Category Archives: Main Dish

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo – Louisiana

Louisiana declared gumbo as its state cuisine in 2004. Some scholars think gumbo might have been around as early as the 18th century. The word “gumbo” comes from the West African word for okra, “ki ngombo,” as okra was often used in this dish as a thickening agent.

This rich stew starts with a roux (flour and oil/butter), followed by  what Louisianans lovingly refer to as the “trinity” (onions, peppers

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo - Louisiana and celery). From there, variations abound: some are heavy on the seafood, some favor chicken or pork, and there is even a vegetable version for Lent.

We’ve brought you an adaptation of Emeril Lagasse’s gumbo recipe. We have made it too many times to count. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of time it takes to make, most of it is hands-off and it makes a TON. You can thank us later for the leftovers. You can find filé powder in the international aisle at most large grocery stores or online.

This weekend down in NOLA, parades from the so-called “super krewes” of Orpheus, Bacchus and Endymion will take place, featuring the biggest and most elaborate floats. Check out for a full schedule.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
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  • 4 lb. chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 1-2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 lb. kielbasa sausage
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon filé powder
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • white rice (for serving)
  • hot sauce (for serving, optional)


In a large pot, heat 1-2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Rub chicken thighs with Creole seasoning. Working in batches, saute chicken in oil until it browns, about 5-6 minutes. With tongs, remove chicken to a plate and set aside. Add a ½ cup oil and flour to pot. Scrape up any browned bits on bottom of the pan. Cook roux until dark brown (the color of a tarnished penny), approximately 20 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook them for about 5 minutes. Add the salt, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves. Add the sausage and then the chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for about 1 hour. Add reserved chicken to the pot and cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours until chicken is tender and falling off the bone, occasionally skimming off the excess fat from the top of the gumbo.

Again with tongs, remove chicken from the stew to a clean plate. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Return meat to the gumbo, discarding the bones and fat. Stir in the filé powder, parsley and green onion. Adjust seasonings to taste. Best served over a scoop of white rice.

Recipe by Emeril Lagasse



Chicken Paprikash – Ohio

Tony Packo’s Café in Toledo, Ohio, has been dishing up Hungarian food since 1932 when relatives gave Tony and his wife a $100 loan to open a sandwich shop. Fans of TV’s M*A*S*H might remember

Chicken Paprikash - Ohio

Corporal Klinger (played brilliantly by Jamie Farr) mentioning Tony Packo’s in several episodes.

One of Tony Packo’s signature dishes is their chicken paprikash. This comforting and warming dish is something we grew up eating despite having no Hungarian ties, probably because it was very simple for our working mom to prepare. Serve over egg noodles and with some good, crusty bread to sop up the gravy.

Do not miss the Glass Pavilion in Toledo. Although technically part of the Toledo Museum of Art, the Glass Pavilion is worth a visit alone with over 5,000 pieces of art. Be sure to check out the daily glass blowing demonstrations.

Chicken Paprikash

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • Olive Oil
  • 3-4 lbs. chicken thighs or legs or combination
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 red peppers, cut in 2-inch strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt


In a large cassoulet pan, heat oil on medium heat. Sprinkle chicken pieces well with salt and pepper. Place chicken pieces skin side down and cook until skin is brown and crispy. Turn chicken over and cook another 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.

In the same pan, over medium heat, heat onions and peppers until onions are translucent. Add garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Stir in paprika, making into a paste with the oil and vegetables. Add chicken broth and diced tomatoes. Return chicken to pan. Cook covered on medium low for 25-30 minutes. Add sour cream just before serving.


Hot Tamales – Mississippi

Mississippi boasts a Hot Tamale Trail. Yes, you read that right. Tamales ― those delectable packets of corn-based dough stuffed with pork, beef, chicken, cheese or vegetables and cooked in a corn

Hot Tamales - Mississippihusk ― are usually more associated with Mexican culture. But the trail was created by the Southern Foodways Alliance to celebrate this ubiquitous dish, which finds its way from Tunica in the north, all the way to Lumberton in the south.

No one is really sure of the tamale’s origins in this area of the country. Some say U.S. soldiers brought them back from Mexico after the Mexican-American War which took place in the middle of the 19th century. Others think African-Americans adopted the recipe from Mexicans who labored alongside them in cotton fields early in the 20th century. Hot tamales are usually made with pork rather than beef or chicken, and are spicier than their Latin-counterparts.

