Author Archives: food4so

Duck Confit Hash

Duck leg confit is one of my favorite French dishes. The duck is slightly salty, mildly gamey, and has a crispy skin. In France, you will find duck confit on the menu of most brasseries. It is often served with crispy potatoes fried in duck fat and with a side salad. The process to make duck confit is a long one, which includes salt curing in the refrigerator for a couple of days and the poaching in its own fat for several hours. The duck is then pan-fried until the skin is crispy.

I’ve made duck confit in the past, but now for convenience sake, I buy it from my local specialty or gourmet shop. For my duck confit hash recipe, buying pre-made duck confit works beautifully. The recipe is relatively easy, and perfect for a special occasion like Mother’s Day Brunch. This recipe makes 2 servings, but you can double the recipe if you need more. Just remember, one duck leg confit and 4 ounces of potato per person. Enjoy!

 

Duck Confit Hash

Serving Size: 2

8 ounces of Yukon gold potato, 1 medium

Duck fat* or olive oil

2 prepared duck leg confit, about 8 ounces with the bones*

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of fresh time leaves, chopped

1/2 cup of reduced duck stock or veal stock**

Sea salt

Freshly grated black pepper

1 tablespoon of chopped Italian parsley (extra for garnish)

2 farm fresh eggs, poached soft

Cayenne for garnish, optional

 

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Peel and cut the Yukon gold potatoes to 1 inch dice.

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3. Toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of melted duck fat or olive oil and sprinkle a little salt and freshly grated pepper. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until nice and crispy.

4. Meanwhile, hand shred the duck confit meat off the bone. You want the meat in bite-size pieces.

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5. Poach the 2 eggs at this time for about 2 minutes. Place the poached eggs on a paper towel until ready to use. Set aside.

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6. Heat a large sauté pan to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of duck fat or olive oil to pan. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

7. Add the duck confit meat and the chopped thyme. Sauté until the duck gets slightly crispy, about 2 minutes.

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8. Add the roasted potatoes and sauté for 1 more minute. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

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9. Pour the reduced stock and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened.

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10. Divide the hash in to serving bowls and top with a poached egg. Sprinkle cayenne pepper and parsley. Serve immediately.

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*Duck fat and duck leg confit can be purchased at a gourmet food store like Bristol Farms or Dean & Deluca, or online on Amazon. You can also purchase the duck leg confit in duck fat and get both ingredients in one purchase.

**Duck stock or veal stock can be purchased at your local gourmet food store. Make sure you purchase the frozen version without any salt. You can also use chicken stock if you can’t find duck or veal stock. Place 1 cup of stock in a small sauce pan. Cook on high heat until the stock is reduced by 1/2.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

During most of my work conferences, the cookie tray rolls around mid-afternoon. Classic cookies like chocolate chip, peanut butter, chocolate, snickerdoodle, and oatmeal raisin are displayed. The chocolate chip cookies are the most popular and first to go, but that never bothered me because I seek out the oatmeal raisin cookies – my all-time favorite cookie. There many reasons I love this cookie: the wholesome texture, chewy raisins and the earthy flavor. Also, I feel better about eating them because of the whole grains and nuts. For me, the perfect oatmeal cookie is chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside, so that’s what I go for in my recipe. My cookie also has ingredients that add layers of textures: raisins, toasted walnuts, dark chocolate chunks and coconut flakes. As with all my cookie recipes, there is 1/3 less sugar than most traditional recipes, which makes me feel less guilty about eating them! Finally, for this recipe, I let the cookie dough refrigerate overnight. This helps soften the oats and meld all the flavors. Happy baking!

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: about 32 cookies

2 cups of quick oats

1 3/4 cup of Sonora wheat flour or unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of Kosher salt

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter, cold and cut into 16 pieces

1 cup of dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2/3 cup of toasted and chopped walnuts*

2/3 cup of raisins

1/2 cup of chopped dark chocolate (60% cacao)

1/2 cup of sweetened coconut flakes

1. In a large bowl add the oats, flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Whisk and set aside.

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2. In a stand mixer, add the butter and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

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3. Add the brown and granulated sugars. Beat for 3 more minutes until light and fluffy. Scrap the sides of the bowl.

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4. Reduce the speed to low. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl in between.

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5. Add the vanilla extract and beat just until incorporated. Stop the mixer.

6. To the flour and oat mixture, add the walnuts, raisins, dark chocolates and coconut flakes. Stir to combine.

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7. Turn the the mixer on low and slowly add the dry ingredients. Once all the ingredients have been incorporated, stop mixer.

