Kentucky Gumbo?

This morning while reading an article in the April 2008 issue of Food & Wine, about the Kendall-Jackson winery, I came upon a recipe for Chicken-and-Sausage Gumbo. It’s a favorite of vintner Jess Jackson when he visits his horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Yes, they’re serving Gumbo in Kentucky!

Since it’s a cold and rainy morning in Central Indiana I thought I’d give it a try (actually turned out to be a nice day!). What kind of gumbo can you actually get in the Bluegrass State? We’re going to find out!

One of the main ingredients that makes this a gumbo (vs. a soup or stew) is andouille sausage (a little difficult to find in Indiana). It took me a while but I finally found what I was looking for at a local chain store & headed home to give it a shot.

I took a few pictures with my Treo 700wx but they didn’t turn out very well (note to self, break out the Nikon when taking pictures for the Blog). I pulled out my favorite Le Creuset dutch oven and got to work.

The basic steps of the recipe are:

  1. Brown Chicken & set aside (remove the skin after browning)
  2. Brown sausage & set aside
  3. Cook vegetables & add some flour
  4. Deglaze with chicken stock & add diced tomatoes
  5. Return everything to the pot for a 30-40 minute simmer
  6. Shred the chicken, slice the sausage & add some cooked rice
  7. Enjoy!

Overall it’s a pretty easy recipe only requiring a few ingredients. While not true Gumbo it’s pretty darn close.

About 30 minutes later it was time to pull the chicken from the vat of boiling goodness & shred it up (easier said than done with a mass of protein that’s been in 200-degree liquid for half an hour…

The article recommended a side of Cream Biscuits with Dill (these were AWESOME) as well as a bottle of Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay (nice wine!). Might as well go for the full effect! The wine was easy enough to locate at my neighborhood chain grocery store but it was almost double the estimated price in the magazine article…

The dish was a big hit with the family & we even had enough left over for lunch the next day (it reheats very well). If you’re looking for something a little different, give this recipe a try. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

South Side Soda Shop and Diner – Goshen, Indiana

Located in a neighborhood setting south of the Goshen courthouse, the South Side Soda Shop and Diner was my destination for lunch this rainy Thursday.  Because of the location parking is at a premium, but I lucked out and found a close spot.

Made famous to non-locals by the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network, this place seems to be a destination for locals and foodies.  As a case in point, I overheard an older couple in the booth next to be going on and on about the real lemon zest in their lemon meringue pie (only foodies do that).  Naturally I had to order a slice to validate their claim, but we’ll cover that later.

When I was waiting to be seated, a gentleman paying his bill commented on how good the “real grilled tenderloin” was.  Looking for a light lunch, once seated I opted to go the pork route.  The “grilled” pork tenderloin sandwich ($4.80) is actually done on a flat top grill, not over an open flame as I was assuming.  It comes with Lettuce, tomato and mayo. Making the order a “Basket” ($1.25) added a nice portion of shoestring fries and a small cup of coleslaw.  Knowing I was probably going to have to verify the zesty claim I opted for a diet soda ($1.40) like it matters at this point.

I’ll have agree with the gentleman I mentioned earlier, it was a really good sandwich.  The fries were nice and crisp and the coleslaw had a nice tang.  Now that I’ve devoured the sandwich and sides it was time for desert.

I don’t really have a sweet tooth but I had to taste this lemon zest for myself (that’s my story).  The lemon meringue pie ($2.25) was a pretty decent sized slice with a nice pile of chewy browned meringue on the top.  How did it taste you ask?  VERY lemony & quite delicious (good call grandpa)!

Total bill for this visit was $12.48 ($10.48 + $2.00 Tip).

The South Side Soda Shop and Diner is located at 1122 South Main Street.  They are open Tue-Sat from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Creekside Lodge – Crawfordsville, Indiana

Hidden among the trees on Lafayette Avenue the The Creekside Lodge (Restaurant & Lounge) is a great find in a town with only a few options for a decent lunch (more reviews on the good Crawfordsville spots in future blog posts). I’ve dined here before but I was not writing a Blog yet so I’m going to treat this as a “first visit” report.

Open for just under 2 years, the Creekside Lodge is housed in what was once the Clements Canoe Outdoor Center along Sugar Creek in Crawfordsville, Indiana. I arrived at 11:30 am to find only a few cars in the parking lot. This place can get busy around noon in the summer months (my last visit to this place).

I was seated immediately in a spacious booth overlooking the covered patio and ordered up an Iced tea ($1.75). After a quick glance at the Lunch Menu, I decided on a traditional BLT with chips ($4.95) A BLT was something I was planning on fixing myself this past weekend but never got around to it.

The Lunch Menu offers quite a variety. Some highlights:

  • Spinach Artichoke Dip appetizer ($6.95)
  • Various Pizzas ($6.75 to $10.50)
  • Pork Tenderloin (Traditional Indiana food!) ($5.95)
  • Olive Burger (Burger with Green Olive Sauce) ($7.49)
  • Several Salad choices ($2.00 to $7.50)

Once my BLT arrived I was pleased with the amount of B and T! The bread was toasted nicely and the lettuce was fresh (not always easy to find in November). The accompanying chips were the “Ridged” variety and nicely salted. I’m usually a big eater at lunch but I’ll have to say this amount of food was just about right today.

Total bill for this visit was $8.60 ($7.10 + $1.50 Tip).

The Creekside Lodge offers carry-out and the lounge is open until Midnight Monday-Saturday. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled when you go there for the first time. It’s an easy place to miss!

As I travel throughout Indiana on business I plan on writing about the lunch stops along my way. If you have a favorite lunch place, be sure to email me and I’ll see if I can add it to my itinerary.

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