Saturday, August 11, 2012

Creamy Mexican Gumbo

I'm using the term "gumbo" lightly here. The only thing gumbo-y (that's a word, right?) about this is that it's a soup made with a basic roux served over some rice. Other than that, this really resembles gumbo not at all, but I didn't know what else to call it. Basically it's poblano cheese soup poured over ground sausage and rice, but that doesn't sound nearly as catchy.

We've made the poblano soup part of this recipe several times now, and it never disappoints. I'm finding it hard to remember what made us decide to pour it over rice and sausage this time (even though we just made our meal list and went grocery shopping last night), but it's a nice way to make the soup a bit more filling. Doing this with chicken would probably make more sense, but we had several chicken dishes on this list and thought sausage sounded like a fun alternative. You could go more Mexican with it and use chorizo, but just be sure to drain the grease off of it really well first. You could also fancy up the rice portion of the meal by making something like Cilantro-Lime Rice, but it really isn't necessary. I think the subtle flavors might get lost a bit in the sausage and soup anyway.

It's important for this soup that you use masa, which is corn flour, not regular, all-purpose flour. You can usually find it in the international foods section of your local grocery store, or possibly on the baking aisle near the regular flour. If you really can't find it, you can put corn tortillas in a food processor and grind them up into a fine powder. I tried it that way exactly once and had difficulty getting the tortillas to the right consistency. If the pieces aren't small enough, you end up with these little puffs of broth-soaked tortillas in your soup. They taste good, but their consistency in the soup is definitely weird.


3/4 c masa
1 tbsp chili powder, divided
1 tbsp cumin, divided
1/2 tbsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 c seeded and minced poblano pepper
1/2 c diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c butter
3 c chicken stock or broth
1 c half-and-half
1 c shredded, Monterey Jack cheese
1 lb ground pork sausage
3 c cooked rice


Combine the masa, 1/2 tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tbsp cumin, pepper, and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat, and add poblano, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add butter, and when it has melted, stir in masa mixture, whisking to form a roux. Slowly stir in chicken stock. Add half-and-half, and simmer gently for 7-10 minutes. Turn off heat, and stir in cheese until melted.

Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a skillet with the remaining chili powder and cumin and then drain well. Place 3/4 c rice in a bowl, and top with sausage and soup. Serve immediately.

Servings: 4

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