Tamales are certainly labor intensive but this recipe makes a ton and they freeze beautifully. You can also make the meat on day one, and then make the dough and simmer them the following day. More hands make light work so grab a friend or two and make it a tamale party.

If a road trip to Mississippi is in your future, check out Southern Foodways Alliance Hot Tamale Trail Map.

Hot Tamales

  • Servings: approx. 36-48 tamales
  • Difficulty: difficult
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For filling:

  • 7-8 lb. pork shoulder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced thickly
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 3-6 cups chicken stock

For dough:

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups MaSeCa brand masa harina
  • 5-6 cups reserved cooking liquid from meat

To finish:

  • 16 oz. package, dried corn husks


For the filling: Take pork shoulder and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large heavy pot on medium heat, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the pork, searing on all sides until well browned. Remove the meat and set aside. Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Return meat to pot, and then add enough chicken stock so that meat is covered. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until meat is very tender and falling off bone, about 2 1/2 hours.

While meat is cooking, take corn husks and separate them. Place in a large bowl. Add enough hot water so that they are completely submerged, adding another bowl on top of them if necessary to keep them underwater. Let corn husks soak for about 2 hours.

When meat is done, remove from it the pot and reserve cooking liquid, discarding skin, fat and other solids. When meat is cool enough to handle, shred meat from bone, again discarding fat and bone. Dice meat into smaller pieces. Add spices (chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt, oregano and cayenne pepper) and stir until well coated. Set aside.

For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add baking powder, then add salt. With mixer on low, add masa harina gradually, alternating with half cups of reserved cooking liquid. To test if done, drop a pea sized ball of dough into a glass of cold water, the ball should float to the top. If it does not, add a ¼ teaspoon of baking powder and continue mixing a few minutes more to incorporate more air into the dough.

To assemble: Remove a corn husk from the water and pat until dry. Fan out so that wide part is closest to you. Take ¼ cup of dough and spread thinly in an even rectangle, leaving about an inch of space on the left side of the husk. Add 2 tablespoons of meat in center of dough rectangle. Carefully fold the husk over so that the right side of rectangle meets the left side. Gently press to seal closed and then flatten tamale slightly to ensure even cooking. Tuck the thin end over. Stack tamales on a sheet pan and continue until you run out of filling or dough.

To steam tamales: Add one or two inches of water into a large pot. Add steamer insert. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low so that water is simmering. Stack tamales vertically, open end up, folded side toward the water, making sure they are not crowded. Place a few extra corn husks on top and cover with a lid. Steam for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, keeping an eye on the water so that it does not evaporate. Tamales are done when they easily peel away from the husks.

Nashville Hot Chicken – Tennessee

Nashville is a fun town, boasting more than 160 live music venues, giving Music City its well-earned moniker. Hot chicken hails from these parts and was born from revenge. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack

Nashville Hot Chicken - Tennesseemay be the oldest establishment to make this dish, dating back to the 1930s. The story is that Thorton Prince III was a womanizer. His girlfriend found out about his philandering and added spicy cayenne pepper to his chicken to punish him. However, Prince liked it so much, he decided to open a chicken joint with it on the menu.

You can make Nashville Hot Chicken yourself with a little bit of patience as fried chicken takes a bit of time. Two tablespoons of cayenne pepper is not a typo and is unbelievably the amount called for if you want the chicken “mild.” Reduce to one tablespoon if you are really spice-adverse and increase to 6 tablespoons for “hot” ― if you dare.

Want to see the recording studio where Elvis recorded more than 250 hits? Check out Historic RCA Studio B, an unassuming beige brick building sometimes called the “Home of a Thousand Hits.” Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, and many others recorded here.

Nashville Hot Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 1 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the egg dredge:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot sauce

For the flour dredge:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

For finishing:

  • Vegetable oil (for frying), 6 cups
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup used frying oil


At least 3 hours before cooking, generously salt and pepper the chicken pieces. Let marinate in the refrigerator.

When ready to cook, heat oil in a large pot with deep sides. Prepare egg dredge by combining eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce in a shallow baking dish. In another shallow dish, prepare flour dredge by combining flour and salt. One at a time, dip chicken pieces first in egg dredge, then in flour dredge. When oil is 325 degrees, fry chicken, working in batches, frying a few pieces at a time. Turn pieces occasionally to achieve consistent color. When chicken is deep golden brown or reaches 160 degrees internally, remove to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet lined with newspaper or paper towels. Let oil temperature return to 325 between batches.

