Yes, any time is gumbo time, but right now, it’s gumbo time y’all! It’s cold and you just want something warm and comforting.
But let me guess, you’ve never made one and you’re apprehensive or you’re not sure about that roux thing. This is the perfect starting point for you. Despite what you may think or have heard, gumbo is not hard and it’s not tricky. It’s EASY! Easier than you think.
I start off with an oven roux. There’s no standing over the stove stirring and stirring and stirring. There’s no burning and starting over. The best part is that you can double the roux and freeze half of it to use for later. You can triple it if you want.
The next thing that makes gumbo super easy, if you have some quality chicken stock, is using a rotisserie chicken. You can just debone that thing and add some really great chicken stock. I find that if you use the silly Swanson boxed broth, it makes for a sad gumbo. There is a distinct lack of flavor. If I’m out of homemade stock, I just boil a chicken or chicken parts and use that stock, as in the recipe below.
I’m not going to waste too much of your time, I’m gonna let you get down to it, but I just have one thing to say about gumbo and what it is and isn’t. It’s whatever you want it to be. I don’t like okra in mine nor filé. But that’s just me. Just because you have that in your gumbo does not make it less of a gumbo. You don’t want to put sausage, you want to put Spam? (Not sure why!) Ok, it’s still a gumbo.
Not everyone has this attitude about gumbo and people are very passionate about this topic. I suggest you don’t bring it up in mixed company. 🙂
CHICKEN & SAUSAGE GUMBO
4 ounces flour
4 ounces oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
I like to cook the roux in the cast iron pot I’m going to make the gumbo in. If you make it in a skillet, which is fine, you’ll have to move it after your veggies are wilted into your gumbo pot.
Place the vegetable oil and flour into a cast iron pot or skillet and whisk together to combine. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1.5 to 2 hours, whisking every 30 minutes throughout the cooking process. I like to take my roux to the edge of darkness, so I’ll leave it in closer to the 2 hour mark. If you choose to do that, in the last half hour you’ll want to stir every 15 minutes. If not, 1.5 hours is just fine.
See how easy that it?
While your roux is cooking get your veggies chopped up.
roux, as above
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 whole chicken or cut up
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package sausage of your choice, smoked or Andouille, sliced or diced
8 cups of chicken stock
2 bay leaves
green onions tops, optional
1/4 bunch of parsley, chopped
cajun seasoning of your choice
Kitchen Bouquet, optional
Put the chicken in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover and season with some salt and pepper. Boil for 1/2 hour or until cooked through and tender enough to debone. When done, remove and let cool so you can debone. You want medium, bite-size pieces.
For the roux, cook as above and when it comes out of the oven, over medium heat, add your onions and bell pepper to it and cook until wilted. Add sausage into the roux and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Stir.
If you used a skillet to make your roux, move it over to the vessel you’re making your gumbo in, over medium heat. Pour in the chicken broth and add the bay leaves. Season with salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chicken, parsley, and green onions if using, simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
There you have it. Serve with white rice or potato salad. If you’re set on using filé I would not add to the pot of gumbo. Just put it on the table and those who wish to add it can do so in their own bowl.
The Kitchen Bouquet…I’ve seen a lot of people say a lot of different things about it on the web. It is not a roux in a bottle. But it does help your roux with its color if you find you’re not satisfied. It’s not a reason to skimp on getting your roux dark though. That’s what’s gonna give your gumbo that authentic awesome flavor! But at the end of the fiasco, you find that you want your roux darker, go ahead and add a little bit at a time until you like the color. I don’t find I always do this, but sometimes I do, just a little more eye pleasing. Works in gravies, fricassee, jambalaya, or whatever you need to darken a bit.
FYI, if you want to add some shrimp to this, do it at the end in the last five minutes of cooking. The shrimp will turn opaque when done. Just make sure it’s wild Gulf shrimp!
If you want to watch me do this, I got you.