Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo
Prep Time: About 1 hour and 30 minutes (40 minutes hands on)
Meal Notes: There’s a reason gumbo is the official state cuisine of Louisiana. In a city jam-packed with deliciousness, gumbo is still my New Orleans go-to. This is my own gumbo recipe, combining a few favorite recipes into the simplest possible version that still retains that signature gumbo richness. Although the roux* is necessarily time consuming, it’s also easy enough to make and pays dividends in depth of flavor. Serve with a side salad or cornbread to make a full meal.
Source: Although I’ve mixed several sources for my version of gumbo, I borrowed most heavily from a copycat Gumbo Shop recipe available at Bacon Concentrate.
1 lb boneless chicken breast
12 ounces Andouille sausage
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 large onion
1/2 cup green bell pepper
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup celery
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
8 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon file powder
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
Hot cooked rice
Prep: Dice chicken, bell pepper, and celery. Mince garlic. Cut sausage into 1/2 inch slices, then cut the slices in half.
Make the roux: In a dutch oven (or other heavy-bottomed pan), heat oil for about five minutes. Gradually add the flour, whisking until smooth. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir the roux constantly for about 20 minutes until it resembles at least the color of peanut butter - or, if you’ve got a glass of wine and good podcast going, keeping stirring for 40 minutes, until the roux resembles the color of dark chocolate.
Cook the vegetables and meat: When the roux is finished, stir in the bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook for for 3-5 minutes, then add the canned tomatoes and sausage. Cook for another 10 minutes before adding the diced chicken, chicken broth, and all of the spices.
Simmer: Leaving the pot uncovered, simmer your gumbo for anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half. The longer it cooks, the richer the flavor will be. If you haven’t already, now would be a great time to make your rice according to the package instructions.
Finish: Serve the gumbo with hot cooked rice mounded in the middle of each bowl.
*What is a roux? A roux is a mixture of fat and flour, simmered to varying degrees and often used as a base for sauces and soups in French cooking. The roux function to create depth, smoothness, and thickness. The version found in French cooking is typically much lighter in color than the version found in Cajun/Creole dishes. That said, there is no universal consensus on whether the proper roux color for gumbo is closer to peanut butter or dark chocolate. My two cents? The mixture should be at least light brown, but, after that, the proper color of the roux is the color you’ll see when you’re tired of stirring.
**File Powder v. Okra: Depending on who you ask, the word “gumbo” derives from either the West African word for okra or the Choctaw word for filé (powdered sassafras). Both ingredients are options for thickening gumbo and adding earthy flavor, leading to much heated linguistic/culinary debate over which is the superior, more authentic choice. As a non-expert, non-Louisianan, I wouldn’t dream of entering the fray. I will simply say that I opt for filé powder because it eliminates the extra step of okra caramelizing. Also, most grocery stores in my area have file powder, while okra can be harder to find.