The only thing better than a day at the slopes in Aspen, Colorado is a hot soup waiting for you when you get back -- especially when it is -8 degrees Fahrenheit! We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Aspen which was just a short walk from all of the festivities of Aspen's annual winter festival: Winterskol. We witnessed snow carving contests, snowboarding rail shows, and of course attended the annual soup competition. We tried some really amazing soups from New England clam chowder, to loaded baked potato soup, to a spicy shrimp bisque, but the winner was a very unique type of gumbo!
Winning Soup Recipe: Jackalope Gumbo
By Chef Tom Slanga and owner Mike Goldman of Aspen Square Grouper
Yields 5-6 quarts
8 ounces flour
8 ounces butter, bacon drippings, or duck fat
2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
1 pound jackalope sausage (mix of rabbit, antelope, and pork)
1 pound onion
1 pound green bell pepper
1 pound celery
6 cloves garlic
1 ¾ pounds tomatoes
6 ounces tomato paste
2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups shrimp stock
1 pound okra
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons thyme
3 to 4 bay leaves
2 ounces Louisiana hot sauce
2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil for cooking
8 ounces raw shrimp
3 or 4 green onions
1. Combine flour and fat over medium low heat to make the roux, stirring so as not to burn. Cook to a brown color, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and small amount of olive oil. Grill chicken until cooked through. Repeat with the sausage. Cut both to desired size and set aside.
3. In an 8-quart stockpot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery all cut to a medium dice. Cook on medium high heat for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked down. Mince garlic and jalapenos and add to pot, cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook another 5 minutes. Chop tomatoes and add to pot along with the chicken and sausage. Add shrimp stock and 1 ½ quart of the chicken stock along with the bay leaves, thyme, and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, let simmer for an hour.
4. Add 12 ounces of the roux and mix in well. Cut the okra into ½ inch pieces and add, cook for 30 minutes stirring every few minutes to prevent scorching.
5. Add hot sauce and remaining chicken stock and or roux if you need to adjust liquid or thickness. Finish with shrimp and chopped green onion. Let stand 5 minutes for shrimp to cook. Serve over rice.