Chicken and sausage Gumbo*
1 whole chicken (I usually get a 3 -4 lbs chicken)
1 yellow onion sliced in half
2 or 3 stalks of celery (I just break them in half and throw them in)
2 or 3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Trinity: (plus garlic)
1 medium bell pepper diced
1 medium onion diced
3 stalks of celery diced
2 or 3 cloves of garlic minced
1lb okra sliced (I usually use frozen okra which comes pre-sliced. If you are using fresh okra slice it into ½ inch pieces
1lb sausage or andouille Cut into ½ inch pieces (I’m partial to the Conecuh brand of smoked sausage. It is a spicy smoked sausage. Use a sausage that has some spice to it. Not Italian sausage.)
1 can whole kernel corn drained
1/2c AP flour (do not use self rising flour. A roux will not thicken with self rising flour.)
1/2c vegetable oil
Herbs und spices:
1 – 2t Cajun seasoning (I’m partial to Tony Chacheres’ brand Cajun seasoning)
Salt and pepper
I do not use a specific amount of water. I have a large stock pot that I put enough water in to cover the chicken and seasonings. I boil the stock until the chicken is completely cooked. I think the pot holds about 8 quarts but I only fill it about 2/3s full.
Remove the chicken from the stock and allow to cool. De-bone and shred the chicken and set aside. Remove the onions, celery, and bay leaves from the stock.
Set stock to the side.
While the stock is cooking dice up all the seasonings.
Once the seasonings are diced stock is finished begin the roux.
Making the roux:
A roux is nothing more than fat and flour, but a roux for gumbo is something special. Purists believe a gumbo roux must be made in a cast iron skillet. I do not have a preference for cast iron versus a different pot/pan to create a roux.
Put flour and oil into your pan. Make sure the pan is dry. There shouldn’t be any water or condensation in the pan. Turn the burner to medium/low heat. Start combining the flour and oil.
You cannot ignore a roux. You must stand over it and keep stirring it. The roux will begin to dark. Do not let it stick and do not let it burn. If it burns you must start over.
Keep stirring. It will continue to dark. The rule of thumb is the roux must reach the color of a new penny. That is the rule my grandmother told me. Many people do darken the roux a bit more. That is totally acceptable, but be careful not to burn it.
Once the roux has reached the ideal color add the onion, bell pepper and celery. Let those cook down a bit. Keep stirring. Do not add the garlic yet. It could burn and you don’t want that burnt garlic flavor.
In Cajun/creole cooking, the trinity (onion, bell pepper, celery) is treated as seasoning. They are cooked down to nothing pretty much. You should not see chunks of trinity in the finished product.
I cook my roux in my large “gumbo pot” so I can combine everything into one pot and not have to transfer ingredients much or dirty too many dishes.
When the seasonings begin to break down add the garlic.
Begin adding in the chicken stock. This will cause it to produce lots of steam so be careful. It will be very hot.
Keep stirring and adding stock so it will not clump up. Once all the stock has been added into the roux add in the chicken and sausage.
Add the herbs and spices
Allow the gumbo to come to a boil then turn down to low heat.
Add the can of corn (drained)
Add okra. The okra acts as a thickener. It should be added toward the end or else it will completely fall apart and the gumbo will look less than desirable. Trust me on that.
(When it is done you may want to skim some of the oil off of the top. You really need the oil for the roux but at the end it may be necessary to remove as much of the oil that has collected on the top as possible.)
Serve over rice.
Some people add gumbo file into each serving of gumbo has been served. Feel free to do so. Do not add the file to the pot of gumbo.
*I think a gumbo can easily be made vegan. A veggie stock can replace the chicken stock. Quorn chicken cutlets can be diced and brown in a pan before adding to the gumbo. There are also good vegan sausage replacements. Brown those as well and remove from pan. Add the vegan chicken and sausage toward the end so it will not totally break down during the cooking process.
Also there are some wonderful recipes online of Green Gumbo (gumbo z’herbes) which incorporates collard greens, turnip greens, kale etc.