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8. Transfer the cookie dough into an airtight container and place in the refrigerator overnight for up to 3 days.

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9. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the cookie dough out of the refrigerator.

10. Using a 2 tablespoon size scooper, portion out the cookies on the cookie sheets, two inches apart.

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11. Using the palm of your hand, press down each portion to flatten slightly.

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12. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the sides are golden brown and top is no longer shiny.

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13. Cool the baked cookies on rack. Serve with cold milk or coffee.  Place any remaining cookies in a airtight container for up to 3 days.

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*For toasted walnuts, place the chopped walnuts on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 350°. Cool completely before adding them into the recipe.

Almond Easter Egg Cookies

For this Easter, instead of making traditional vanilla iced sugar cookies, I created a cookie recipe based on one of my favorite flavors: almond. These cute iced almond cookies are moist, not too sweet and have a lovely almond flavor. In addition to almond extract, I added almond flour for more texture, and I also added natrural-dye sprinkles so the cookies will appeal to kids. Finally, this recipe only uses egg whites, which lightens the cookie dough. The recipe is very easy to follow and doesn’t even require a cookie-cutter!

If you love almond flavor, you’ll love these cookies. Enjoy and Happy Easter!

Yield: 1 dozen

3/4 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup of almond flour

1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt

6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup of granulated sugar

1 egg white

1 teaspoon of almond extract

3/4 cup of organic confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon of whole milk

1 teaspoon of almond extract

India Tree natural dye sprinkles

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place a parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, almond flour and salt. Set aside.

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3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar. Beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

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4. Meanwhile, whisk the egg white until frothy.

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5. Add the beaten egg white and the almond extract to the butter and sugar. Beat until just combined.

6. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture until just combined.

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7. Using a 1 1/2 tablespoons scoop, portion out 12 balls on the cookie sheet.

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8. Roll each ball and shape to resemble a small egg.

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9. Using the palm of your hand, press down to flatten. Bake for 10-11 minutes.

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10. Remove from the oven. Cool for about 10 minutes.

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11. Meanwhile, whisk the confectioners sugar, milk, and almond extract to make the icing. Have your sprinkles ready.

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12. Spoon some icing on each cookie and top with some sprinkles (You will want to add the sprinkles before the icing sets.)

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13. Let the icing harden. Serve the cookies with cold milk, coffee, or tea.

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Crab and Scallion Noodles

One of my favorite restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley is Newport Seafood, which specializes in Chinese-Vietnamese cuisine. They are famous for their house special lobster, but I prefer their house special crab. The crab is sautéed with scallions, ginger, and fresh peppers and is so delicious, I crave it all the time, but I reserve Newport for birthdays and special gatherings. To satisfy my craving, I took the same flavor profile and created this noodle dish. This recipe is easy to prepare, but it is important to have all the ingredients prepped in advance, because the recipe moves quickly. You want to time the noodles so that they finish cooking right as the crab is being added to the scallion mixture. For this recipe, I use one whole Dungeness crab. I steam the crab for 20 minutes and then pick out the meat. Adding fresh crab really makes a difference, but if you can’t find live crabs, you can buy the lump crab meat from your local supermarket. I hope you’ll love this noodle dish as much as I do. Enjoy!

 

Crab and Scallion Noodles

Serving Size: 4

 

1 lb of fresh chow mein noodles or Chinese wheat noodles

1/4 cup of unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

1 cup of 1/4″ sliced scallions (about 3-4)

2-3 mild red peppers, thinly sliced (extra for garnish)

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of ginger juice*

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

1 tablespoon of Maggi Seasoning**

1 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar, preferably organic

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3/4 teaspoon of freshly grated black pepper

1/2 lb of steamed Dungeness crabmeat or store-bought lump crab meat

Cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

 

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Take the chow mein noodles, separate them in a colander and set near the boiling pot.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter on medium-low heat in a wok or a large sauté pan.

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3. Once the butter is melted, add the scallions, sliced red peppers, garlic and ginger juice. Increase the heat to medium high. Stir with a wooden spoon for about one minute.

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4. Add the oyster sauce, Maggi, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Stir for another minute.

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5. The water should be boiling at this point. Follow the instructions on the noodle package and cook the noodles. (Fresh noodles typically take anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes to cook).

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6. Meanwhile, add the crab to the scallion mixture and toss gently, so as not to break up the meat.