To finish: In a small bowl, combine cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Take ½ cup of the used cooking oil, and add to bowl. Stir well. With a brush, baste pieces of chicken with hot oil mixture. Serve chicken while still warm.

Thai Basil Chicken – Nevada

We read that there are 450 Thai restaurants in Las Vegas. While we couldn’t confirm that number, it does seem that every corner, block and strip mall has a Thai eatery, no doubt the result of a sizable

Thai Basil Chicken - Nevadapopulation of Thais who have immigrated to Clark County. If you are ever in Vegas, stand outs Lemongrass on the strip or Le Thai in downtown are worth the visit.

But if you can’t make it there, you can always try making Thai Basil Chicken. Basically a stir fry, this dish whips up very quickly as stir fries do. Try to find Thai holy basil which has a peppery kick, but if you can’t, regular basil will work. You can also omit the chili peppers if you don’t like heat.

One of the first reclamation projects along the Colorado River, the Hoover Dam is a sight to behold, supplying electricity to 100,000 households. Tours of the dam take place from 9:00 to 5:00 daily.

Thai Basil Chicken

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 small chili peppers (such as red fresno or jalapeno), deveined and deseeded and diced
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breast, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup Thai holy basil (can sub other basil)
  • Olive oil


In a wok or shallow sided pan, add a bit of olive oil and sauté garlic and chili peppers until fragrant, careful not to brown garlic. Add more oil, and then chicken. Sauté until chicken begins to brown. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Stir to combine (if mixture seems too dry, add additional oyster sauce and soy sauce by the teaspoon). Add basil and cook one minute longer, or until it begins to wilt. Serve with rice.

UP Pasties – Michigan

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is known for its pasties (pronounced pass-tee) which are meat pies, usually filled with potatoes, onions and carrots and sometimes rutabaga. The pasty

UP Pasties - Michigan

was brought to the UP by the Cornish who settled there to be copper miners. Much like it’s cousin, the pepperoni roll of West Virginia, the pasty was a quick, easy and filling meal that miners could pack for lunch. Bonus: it didn’t have to be heated to be delicious.

We loved this recipe, slighted adapted from one sent to us by reader Russell Primm. UP PastiesThe dough came together easily and the filling was delicious. Thanks Russ!

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising hugs the shore of Lake Superior. With its dramatic sandstone cliffs and iconic sandstone feature called Miners Castle, this beautiful area offers all kinds of outdoor pursuits including hiking, fishing, swimming, and kayaking.

UP Pasties

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


For dough:

  • 4 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup ice water

For filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, diced
  • 1 cup grated rutabaga
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups ground beef
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter


For dough:

In a medium bowl, add flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the shortening and blend with a pastry blender. Add the ice water, a bit at a time until the dough comes together. Divide dough into 6 equal disks. Place between sheets of waxed paper. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

For filling and finishing pasties:

In the meantime, combine potatoes, onion, rutabaga and carrots in a very large bowl. Add ground beef. Stir until well combined.

Roll out each pasty dough into a 7- or 8-inch circle. Add a heaping cup of filling. Sprinkle filling with salt and pepper and a teaspoon of butter. Fold the dough over, forming a half moon. Roll the edges closed, slightly crimping with fingers, making sure the dough is sealed. Repeat with remaining dough disks. Place pasties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut two small slits in each pasty to vent steam. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake 20-30 more or until pasties are golden brown.

Turkey, Orange and Rosemary Kebabs – Minnesota

The Gopher State is the number one producer of turkey in the country, raising approximately 44 to 46 million birds annually, according to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. Turkey

Turkey, Orange and Rosemary Kebabs, Minnesota

has more protein than chicken or beef and is lower in calories and fat, making it a good, heart healthy choice.

Even if summer is slowly slipping away, we couldn’t resist this tasty kebab recipe. We can grill outside until it snows, right?

If you are Twin Cities bound, be sure to check out the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, part of the Walker Arts Center. Forty works are highlighted, including the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.

Turkey, Orange and Rosemary Kebabs

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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• 10 ounces orange marmalade
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 teaspoons orange zest
• 2 pounds boneless turkey breast, cut into 1-inch pieces (can use chicken)
• Salt
• Pepper
• Orange slices, cut thinly (optional)

Place marmalade in a small sauce pan and heat until melted. Combine marmalade and next six ingredients (mustard through orange zest) in shallow dish or ziptop bag. Mix well. Liberally salt and pepper the turkey, then add to marinade, tossing until well coated. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours, longer if you can.

