Top chefs cook for the Anti-Cruelty Society
Glencoe native Lisa Clark, a volunteer at The Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, walks “Polonia,” a 10-year-old Shepherd mix female available for adoption. | Photo by The Anti-Cruelty Society
‘It’s Raining Cats and Dogs’
Benefit for the Anti-Cruelty Society at the Chicago Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe, Chicago
Tickets start at $175
For tickets or information, see itsrainingcatsanddogs.org
Heaven on Seven Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Chef Jimmy Bannos shares his recipe for the dish he’ll make for “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs”
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ¾-inch cubes
4 teaspoons plus ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 cup yellow onion, diced
¾ cup green onion, white and green parts, thinly sliced
½ cup red onion, diced
2 cups green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 tablespoon jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon Roasted-Garlic Puree (see below)
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
¼ teaspoon white pepper, ground
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
1 small bay leaf
6 1/3 cups chicken stock
1 cup Dark Roux (see below)
¼ teaspoon filé powder (see note)
Desired amount of cooked white rice
Toss the chicken and 4 teaspoons of the Cajun seasoning together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
In a large (7-quart) heavy Dutch oven, preferably enameled cast iron, heat the oil over high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the andouille sausage and brown for six minutes, stirring frequently. Add the seasoned chicken and cook for four minutes, stirring occasionally.
Mix in the bell pepper, celery, jalapeno, and garlic puree, and sauté for two minutes. Add the basil, oregano, ground black and white peppers, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and remaining ½ teaspoon of Cajun seasoning; cook for two minutes more.
Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Whisk in the roux a little at a time and stir continuously for five minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for one hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the filé powder. Do not let the mixture boil once you have added the filé powder. Remove the bay leaf.
Serve with cooked white rice. Serves 6 people
1 cup garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup extra virgin or regular olive oil
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Place the garlic in a small ovenproof container and pour in the oil. Use additional oil if needed to completely immerse all the garlic cloves. Cover the container with aluminum foil and roast for 1 hour, until garlic is soft and light golden brown.
Strain the garlic and place in a blender along with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Puree to a smooth consistency, adding a small amount of oil if necessary. Pour into a container and cover the top of the puree with a thin layer of the oil. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Makes one cup.
Reserve the remaining garlic-infused oil in another container and refrigerate.
2 cups canola oil
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Heat oil in a 4-quart dutch oven over high heat until very hot, about three minutes. Carefully whisk in the flour a little at a time until all the flour is incorporated. (The mixture will foam up as you add the flour, so add a small amount at a time.)
Reduce the heat to medium and stir continuously, preferably with a flat-edged wooded spoon, for 22-25 minutes, until the roux is a dark brown. To prevent the roux from cooking any further, carefully pour it into a heat-proof bowl and cool for 45 minutes. Drain of any oil that separates from the roux.
Store the roux in a covered container and refrigerate.
Makes 2 cups.
Updated: October 21, 2012 12:25PM
It’s raining cats and dogs at The Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago — or so it seems lately.
Shelter managers, while reporting higher numbers of needy animals than usual, say proceeds from an event on Oct. 26 — aptly named “It’s Raining Cats & Dogs”— will help build an $8 million veterinarian clinic to support the burgeoning population at the 113-year-old animal sanctuary.
Supporters from all walks will come out for this celebration. “It’s all about the animals. They have no words, and they are counting on us to translate for them,” says Scott Cabot, a Deerfield resident.
Cabot’s first dog, Curley, was adopted from The Anti-Cruelty Society in 1963. He and his wife, Janet, adopted their dogs Sunny and Daisy there in 2010. Cabot and Tony Feldman, his partner in A.M. Feldman Jewelry in Chicago’s Gold Coast, annually donate a piece of jewelry to be auctioned off at the event.
Wilmette resident Dr. Sheldon Rubin has volunteered in the shelter’s low-cost spay and neuter clinic for 4-5 hours every Wednesday since he retired from working as a veterinarian in 2009. Rubin and his wife, Paulette, have attended “It’s Raining Cats & Dogs” every year. Last year, they won the $5,000 raffle drawing — and gave it right back to the organization. “It’s an important event,” Rubin says.
And the fundraiser is also known as a fun night out. “I’ve only missed once because I was out of town that year,” says Niles resident Eileen Cavalaris. “The camaraderie is great people coming together to support a common passion.”
For Cavalaris that means routine visits to the Anti-Cruelty Society with her donations of blankets and towels for the animals to cuddle. She has adopted four dogs from the shelter, including her Black Labrador-Collie Miss Kimberly. “She had the name when I adopted her,” Cavalaris says.
The Flat Cats, a swing band, will perform this year while guests sample food prepared by 16 local chefs.
Park Ridge resident Jimmy Bannos will make his Heaven on Seven Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and Jalapeno-Cheddar Corn Bread. Bannos owns Heaven on Seven in Chicago and Naperville; The Purple Pig in Chicago; and Paramount Events in Chicago. “I am a dog lover,” he says. “I love my Cocker Spaniels Gracie and Maggie as my children.”
Another chef devoted to the cause is Mark Sparacino, executive chef/owner of PROSECCO in Chicago. He’ll make Insalata Granchio. It will be the Oak Brook native’s fourth year cooking for the event in honor Greta, his 10-year-old Belgian Malinois he adopted from the Anti-Cruelty Society as a puppy. “This event is near and dear to my heart,” Sparacino says.