In the SoFAB Kitchen: An Ode to Innovation

The Rouse's Culinary Innovation Center by Jenn-Air (aka the CIC or the SoFab Kitchen) is loaded with fantastic appliances (built-in, counter-top and hand-held) compliments of our many generous sponsors including Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, Lodge, Microplane, Anolon and Wusthof. We think we can accomplish pretty much anything in this kitchen, BUT (and this is a big one) sometimes we cannot figure out how to use our own appliances (embarrassing, I know). We need a bit of guidance so we can use these marvels of technology to their greatest capacity.

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Luckily, when problems happen our sponsors come to the rescue. This happened a few weeks ago when KitchenAid flew in a pair of private chefs and KitchenAid instructors to educate the staff, some friends and guests. Jonathan and Carlin inspired us all to experiment more fully with our collection, and we'll soon begin developing programming to showcase a few things specifically. Given the nature of how we cook in Southeast Louisiana, I want to start with the KitchenAid Multi Cooker with the Stirring Tower. We've christened this the Roux Robot. This four-quart gadget allows the cook extra settings between 110ºF and 450ºF, more than the usual slow cooker, and also provides settings to steam or boil, sauté, sear, simmer, and slow cook. There are also pre-programmed risotto, soup, rice, and yogurt settings.

We decided to put this fancy machine through it's paces by starting with a roux, that tricky, time consuming base of so many good dishes. To make the roux we dumped in one cup of vegetable oil and one cup of flour. We cranked up the heat as high as it would go and set the stirrer to go slow but constantly at first. As the color of the roux developed we upped the stirring speed. As we approached 20 minutes of effortless roux making, we had achieved the Cajun gold standard: a nearly black, silken, speck-free roux. It was perfect! We dumped in a cup of minced onions to stop the cooking. We killed the heat but kept the mixture stirring as we watched the onions caramelize before our eyes.

A star was born. If this catches on in our part of the country lives will change.


Classic Cajun Chicken & Andouille Gumbo

  • Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • bacon drippings or lard
  • 1 chicken, cut up and boned
  • 1 1/2 pounds Andouille sausage
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 8 cups chicken stock, hot
  • 2 cups chopped green onions
  • cooked rice
  • hot French bread
  • filé powder

Season the chicken with the Creole seasoning and brown the chicken in lard or bacon drippings over medium heat. Add the sausage to pot and cook until the fat has rendered out. Remove both from the pot with a slotted spoon. Measure out the oil remaining in the pot and add enough vegetable oil to make 1 cup. Wipe out the pot. Add the oil and flour to the pot to make a roux. Cook, stirring constantly, until dark brown in color, about 20 minutes. (If you have a KitchenAid Multi Cooker with the Stirring Tower, sit back and relax for 20 minutes)

Add the onions, celery and green pepper and sauté until the onions have caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and stir constantly until fragrant.  Return the chicken and sausage to pot and cook until heated through, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in the hot stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until thickened, about one hour. Season to taste with Creole or Cajun seasoning. Stir in the green onions 10 minutes before serving.

Serve the gumbo over rice, if desired, accompanied by French bread. Filé should be passed at the table for guests to add. One-fourth to 1/2 teaspoon per serving is recommended.