When ready to grill, thread meat on skewers, along with orange slices, if using. Grill the kebabs, turning occasionally, until meat is no longer pink, about 10-12 minutes.

Crab Salad – Maryland

When you think of Maryland, you probably think of the Chesapeake Bay and if you think of the Chesapeake Bay, you probably think of blue crabs. The bay is an estuary (where saltwater and freshwater

Crab Salad - Maryland

mix) and the perfect environment for blue crab. In fact, the Chesapeake Bay produces 50 percent of the blue crab harvest in the United States.

If it’s hot where you are, you might welcome this no-cook crab salad recipe that does not involve an oven. We served this on endive boats for a lovely appetizer pre-concert, but you could put it on crackers or even a soft roll for a crab salad sammie.

Check out the wild horses on Assateague Island National Seashore, near Ocean City, where you can swim, hike the beach, kayak, fish or birdwatch.

Crab Salad

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 8 oz. fresh crab meat
  • Old Bay seasoning, to taste


In a medium bowl, add celery, scallion, mustard and mayo. Mix until well combined. Gently fold in crab meat, taking care not to break up large lumps or claw meat. Add Old Bay seasoning to taste. Let chill before serving.

New York System Hot Wieners – Rhode Island

Calling all hot dog aficionados. Yes, we acknowledge that the name of this dish is confusing. Why are Rhode Island hot dogs called “New York System Hot Wieners”? As best we can determine, New York

NY System Wieners - Rhode Island

System is a nod to New York’s Coney Island and might have been used as a marketing strategy at the turn of the century. These dogs, usually a mixture of veal and pork with a super snappy casing, are doused with yellow mustard, then a chili beef mixture, raw chopped onions, and finally a dusting of celery salt. Of course, every Rhode Island hot dog joint and every Rhode Island family has their favorite recipe so a quick Google search will yield many variations. We tinkered with the spices a bit and came up with this recipe which we think you will love, not too sweet but definitely sassy. It’ll elevate your dogs from humdrum to wicked good. These would be a welcome addition to any Memorial Day celebration no matter what part of the country you happen to be.

The Cliff Walk in Newport was designated a National Recreation Trail way back in 1975. This three and a half mile walk hugs the eastern shore of Newport with stunning ocean vistas on one side and the backyards of Gilded Age mansions on the other.

New York System Hot Wieners

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1 lb. 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup water
  • 16 hot dogs, cooked
  • 16 hot dog buns
  • Yellow mustard
  • Chopped onion (for garnish)
  • Celery salt (for garnish)


In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add butter. Once melted, add onion, cook until translucent. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, approximately 15 minutes. Break up large chunks of meat with potato masher. Add Worcestershire sauce, spices and ¼ cup water. Stir until spices are completely incorporated.

To prepare wieners, microwave buns for 15 seconds. Add hot dog, mustard, approximately two tablespoons of beef mixture and chopped onion. Top with celery salt.

Would You Like Fries with That: Pittsburgh Salad

A Pittsburgh salad is a unique, regional dish that few outsiders know about. Well, we here in the StateEats Kitchen are about to break open the lid on one of the best taste sensations east of the Monongahela River. The recipe, purportedly created in the 1960s at a drive-in called Jerry’s Curb Service, can vary a bit.

Pittsburgh Salad

The greens are usually romaine. Toss on a few veggies, usually English cucumber, red onion and tomatoes, but add whatever you like. Thinly sliced steak is the most common protein, (use your favorite) but you can sub in chicken if you’d prefer. Add some shaved Parmesan cheese, or crumbled blue if you want to get crazy. However, the two “musts” for this dish include crunchy croutons and French fries. Yes, you read that right. Croutons and FRIES. We might have died and gone to heaven. Anytime you can turn something virtuous into something a little bit naughty is a win in our book. Top with ranch dressing and have it at. You’re welcome.

Check out the Andy Warhol Museum right near the confluence of the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio Rivers. Pittsburgh’s native son is honored with seven floors of prints, sculpture, paintings, film and video, and other documents of the artist’s life.

Pittsburgh Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 3-4 steaks, grilled and then thinly sliced
  • 6 cups chopped romaine salad
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced thinly
  • Baby tomatoes, halved
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved or cheese of your choice
  • Croutons
  • French fries
  • Ranch dressing


Top romaine salad with cuke, red onion, and baby tomatoes or vegetables of your choice. Add sliced steak, the croutons and fries. Top with dressing.