Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

“This is Gumbo 101: the first gumbo you learn in the Cajun kitchen. I couldn’t tell you the first time I made this with my mom because I’ve had my hands in it since I could walk. It’s the easiest one to find ingredients for and you can feed a bunch of people easily by doubling, tripling, or quadrupling the recipe. It’s surely the most popular gumbo on the planet.” – Isaac Toups

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle amber-style beer
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 pound andouille or smoked sausage, cut into (½-inch) half-moons
  • Rice and hot sauce, to serve
  • Garnish: sliced green onions
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Season the chicken thighs with 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, skin side up, and roast for 20 minutes, or until the skin is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside. Don’t throw that fat away, it’s going in the gumbo later.
  3. In a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, add oil and flour, stirring constantly to make a dark roux, about 45 minutes. Once the roux is the color of milk chocolate, add the trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery, and stir once every 5 seconds for about a minute until the vegetables begin to soften and caramelize. The roux is rocking hot, so these vegetables are going to cook really quickly. Don’t walk away! After a minute, add the garlic and bay leaves and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  4. Deglaze the pot with the beer, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon until all the browned bits are released. Stir constantly until it returns to a simmer. Add the stock and continue stirring until it returns to a simmer. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper and the cayenne. Add the reserved chicken thighs (skin, bones, everything) and their fat and the sausage. Bring back to a bare simmer, being careful not to let it boil and not to let the roux scorch, reduce the heat to the lowest setting on your stove, and cover.
  5. Simmer for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, scraping the bottom each time. Your gumbo should begin to thicken, but not like gravy. If it starts getting too thick before the 3 hours are up and you have to hit it with a little water to thin it, do so. Do not skim that fat off the top.
  6. Serve with rice. I put the gumbo down in each bowl first and then put the rice on top. Garnish with sliced green onions. If you want to bump up the heat, add a little hot sauce.

 

Recipes and photos reprinted, with permission, from Chasing the Gator: Isaac Toups and the New Cajun Cooking by Isaac Toups and Jennifer V. Cole

 

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