it’s finally gotten cold here in the south. and it’s looking like it might stay for longer than a moment. see it usually takes us until at least december to get cooler weather, which usually skips the cooler part and goes straight to cold. during october and november we may get a couple cool snaps here and there but they don’t stay. and to tell the truth, the ones in december don’t always stay. i mean we are in the deep south and the closest thing we usually get to snow is the frost on the ground in the mornings. i’m not a huge fan of these freezing temperatures but they do mean one thing… it’s gumbo weather. i do love me some chicken and sausage gumbo. it’s probably the one thing i could eat and eat and eat. and i do eat it all year round.
during the summer when it’s 100F+, i will pull some gumbo out of the freezer, defrost it and heat some up.
here’s the thing about gumbo… everyone has their own recipe. here’s the other thing… mine is never exactly the same batch to batch. i found an emeril lagasse recipe a couple years ago when i decided i wanted to make a gumbo from scratch and it has been my guide ever since. i truly mean it has been a guide since i don’t really “follow” it. see it gives you directions for everything, including how to cook the chicken thighs he uses. well i don’t do that. i always cook a whole chicken (usually a beer can chicken) before hand and shred it up (using some for this pot and freezing some for the next pot). and sometimes it’s not chicken that i use; sometimes (like after thanksgiving and christmas) it’s turkey. and i don’t always use the exact same type of sausage. i always use 2 lbs and usually use one of andouille and one of smoked. but they’re not always the same brand or the same type i used the time before. also, sometimes i get really crazy and use a bottle of beer to give it a little something extra.
so here’s what i’m gonna do for this recipe…. i’m gonna give you emeril’s original in full and let know what i do differently (which i normally do but there’s a good bit of things this time). i feel like you deserve the whole recipe and the opportunity to decide if you want to be bold and experiment or if you want to follow emeril instruction by instruction. either way, you’re making a delicious pot of gumbo.
oh and i do recommend a heavy duty dutch oven… preferably cast iron.
chicken and sausage gumbo
- 1 tbs plus 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 1 lb smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, cut crosswise 1/2-inch thick pieces – use 2 lbs (1 lb andouille and 1 lb smoked); i also use local brands (savoie’s, richards, manda), i do live in south louisiana so andouille is kinda our thing.
- 4 lbs chicken thighs, skin removed – i use a whole chicken or some left over turkey meat. i try to have about 1-2 lbs of meat
- 1 tbs creole seasoning
- 1 c flour
- 2 c chopped onions – i use one large onion and blend it in my food processor with the celery and bell pepper plus a couple cloves garlic.
- 1 c chopped celery – i use a couple stalks
- 1 c chopped bell peppers – i use one large bell pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 3 bay leaves
- 9 cups chicken stock – sometimes i throw a bottle of beer (a dark amber like abita) in the count of liquid
- white rice – i cook about 2/3 c of dry rice at a time since i don’t eat the whole batch of gumbo and freeze some
- 1/2 c chopped green onions – all the ingredients from here down are toppings, i don’t use any of them but you can if you want to
- 2 tbs chopped parsley leaves
- 1 tbs file powder
- Hot sauce
- in a large dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. add the sausage and cook until well browned, about 8 minutes. remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. set aside. – i cook the sausage in batches.
- season the chicken with creole seasoning and add in batches to the fat remaining in the pan. cook over medium-high heat until well browned, 5 to 6 minutes. remove the chicken from the pan, let cool, and then refrigerate until ready to use. – since i used chicken / turkey that i’ve already cooked, i totally skip this step
- combine the remaining 1/2 cup oil and the flour in the same dutch oven over medium heat. cook, stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, to make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate.
- add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and cook, stirring, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. add the reserved sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. stirring, slowly add the chicken stock, and cook, stirring, until well combined (this is the time to also add a beer if you so choose). bring the mixture to a boil. reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
- add the reserved chicken to the pot and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, skimming off any fat that rises to the surface. – this is about the point at which i’m done
- remove the pot from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken thighs from the gumbo and place on a cutting board to cool slightly. remove and discard the bay leaves (i just leave mine in there even in the servings that go in the freezer). pull the chicken meat from the bones and shred, discarding the bones and skin. return the meat to the gumbo and stir in the green onions, parsley, and file powder. (again, i totally skip this step since my chicken is the pot and i don’t add an herb garden to my gumbo).
- spoon rice into the bottom of deep bowls or large cups and ladle the gumbo on top. serve, passing hot sauce on the side.
and that’s it.
it’s a little time consuming but totally worth it.