Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo
I was inspired by my recent trip to New Orleans to make some gumbo. Gumbo is a highly seasoned stew including the vegetable trinity of onions, green pepper and celery. Maybe my desire for this dish has come from the weather - it has become suddenly hot and humid in California and it feels like I could be in Louisiana. New Orleans is a city very much based in tradition, especially when it comes to preparing traditional food. I wanted to do right by this soulful stew so I did my research and got to work. While it does take a little patience for it to come together, making gumbo is worth the extra effort.
There are many different types of gumbo - some use different meats, others contain seafood, some include okra and some don’t, and some add filé and others don’t. The consistency of the gumbo and color of the roux also varies. This gumbo recipe includes chicken and andouille sausage, okra and filé, a darker roux and will be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. By adding the chicken bones with the meat to the pot, it helps to add more depth to the stew- just don’t forget to remove them before serving.
The base of the gumbo, the roux, is a very important to bringing the flavor out. You want to end up with a roux the color of chocolate. Heat the oil in the pot first then whisk in the flour to yield a deep gumbo. While whisking the roux, make sure that you are whisking every spot on the bottom of the pan, because if one part sticks and burns it can give a bad taste to the whole pot of gumbo. Be careful not to leave the roux unattended, as it can catch fire. Try to prep all your ingredients ahead of time – this will allow a smaller possibility of burning the roux or other ingredients, and you won't be distracted by trying to do other things at the same time. Filé powder is dried and ground sassafras leaves. It thickens the soup and also adds an earthy flavor similar to root beer.
This gumbo recipe with its savory ingredients and spices, will give you and your guests the feel of having experienced a meal on Bourbon Street. It is well worth the time and effort.
1 cup canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium roma tomato, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced ½-inch thick
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon filé powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
2 quarts chicken stock
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 (1½ - pound) cooked rotisserie chicken, cut into pieces (bones intact)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced okra (cut into ½-inch slices)
4 cups cooked long grain white rice, for serving
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions, for garnish
Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over high heat, add the oil and heat through. Whisk the flour into the hot oil to make the roux. Lower the heat to medium and continue to whisk until the roux becomes a deep brown color, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the onions, and stir them into the roux and let them cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the onions are slightly caramelized and the roux is dark brown – the color of chocolate, about an additional 10 minutes. Add the celery, bell pepper, tomato, garlic and sausage and cook until the celery is soft, about 4 minutes. Add the chili powder, filé powder, cayenne, white pepper and paprika, stirring to combine.
Add the chicken stock and bay leaves and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes. Skim the fat off the surface of the gumbo and discard. Add the chicken and continue to simmer for an additional 45 minutes, until the chicken is falling off of the bone.
Taste the gumbo and season with kosher salt and black pepper. If the stock tastes too much like flour from the roux, add additional water (1/2 cup at a time) and continue to simmer and skim the fat off the top. Remove the chicken bones and bay leaves and discard.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat through then add the okra and sauté until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add to the okra to the gumbo and stir to combine.
Ladle the gumbo into bowls over a scoop of cooked white rice. Garnish with parsley and green onions.