When you hear Gumbo…New Orleans, Louisiana comes to most people’s minds. As I cook and eat a good pot of Gumbo, I can imagine people having a great time partying and dancing on Bourbon St. What is Gumbo? Gumbo is a thick stew-like soup of meat, okra, and Creole and Cajun seasonings. There are many types of Gumbo, Seafood Gumbo, Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo, Turkey Gumbo, and Duck Gumbo. One of the most important things when cooking Creole/ Cajun is the “Holy Trinity of food” (celery, onions, and bell peppers). These key ingredients help give good flavor. Another important ingredient when making Gumbo is the Roux. Roux is a classic thickening agent for soups and sauces that gives dishes silky-smooth body and a nutty flavor. Roux is made by cooking equal parts flour and fat together until the raw flavor of the flour cooks out and the roux has achieved the desired color. Butter is the most commonly used fat, but you can also make roux with oil, bacon grease, or other rendered fats. Here’s a great recipe to try your hand at. Also remember you can change the meat to whatever you desire.
Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo
2 pounds chicken boneless skinless breast and thigh recommended
2 quarts water
1 pound okra 1-inch slices (cut and frozen if fresh is not available)
1/2 cup water to cook the okra
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups yellow onion ¼ inch dice
1 1/2 cups bell pepper ¼ inch dice, green and red
1/3 cup celery ¼ inch dice
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cups diced canned tomatoes
12 ounces Andouille sausage cooked, sliced
1 bay leaf dried
1 teaspoon thyme dried
1 teaspoon basil dried
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili pepper (use less for lower spiciness)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon gumbo file
LOTS OF LOVE
1. In a medium-sized pot, add chicken breast and thighs and cover with 2 quarts of water. Bring water to a boil, then simmer until fully cooked about 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Strain the water and reserve.
3. Remove the cooked chicken from the pot, and allow to cool. Once cooled, shred chicken into smaller pieces, cover and set aside.
4. In a medium-sized saucepan, add the okra and ½ cup of water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 7-9 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally.
5. Transfer the okra to a colander to drain the water and reserve the cooked okra.
6. In a large pot, combine ½ cup unsalted butter and ½ cup flour. Cook over medium heat, frequently stirring with a whisk to make a dark brown roux, about 15 minutes. Make sure to stir the last 5 minutes of cooking consistently, so the roux does not burn.
7. Add onion, bell peppers, celery, and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
8. Add cooked okra, tomatoes, and sliced Andouille sausage. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Add bay leaf, thyme, basil, cayenne, pepper, and salt.
10. Add 4 cups of the reserved strained water from the cooked chicken, mix well. You may add more water depending on how thick you want the gumbo.
11. Simmer over medium-low heat, for approximately 30 minutes with the pot loosely covered, stirring occasionally.
12. Add cooked shredded chicken and simmer an additional 15 minutes.
13. Turn off the heat, and slowly stir in the file. Do not reboil after adding in the file as this tends to make the gumbo stringy. Taste gumbo and season with more salt or pepper as desired. Serve over steamed rice and ENJOY!!!!!!!