One of the biggest food tasting celebrations in Central Florida is commemorating its 20th anniversary; Men Cooking from the Heart will again show off the culinary madness of over 50 volunteer chefs throughout Brevard. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida’s 20th annual event will be Saturday, March 22, at the Melbourne Auditorium.

The event includes tastings of dishes prepared by local volunteer chefs, live entertainment, and live and silent auctions.
The annual tasty fundraising event supports the screening and training of adults for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida’s four types of programs in Brevard County that assist youth in achieving their highest potential as they grow to become responsible, productive, happy, and healthy young men and women.

This event enables Big Brothers Big Sisters to positively impact hundreds of children right here in the community – in schools, in neighborhoods, and right down the street.  The awards for “Big Brother Big Sister of the Year” will also be presented.

20th Annual Men Cooking From the Heart

Saturday, March 22, 6 p.m.
Melbourne Auditorium
625 E. Hibiscus Blvd.
Melbourne  or (407) 478-2996 ext. 119

Simple Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
Chef Recipe from Corkey Newman, chef chair

1 cup oil
1 cup flour
2 large onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
4 quarts chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, or to taste
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Season the chicken with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning and brown quickly. Brown the sausage, pour off fat and reserve meats.
In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil and cook the flour in the oil over medium to high heat (depending on your roux-making skill), stirring constantly, until the roux reaches a dark reddish-brown color, almost the color of coffee or milk chocolate for a Cajun-style roux. If you want to save time, or prefer a more New Orleans-style roux, cook it to a medium, peanut-butter color, over lower heat if you’re nervous about burning it.

Add the vegetables and stir quickly. This cooks the vegetables and also stops the roux from cooking further. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes.

Add the stock, seasonings, chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, and then cook for about one hour, skimming fat off the top as needed. Add the chopped scallion tops and parsley, and heat for five minutes. Serve over rice in large shallow bowls. Accompany with a good beer and lots of hot, crispy French bread.