Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Mess Level: Moderate
Yield: 10 Servings
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min
For the Roux:
- 1 Cup of AP flour
- 1 Cup of Grapeseed, Vegetable or Canola Oil
For the Gumbo:
- 8 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 2 Green Bell Peppers
- 2 Small White Onions
- 1 Head Celery
- 6 Cloves Garlic
- 1 lb Andouille or Your Favorite Sausage
- 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs or Breasts
- 1 Bunch Scallions or Parsley
- ½ Cup Joes Stuff or Your Favorite Cajun Seasoning
- 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (Optional)
- Salt to Taste
- Hot Sauce for Serving
- File Powder (Optional)
Note: If you are not using Joes Stuff to season with, bear in mind your seasoning may contain a lot more salt and you will likely need to use less than this recipe calls for and add extra paprika, garlic powder, oregano and black pepper.
- Prepare your ingredients, finely dice the celery, onion and green pepper, divide in half and set aside.
- Slice the sausage link lengthwise, then thinly slice each half, set aside. Trim the fat from the chicken and finely dice, set aside with the sausage.
- Mince the garlic and slice the scallion or mince the parsley. Reserve for garnish.
- Heat a large soup pot to medium-high. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom and wait till it shimmers, then add the chicken, sausage, tomato paste and half of your Cajun Seasoning.
- Saute until browned, then add the stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot and remove any stuck bits. Turn the heat to low and set aside.
- To make the roux: Watch a video on how to make a gumbo roux here.
- Make sure you have a hot pad, whisk and flat, wooden roux spoon at the ready.
- Pick an object in the kitchen that is a dark, brown color. You will use this as your guide to know when the roux is done.
- In a medium-sized cast iron or non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully add all the flour at once and whisk it in, then switch to the wooden spoon.
- Continuously stir the roux, running the wooden spoon along the bottom of the pan and around the edges to ensure it doesn’t burn. The roux may become lumpy or stay smooth, either way just continue to stir in a slow but steady continual motion.
- If it is browning very quickly, feel free to lower your heat. Or if it is taking forever, increase the heat by a bit. Keep in mind that cast iron will take a moment to adjust to a temperature change.
- When the roux is the color of dark chocolate, remove the pan from the hot burner, allow to cool for 10 minutes and then very carefully add the roux to half of your trinity (celery, onion, green pepper). This will stop the roux from cooking and simultaneously begin to cook the trinity. Stir the trinity in well and then carefully add your roux to the soup pot with the stock and meat.
- Bring the pot to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to a simmer and then stir in the other half of your trinity and the garlic.
- Simmer for a few minutes more to meld the flavors, add salt to taste and more Joes Stuff as needed. When you like the flavor, serve it up and stir in file powder, 1 teaspoon at a time as desired. Garnish with parsley, green onions, and hot sauce. Enjoy!
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Why does oil come to the top of my gumbo sometimes?
- It may be broken but you can still fix it!
This happens when your roux "breaks". It’s actually a common problem in sauces and has to do with an abrupt temperature change and the fat and liquid not binding properly. But it’s no problem! Just skim the oil off with your ladle, stir the gumbo up and dig in!
Why do I need to make my roux in a separate pan?
- It's worth the extra dish!
1. Because a gumbo roux is a time sensitive thing and this gives you more control. 2. Because you want to brown the meat in your soup pot for more flavor but if you have any food particles at all in your roux, they will burn and flavor the whole gumbo.
Why do I need to use a flat, wooden spoon?
- What else are you going to use your flat spoon for?
To avoid scraping the cast iron pan and to give you the best tool for the job of stirring a dark, roux. The roux will also dye the tip of the wooden spoon brown so it's good to designate that tool as your roux spoon!
If I want to use okra, when should I add it?
- First things first...
Cut it into very small pieces and add it to the meat as soon as it’s been browned. Allow an extra forty minutes of time for the soup to simmer so the okra can thicken the soup.
Ramblings of a Line Cook
Gumbo is, in a way, the soul food of New Orleans. You start the gumbo by cooking the Trinity: Celery, onion and green bell pepper. This “holy trinity” goes in almost every classic dish and lends flavor and texture. You use whatever protein you have available whether it be beans, chicken, sausage or seafood. If you have leftover tomatoes in the fridge, those go in too!
When the gumbo is nearly finished, you add in your garlic, because garlic is the Pope and everyone was commanded to be French Catholic. Then, right before serving, you stir in your parsley and green onion, because that is the blessing. And then you sit and slurp and you leave the gumbo in the fridge for a day or two because it just gets better. You might make a pot of jambalaya later in the week and pour some gumbo over it. Anything goes! And let’s just settle the misconception right now that New Orleans food is spicy. It is packed with flavor but doesn’t need to be overly hot unless the cook likes it that way.
Gumbo, In its simplest form it, is a dark soup usually made with chicken and sausage or some type of seafood. It gets its dark coloring from the roux which you cook from a blond color until it is the color of dark chocolate. This lends an intense, nutty flavor that makes gumbo like no other soup, however by cooking the roux to this point, you lose a lot of its thickening ability.
To compensate for this, people often use okra in their gumbo because if you cook okra down long enough, it let's go and lends it’s starchy fibers to thickening your gumbo. Or you might sprinkle some file (Fee-lay) powder in your bowl right before you eat it, this will also thicken your gumbo without changing the flavor. But what people don’t know is that gumbo doesn’t have to be extremely thick, you can eat it just like you would any other broth-based soup, serve it with rice if you like or eat it like it is.
One very important thing to note is you need a good spice blend for gumbo. You can make your own, or use Joe’s Stuff, the brand I recommend which is available online here. But do be cautious of random blends on the grocery store shelf, they are primarily salt-based and don’t actually add much more than that to your gumbo. So now that you know how to REALLY make a gumbo, give it a whirl! And remember, in New Orleans you “Just keep adding shit till it tastes right.”