Chicken And Sausage Gumbo is a Louisiana specialty that will tantalize your taste buds. When I visit the historic city of New Orleans, I like to explore the diverse culinary offerings found throughout the French Quarter, the Garden District and the trendy Warehouse District. Whether at one of the city’s famous restaurants or a small mom and pop owned cafe, I must have at least one bowl of gumbo during my stay.
Walk down the streets in the French Quarter and you will find people standing in front of restaurants trying to get you to go in and try their “authentic” Cajun or Creole food. The truth is when it comes to “authentic” gumbo, there are as many variations as there are mommas who cook it. This long simmered stew reflects a melting pot of African, French, Spanish, Native American and other nationalities that have lived in this intriguing port city over hundreds of years. The ingredients that cooks used to make their gumbo were what they happened to have available during the different seasons of the year.
When fresh seafood was plentiful, a gumbo might have been filled will shrimp, crabs and oysters. At other times of the year, duck or rabbit might have been in the pot. One of the popular gumbos found throughout the year, was made with chicken and smoked sausage.
The most important step when making any kind of gumbo is Preparing A Roux. Preparing a roux for gumbo is a different process than one used when making a white gravy or sauce. I make mine with equal parts of oil and flour, whisking over medium high heat until it is combined. I then turn the heat down to medium and cook, stirring constantly, so that it doesn’t burn. I like the roux to reach a color similar to a copper penny or peanut butter. This will take about 30 minutes. Some cooks like their roux to be the color of dark chocolate and that will take longer, up to an hour total. A deep colored roux is what is going to make a successful gumbo. There is also a technique for making a roux in the oven but I always prepare mine the conventional way.
Chicken And Sausage Gumbo
Serves 2 generously. For this recipe, use a ratio of approximately 3 Tbsp. of oil and 3 Tbsp. of flour to make the roux. If you are preparing a larger quantity of this recipe, just increase the amounts but keep the same ratio.
- 3 Tbsp. flour
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 thick cut slices of smoked bacon, diced
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 link (approximately 1/2 lb.) andouille sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick (if unavailable, other smoked sausage such as kielbasa or Portuguese chourico can be substituted)
- 3 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 onion, sliced into bite size pieces
- 1 bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into bite size pieces
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 c. chicken stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. thyme, more if using fresh
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. Tabasco
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
In a saucepan, heat the 3 Tbsp. of oil. Add the flour, whisk to make the roux. Cook, stirring constantly until the flour turns a dark brown, then set aside.
In a large heavy bottomed pot (cast-iron, if you have one), add the diced bacon and cook till done. Transfer to a plate, reserving the bacon fat. Add the chicken to the bacon fat and cook until lightly brown. Transfer the chicken to the plate with the bacon. Add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain all but 1 Tbsp. of accumulated fat then add the celery, onion, and bell pepper and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the stock, stirring to release any browned bits. Add the roux, spices, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce and stir well. Simmer the gumbo for about 30 minutes until it thickens and the flavors have blended. Return the bacon and chicken to the pot and simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then serve. **Gumbo is usually ladled over a small amount of cooked white rice with Tabasco served on the side.
Recipes have been created by cooks who try to please those for whom they are cooking. The recipe that I have developed for Louisiana chicken and sausage gumbo may not be considered an “authentic” version but my husband and I think it is delicious. Serve this gumbo over a little white rice, along with some garlic French bread and a glass of wine or a cold beer and you will have a little taste of New Orleans in your own home. Enjoy!