Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Smoked Chicken and Okras: a come back to the origins

This is one of the great classics of my family and that could also be a study for those interested in migration flows to the welcoming kitchen's countries.
New York is a perfect example, we can say that all the world's cuisines are represented. There would be more than 150 languages but in reality the number would be 800! That shows the variety of dishes in the world found in New York. And it is the same in Paris.

 Sophie Knapp of Radio France summarizes well this in her documentary on "Culinary migration - Kitchen as identity." She rightly says that "migration is not confined to population movements. Migrating, women and men often carry in their luggage items, kitchen utensils, but also their culinary expertise and food practices, seeking to transplant or to adapt them in their host country" 
This perfectly illustrates the recipe of Smoked Chicken with Gumbo sauce.
This dish has been invented from scratch by Africans in France. I don't really know which recipe in Central Africa, South or West Africa can be matched to Smoked Chicken and Gumbo sauce. So if you know more about it, I’ll be glad to hear you! 

African families in France often eat this dish with «a fine semolina polenta » meant to replace the invigorating “Fufu paste” made with cassava flour. 
The preparation is the same:  You bring water to a boil and then throw in the fine semolina and turn with a spatula until the mixture becomes like a polenta. 
This semolina polenta usually accompanies many stews.

Okra or Gumbo is a very old vegetable. It was cultivated in Egypt two centuries before JC. And have been brought from Africa to Europe by the Moors during major invasions. It is used in most Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Turkey. We find gumbos in Africa, and also in the US (especially in the South), where it was introduced by African slaves.

To talk about our smoked chicken, my family has naturally adopted this recipe for years and we don’t exactly know when we ate it for the first time! 
This is a simple recipe, cheap and tasty, that requires little ingredients and which can be eaten in winter and summer.


In France, smoked chicken and okras are sold in supermarkets. They can also be found in exotic groceries. The gumbo sauce can be adapted to different kind of meat or fish.

So for this simple dish you will need:

Ingredients: (serve 4/5)

  • 1 Smoked chicken
  • 1 small onion
  • 8/10 fresh or frozen okras
  • A fresh tomato
  • 150 grams of tomato pulp
  • 1 Habanero chili pepper, not cut, not drilled or damaged (Hot pepper brings flavor but it is optional)
  • ½ liter of chicken broth
  • Salt to taste


Cut the chicken into pieces.

* As smoked chicken is often fat, I began by heating a pan without fat, I put chicken pieces first to sweat and I add 5 ml water, just for degrease. Five minutes after boiling, I threw the water and I keep the chicken in a bowl. I do not rinse the pot.

Wash the hot pepper without removing stalks and set aside (out of reach of children).

Wash gumbos cut the stems and topped them. Cut into slices about 3 or 4 inches thick and set aside.
Chop the onion into small cubes.

Wash and coarsely cut the tomato.

Put the pot that contained the chicken over medium heat and sauté onions.

Add the chicken and cook a few minutes.

Then add the fresh tomato and the tomato pulp and its juice. Stir.

Pour in the chicken broth, the liquid should cover the chicken.

Bring to a boil over medium heat for 20 minutes.
Add the sliced ​​gumbos, stir gently and add the hot pepper in a corner of the pot.
Leave to cook for another 15 minutes.

Taste and add salt if necessary.

At the end remove the pepper (Do not keep it, it is extremely hot)

Serve with white steamed rice, polenta, grit, or ABLOS...

Kitchen Tips:

Hot pepper in this dish is optional. It's better not to use it if you are not sure because it is very hot. I put it in the pot with the stem to be sure not to drill it. If you cannot find okra or if you do not like it, you can replace them with sliced leeks or with carrots and peas. It’s also very good.

I hope you will try this dish and enjoy it

See you

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