Take Me to the Bayou Gumbo!
Part of my daddy's family hails from Louisiana--St. Helena's Parish to be exact. There's nothing like a big comforting bowl of gumbo when you want a little taste of New Orleans. Thankfully, you have plenty of time to whip up a nice pot of gumbo while you're sheltering in place during this pandemic!
Things to know:
- The sausage really is a big deal. I won't make gumbo without a good smoked andouille sausage, honey. I just won't do it. Trust me, you'll know the difference! But, during this time, if you just can't find andouille, I don't want you driving all around to find one. A good smoked sausage will have to make do.
- The roux is the foundation of your gumbo. Just like with building a structure, the foundation must be solid. Don't rush this step or try to take shortcuts.
- I don't use seafood because I don't like seafood. If you want to add shrimp, crawfish, etc--that's on you, sugar.
- SEASON to taste!! Remember, everyone's level of spice comfort is different, so you have to season to your taste and the tastes of those to whom you're serving. If you need an additional kick--go for it!
Ready to make it? Here we go!
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 stick (½ cup) butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded andiced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced or grated
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 tablespoons Simply Savory by Rachel Cajun Lagniappe seasoning
- Cayenne pepper (only if you need to add more heat!)
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 2 quarts chicken broth (low sodium, if you prefer)
- 1 ½ pounds smoked andouille sausage sliced into rounds or chunks
- 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts (I prefer the thighs)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (trust me)
- File powder for serving
- Steamed Rice for serving
- In a large bowl combine the chopped bell peppers, chopped celery, garlic, and onion. Set aside.
- Before you begin the next step, be ready to stay near the stove for 15-20 minutes. You do not do NOT want to scorch your roux! Heat a large heavy bottom soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the butter, oil, and flour to the pot and whisk to combine. Stir the roux EVERY 15-20 SECONDS. You will be able to smell the flour starting to brown. Continue to gently brown flour without burning it until the mixture turns the color of peanut butter or caramel. This can take up to 30 minutes or so, but it is the foundation of the recipe. If you burn it, you will have to start over.
- Once you have your roux made, add the chopped vegetables. The roux should bubble and thicken up immediately into a paste, coating the vegetables. Let the mixture cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring intermittently. Sprinkle the Cajun Lagniappe seasoning over the vegetable and roux mixture and stir to combine.
- Add chicken broth, chicken, and sausage to the pot. Sprinkle in about a teaspoon of the file powder. Bring the gumbo to a boil, add vinegar, reduce the heat and simmer, covered for at least 3 hours or up to all day (the longer the better, trust me. The flavors will continue to develop!). The gumbo should be the consistency of a stew. If too much of the liquid evaporates add a little more chicken stock to thin it out and if there is too much liquid leave the top off the gumbo and cook 30 minutes longer. Once the meat has cooked through, skim fat from top and lightly shred the chicken. Serve over rice and sprinkle with a little more of the file powder.
Side note: I like to chop and sear my chicken and sausage before adding it to the gumbo. It brings a more complex flavor to me.