How to Make Chicken Gumbo with Sausage
Gumbo is a dish that is all about layering flavors.There’s the roux, which helps to thicken and flavor.There’s “The Trinity”, the Cajun mire poix of onions, celery and green pepper.There are the meats, and there is the filé powder which imparts flavor and thickening.
One of the cooking techniques employed with this recipe is sweating the vegetables. Sweating vegetables is similar to saute but over lower heat and without the browning. You can learn all about this cooking technique on my web site at How to Sweat Vegetables.
One of the great things about gumbo is that there are probably as many variations of the dish as there are people cooking it. This can be intimidating or liberating, depending on how comfortable you are in the kitchen. Here is a basic recipe that will yield a very good, flavorful gumbo. For those of you who are comfortable with improvising in the kitchen, use this as a template. Either way, if you’ve never tried gumbo, you really should.
Chicken Gumbo with Sausage Recipe
2 oz. flour (scant ½ cup)
2 oz. neutral cooking oil
5 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
½ pound Andouille sausage, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
½ teaspoon pepper flake, or to taste
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 can light bodied beer
6 cups chicken broth, low sodium canned or homemade
2 cups cooked dark meat chicken, diced
1-28 oz. can whole tomatoes
½ pound fresh or frozen okra, cut into
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 teaspoons filé powder, divided
How To Prepare At Home
Heat a small, cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and then stir in the flour, a little at a time. Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is the color of a penny. Do not rush, and do this over medium to medium-low heat.
In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon and sausage until the bacon is crisp and the fat has rendered out. Spoon out all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat.
Add the onion, peppers and celery, and sweat over medium-low heat until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Regulate the heat so you hear a gentle sizzle, not an angry sizzle or sputtering/popping. Add salt and pepper, to taste, the pepper flake, thyme and bay leaves.
Once the vegetables are translucent, add the roux, and stir until well combined. Pour in the beer and bring to a boil. Reduce by about half, turn down the heat and add 2 teaspoons filé powder, the tomatoes and chicken broth.
Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about an hour. Taste, and adjust seasonings.
Add the chicken and okra and simmer for an additional thirty minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons of filé powder and serve over cooked rice.
Like most braises and stews, gumbo is even better the next day. If not serving immediately, omit the last 2 teaspoons of filé powder and add it after you reheat the gumbo the next day.
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