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7. Drain the noodles (but don’t rinse) and add to the crab and scallion mixture. Using tongs, toss gently. Taste for seasoning. Remove from the heat.

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8. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls. Add a few cilantro leaves and sliced red peppers. Give each bowl one turn of the pepper mill. Serve immediately.

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* To make ginger juice,  using a microplane grate about a tablespoon of ginger.  Push it through a sieve to collect the juices. You should have about a teaspoon.

**Maggi Seasoning  can be found in most Asian markets.  It contains MSG, so if you are allergic, you can substitute it with soy sauce.

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Kimchi-Jeon (Kimchi Pancakes)

Korean restaurants serve complimentary side dishes called banchan whenever you order a main dish. Occasionally, you will get a savory pancake served along side the assorted banchan. The most common style of pancake is pa-jeon (scallion pancake) but sometimes, if you get lucky, they will serve complimentary kimchi-jeon (kimchi pancake) instead. Kimchi-jeon is my favorite Korean pancake because of the heat level and intense flavor. I have fond memories of my mom making a huge tower of kimchi-jeon for lunch. My brothers and I would eat them until we were completely stuffed.

Here is an updated version of mom’s recipe. In my recipe, I sauté the onions prior to adding them to the batter to mellow out their sharp bite and to add natural sweetness to the kimchi-jeon. If you don’t like your kimchi-jeon too spicy, you can replace some of the kimchi juice with an equal amount of water. In that case, you should also add a pinch more salt. This recipe only makes two pancakes, unlike my mom’s recipe which can feed an army. I like to serve it as part of a larger Korean meal with other banchan. Enjoy!

Kimchi-Jeon (Kimchi Pancakes)

Yield: 2 large pancakes (4 servings as an appetizer)

 

Sunflower seed oil or organic canola oil

1/4 cup of chopped onions

1/2 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup of kimchi juice

2 tablespoons of water

1 large egg

3/4 cup of chopped kimchi

2 scallions, sliced crosswise

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

Black sesame for garnish, optional

Organic soy sauce for serving

 

1. Heat a medium sauté pan to medium-low heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the the chopped onions. Sauté for 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

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2. In a large bowl, add the flour, water, kimchi juice, and egg. Whisk well.

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3. Add the chopped kimchi, cooked onions, scallions, salt, black pepper, and sesame.

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4. Heat a cast iron or heavy bottom frying pan to medium heat. Add a couple tablespoons of oil.

5. Add a ladle full of batter and spread to flatten and evenly distribute the kimchi.
Fry for 2 minutes or until golden brown.

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6. Flip over and fry the other side for 2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Repeat to with the 2nd pancake.

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7. Using kitchen scissors, cut each pancake into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle black sesame seeds on top. Serve with soy sauce. They are best eaten when warm.

Cranberry-Almond Oat Bars

 

I enjoy a good granola bar from time to time, especially when I am in a hurry and don’t have time for breakfast. It’s also great for an afternoon snack when you’re on the run. Store-bought granola bars tend to have too much sugar and unnecessary preservatives, though, so I prefer to I bake my own, which lets me control the sugar and also use the best ingredients. This oat bar recipe has dried cranberries, sliced almonds, coconut, coconut oil and other healthy ingredients. The egg white helps bind all the dry ingredients. This recipe is relatively easy as long as you have everything in front of you, as you should be able to assemble these granola bars in less than 30 minutes. They are perfect to pack in your kid’s lunchbox or to wrap up and keep one in your bag. Enjoy!

 

Cranberry-Almond Oat Bars

Yield: 2 dozen

 

2 3/4 cups of quick cooking rolled oats, like McCann’s

1/2 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons of flax seeds

3/4 teaspoon of baking soda

3/4 teaspoon of flaky sea salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

3/4 cup of dried cranberries

1/2 cup of sliced almonds, toasted*

1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup of honey

1/4 cup of packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup of coconut oil, melted

1 egg white, beaten until foamy

 

1. Heat the oven to 325°. Spray 13 x 9 aluminum baking pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2. Add the oats, flour, flax seeds, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir well with a fork.

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3. Stir in the dry cranberries and almonds.

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4. Whisk the honey, light brown sugar and coconut oil in a small bowl, until well blended.

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5. Pour the honey mixture over the dry mixture and mix well with a rubber spatula. Then fold in the beaten egg whites.

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6. Pour into the greased baking pan and press down evenly until nice and firm.
Place pan in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until nice golden brown.

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7. Remove from oven and let it cool on a wire rack until cool.

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8. With a serrated knife, cut into 24 squares.

