One of my all time favorite things to cook is Gumbo. This soup/stew is a standard in the kitchens of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and one of the shining stars of American cuisine. Unfortunately, when prepared by Chefs north of the Mason-Dixon Line this dish can be a poor imitation of the genuine article Gumbo can be categorized several ways. Gumbo thickened with Okra, gumbo thickened with sassafras (file powdered) and Gumbo thickened with roux. The first (Gumbo thickened with Okra) had its origin in Africa, Gumbo with file (sassafras) was an adaptation from the Choctaw Indians and Gumbo thickened with roux came from the French traditions in Louisiana. Whichever version you enjoy it is clear that Gumbo was created to take advantage of whatever was at hand. There are Gumbos with Seafood, Gumbos with game meat and even a Lenten version containing no meat (Gumbo Z’Herbes). Pork sausage (usually Andouille) is often an ingredient as it is economical and readily available.
Many years ago I learned how to cook Gumbo from a famous New Orleans Chef (no..it wasn’t Emeril!). I have since developed my own recipe for this classic. I use Italian Sausage instead of Andouille and white meat chicken instead of dark just to keep it simple. Everything you need to make this dish is in your local supermarket.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
12 oz Italian Sausage (cooked and slice into coins)
12 oz Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (cooked and cubed)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp dry basil
1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
2 cups chicken stock
Make a Roux by cooking your flour and oil until it turns a dark brown color. Stir constantly to avoid burning.*
Add your vegetables (onion, celery and bell pepper) to the roux. This will cool it down and cook your vegetables. Stir in the Garlic, basil and Cajun seasoning.
Add Stock and sausage and then simmer for about 45 minutes.
Add cubed chicken and simmer for 5 minutes more.
Serve over steamed white rice.
Remember to taste your Gumbo before serving and add more seasoning if you like. A couple of shake of Tabasco will spice things up!
* If little specks appear in your Roux before you get the right color you have burned your Roux. This can’t be fixed. You will need to start again.
“Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez” Let the Good Times Roll