Recipe: Gumbo with Chicken and Sausage

There is probably no food more contentious in Louisiana than gumbo. It’s absolutely true that every region/family/individual has it’s own set of requirements when it comes to deciding, not only what constitutes a good gumbo, but what you can get away with calling gumbo at all.

For my part, if it didn’t start with a roux, it ain’t gumbo. It’s soup. I don’t want any okra or tomatoes or filĂ© and I want my roux dark. And the only thing I want with it is rice and saltines, or maybe bread if I am feeling adventuresome.

The following is a variation on my late grandmother’s recipe.

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CHICKEN GUMBO WITH SAUSAGE

1 whole chicken
pound or so of sausage, I used Doucet’s smoked sausage, but any smoked sausage or andouille will do
onion
green bell pepper
celery
garlic
green onions
1 cup flour
1 cup vegetable oil
parsley
thyme
salt
black pepper
rice
saltine crackers

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I realize that most of this doesn’t have quantities, but honestly I wouldn’t know what to put down. I would rather put nothing and put something and it be wrong. In my defense, my grandma’s recipe didn’t even have an ingredient list.

In a large stock or soup pot, boil chicken until tender; reserve broth. Cool and remove from bone.

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Slice sausage, brown in skillet. I like to reserve the resulting grease and browned bits to saute the vegetables in.

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Chop vegetables. In the same skillet you browned the sausage in, saute the onion, celery, and bell pepper (aka the holy trinity, amen) until soft, adding in the garlic at the end so as not to burn it.*

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Measure out the reserved chicken broth so that it amounts to roughly 4 quarts, adding water if needed. I also like to strain it once though a flour sack cloth, especially if I am adding sausage. Return it to your stock pot.

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In a skillet (I use a cast iron), start warming your vegetable oil on medium-low heat. When it is warm but not hot, add in the flour. Stir constantly until it becomes a dark, chocolate brown. Keep a close eye on it at all times, if you notice black flecks, it’s burned and you will have to start it over. Also, be extremely careful when making a roux, they don’t call it Cajun Napalm for nothing.

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When your roux is the desired color, VERY CAREFULLY (it will splatter and sputter) ladle in some of your chicken broth (may take a couple ladle fulls) to your skillet to help cool it down enough, so that it doesn’t go too crazy when you add it to your broth. Add roux to broth, and stir, putting your stock pot back on the heat if it hasn’t been.

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Add vegetables, parsley, thyme, salt and black pepper and simmer for 1 hour (Don’t bother trying to taste test it at this stage, you will think you have messed something up). Add in chopped green onions and simmer 30 more mins. Add chicken and sausage.

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While chicken and sausage are heating, cook rice according to package directions (I also always rinse it first).

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When rice is ready and chicken and sausage are heated, serve gumbo over rice with saltines.

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NOTE: This is feed my husband and I for several days. However, it is even better the next day and freezes well.

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*Many people, my grandmother included, saute their vegetables directly in roux. I have always been too chicken to do it myself. If I ever burnt my roux, that would mean not only starting the roux over but having wasted all those vegetables.

5 Comments

  • March 3, 2009 - 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Looks LOVERLY! Hmmm…I would have eaten with you to keep you from having to eat leftovers.

  • March 5, 2009 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    You take amazing photos! I am definitely going to try out this recipe on DH when he returns home.

  • gesikah
    March 5, 2009 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Aww, thank you!

    I must confess that my husband took most of the roux pictures (and of course those you can see my hands in) as I have no yet worked up the strength and coordination required to wield my cast iron skillet and the camera at the same time. :)

  • March 7, 2009 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    yum…..looks like I’ll have to try this. I make my stock with a smoked turkey leg and then shred the meat and add it to the gumbo…
    thanks for sharing!

    • gesikah
      March 7, 2009 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Val – Oh that sounds good! For some reason I never thought to try turkey before.

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