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9. Store in an air tight container for up to 1 week.

 

*To toast sliced almonds, place them in a 350° oven for 5 minutes. Let the almonds cool completely before using.

Gumbo Ya-Ya

One of my favorite culinary destinations is New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans is a melting pot of many immigrant cultures, but the French influence is quite apparent all around the city, but especially in the French Quarter. From the beignets at Cafe du Monde to escargot at Galatoire’s, the French culture is a major influence on their cuisine. And of course Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, the last day to eat rich and party before fasting for lent. Today, we celebrate Mardi Gras and it’s the perfect reason to share my gumbo recipe.

Gumbo is one of my favorite New Orleans dishes because it is delicious, spicy, hearty and full of great flavors. The key to a good gumbo is slow-cooked dark roux (a thickener made with butter and flour). In this recipe, the roux takes about an hour to cook. The original recipe for Gumbo Ya-Ya was created by the late Paul Prudhomme, who was an amazing New Orleans chef. This gumbo has chicken and andouille sausage (a firm Cajun sausage full of great spices), but if you can’t find andouille sausage, you can alway substitute Louisiana hot or mild links. This is not a quick recipe, but completely worth it in the end. I aways reserve making gumbo for special occasions and there’s no better time than Mardi Gras. Enjoy!

Gumbo Ya-Ya

Serving Size 4-6

2 lbs of organic chicken thighs

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil or other neutral oil

10 cups of water

1 carrot, cut into 3 pieces

1 stalk of celery, cut in 3 pieces

1 onion, quartered

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter

3/4 cup of Sonora wheat or unbleached all-purpose flour

1 bell pepper, small dice

1 sweet onion, small dice

1 celery stalk, small dice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon of Creole Seasoning  (can be store bought)

1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon of chili powder

1/4 teaspoon of dried hot red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons of Kosher salt, more to taste

2 andouille sausages or Louisiana smoked hot links (about 10 ounces), cut into 1/4 inch-thick slices

1/2 teaspoon of file powder

3 cups of steamed long-grain rice, converted

Chopped parsley

Louisiana hot sauce for serving (optional)

 

1. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with a generous amount of Kosher salt on the skin side. Heat a large pot, preferably enamel coated cast-iron, to medium-high heat. Add the oil. Place chicken thighs in the pot, skin-side down. Sprinkle the other side of the chicken with more Kosher salt. Sear the chicken skin until it gets golden and crispy (about 5-7 minutes). Turn the chicken thighs over and cook for another 5 minutes.

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2. Remove the chicken thighs and place on a plate. Pour the chicken grease into a small Pyrex bowl or a heat-proof bowl and reserve for later. You should have about a 1/4 cup.

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3. Add the chicken thighs back to the pot, along with 10 cups of water, the carrots, celery, onion and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a low simmer and place the lid on top. You will braise the chicken for about an hour.

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4. Meanwhile, heat another large pot to low heat. Add the butter and the reserved chicken grease into the pot. Once the butter is completely melted, gradually add in the flour while stirring with a wooden spoon. You will continue to stir and cook the roux for about 1 hour until you get a dark chocolate color. Don’t get tempted to leave the roux unattended. It is important to constantly stir throughout the whole process.

5. Check on the chicken. It should be tender, almost falling off the bone. Remove the chicken thighs using tongs, place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Quickly strain broth through a chinois (or a fine mesh sieve) into a large bowl and reserve the broth for the gumbo.

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6. Once the roux is nice and dark, add all the diced bell peppers. Stir for 30 seconds. Add the diced onions and stir for another 30 seconds. Add the garlic and chopped thyme and stir for 15 more seconds.

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7. Slowly add the broth to the roux mixture while stirring, two cups at a time, for a total of eight cups. (Save any remaining broth to thin out the gumbo later.) Add all the dry seasoning, bay leaf and the andouille sausage. Give it a good stir and bring to a boil.

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8. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure you skim the fat on the surface.

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9. While the gumbo is simmering, take the braised chicken and remove the meat off the bone, pulling it into to bite-sized shreds. Discard the bones.

10. After the gumbo has simmered for 30 minutes, add the file powder and the shredded chicken pieces. Add more broth or water if the broth is too thick. Give it gentle stir. Simmer for another 20 minutes.

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11. Taste for seasoning and adjust as need.

12. To serve, ladle the gumbo into shallow bowls. Add some steamed rice into the gumbo and sprinkle some chopped parsley on top. Serve with your favorite Louisiana hot sauce.

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