth.

  5. Add okra and tomatoes. Simmer, stirring frequently, until okra is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

  6. Ladle the okra into bowls and top with a large spoonful of rice. Garnish with chopped green onions.

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