Better Homes & Gardens Gumbo — 3 of 5 stars

I know, I know.  You’ve missed me terribly during my unannounced and unacceptable posting hiatus.  I have no good reason as to why I did not post a review of *anything* I’ve made in the mast two months.  Please accept my apologies.

That said, here’s a very quick review of a dish I made not-so-recently.  I made the Slow Cooker Chicken and Sausage Gumbo by Better Homes and Gardens.  I found the recipe in one of those fancy things called a cookbook, and not the web, but that’s neither here nor there.  I followed the recipe almost exactly as stated, except I increased the red pepper from 1/4 teaspoon to just under a teaspoon.  One thing I did not expect about this recipe was the amount of prep work involved.  Between creating the roux, cooking the sausage, cooking the chicken, chopping all the vegetables, and then cutting the cooked meat, I spent at least an hour the night before prepping for this meal.  Granted, it was nice the day of to just throw everything in the crock pot and rest while the meal cooked itself (oh, right.  Did I not mention I decided to have a dinner party while I was recovering from the flu?)  Although the prep work was time consuming, it was not difficult, so that was nice.  My roux turned out beautifully, so I was even happier.

I served this dish with cornbread only.  With all the veggies in the gumbo itself, I didn’t see the need to add an additional side dish.  The pairing worked well.  If only we’d had some red wine…

And now for the review of the food itself.  To quote a friend of mine, "Meh."  It certainly wasn’t a bad meal, but it was the standout dish I had hoped for.  I also think it needs something red (like a red bell pepper instead of the green bell pepper) to be more visually appealing.  Come to think of it, I think I didn’t enjoy this dish as much because it wasn’t very spicy.  I understand some people don’t like spice, but to me, it’s necessary.  My guests, however, enjoyed the gumbo; I think everyone had seconds.  One person didn’t even realize he was eating okra!  If the prep work took only 30 minutes, I’d say this dish would work well for a middle of a busy dish week.  It’s filling, fairly tasty, and it’s made in the crock pot.  I probably won’t use this dish for another dinner party though.  Not just because I don’t like to repeat recipes, but I want something with a bit more pop.

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