PAIRED: Adding wow to winter meals with Paella, Gumbo and Ramen

Bold flavors of Ramen, New Orleans Style Gumbo and Spanish style Paella add zest to winter meals


We are in the dead of winter, we’re bored of typical winter meals but we still need dinner. Consider adding some color and ethnic flair to your meals by incorporating ramen, gumbo and paella into your recipes.

This week on Paired Chef Mary will be discussing bold flavors found in traditional and non-traditional Ramen, New Orleans Style Gumbo and Spanish style Paella. These delicious meals can taste authentic and can come right out of your own kitchen, the flavors are so bold and tantalizing that you’ll feel as if someone else made dinner and lastly the flavor combination is so different it’ll give you a break from your weekly repertoire.

Paired can be found live on at 6:30 pm EST, every episode then available On Demand

Don’t forget to follow Chef Mary on Twitter @chefmarymoran for all of her latest articles, food talk and ingredient finds.

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Chef Mary’s Gumbo

This Gumbo recipe is really tame and lovely. It is a thinner broth and not as spicy as traditional Gumbo, but by doubling the roux recipe and adding more pepper and spicier sausage you can make it a thick and spicy dish!


1 can diced tomatoes

4 chicken thighs

1/3-cup carrots, small diced

1/3 cup yellow onion, small diced

1/3-cup celery, small diced

1 green bell pepper, deseeded and small diced

1 red bell pepper, deseeded and small diced

2 bay leaves

1-heaping spoonful of Better than Bouillon organic chicken base or Pacific Chicken broth.

10 cups of water (but only if you use Better than bouillon, if you use stock you don’t need to use water too)

6 tablespoons butter

¼ cup of flour

6 whole frozen okra, cut into small circles

½ smoked turkey sausage, cut into small diced (Andouille sausage can be used)




In a large soup pot melt one tablespoon of butter.

Add the carrots, onion, celery (mirepoix) to the pot.

Cook the mirepoix for 6 minutes and season it with salt and pepper.

Next add the red and green bell pepper and continue to sauté the vegetables for another five minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking add butter to a sauté pan and when it is completely melted stir in the flour.

Cook the butter and flour mixture for 7 minutes on low heat, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula.

When the flour and butter mixture (roux) smells nutty and has turned a dark brown color, add it to the vegetables.

Cook the roux into the vegetables for two minutes and then add the chicken base and water or the chicken stock.

Next add the bay leaf, the diced chicken thighs and the sausage to the pot.

Bring it to a boil and add the okra, canned tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Simmer for 20 minutes on low.

Serve with white rice.

Pork Ramen Soup

Pork Ramen Soup
Serves 4

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 boneless pork chops (1/2 inch thick; about 1/2 pound total) or make braised pork belly (see how here)
kosher salt and black pepper
8 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (preferably homemade)
1 tablespoon white wine or mirin
2 3-ounce packages ramen noodles (discard the seasoning packets)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 large carrot, grated
2 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the oil. Season the pork with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook until cooked through, 4 minutes per side. Place on a plate, cover with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing.

Tun the heat to low and add the scallion whites and ginger to the drippings in the Dutch oven. Cook, stirring, until softened, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the broth and wine and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and boil, stirring occasionally, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Pour any juices from the pork that have collected on the plate into the soup.

Serve the soup in big bowls topped with the pork, carrot, radishes, cilantro, and scallion greens.

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  • JWPicht

    We usually eat gumbo over rice down here (Louisiana), but I had it at a friend’s house a while back and he had his over potato salad. He said that’s how they do it in his hometown. I gave it a try, and it was amazing. The potato salad sort of melted into the gumbo – it was rich, creamy, delicious.