In December of 2011 Don and I spent four days in New Orleans exploring the sights, sounds and the history of that famous city. The first day, while browsing Bourbon Street, we stopped for lunch and we each ordered a bowl of gumbo. It was served in a shallow soup plate with a scoop of white rice. It was so delicious that we ordered it again for lunch the next day while on our adventure in the French Quarter.
Gumbo is Louisiana’s official cuisine and there are many variations as to how it is made and what ingredients are included. Basically, it is a stew of vegetables, smoked sausage, meat or seafood and spices. It is usually thickened with a roux or okra and sometimes both are included and is simmered together for a couple hours. Actually, I recently learned a bit of trivia, that ‘gumbo’ is the African name for okra.
I am undecided as to which gumbo is my favorite, a seafood gumbo or chicken and andouille sausage gumbo. So, I bring you this chicken and andouille sausage gumbo recipe today and at another posting will present a seafood gumbo.
This gumbo is a delicious mix of chicken, andouille sausage, onions, bell pepper, celery, tomatoes and okra with a variety of herbs and spices that compliments the taste. After simmering for a couple hours the flavors blend together in a delicious, slightly thickened spicy sauce.
It is customary to serve this gumbo with white rice which pairs well with the spiciness of the dish.
Gumbo is traditional Louisiana cuisine of spicy stew with chicken, andouille sausage, vegetables and herbs and spices. It is customary to serve gumbo with white rice.
- 6 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil, divided
- 10-ounces fresh or frozen okra, sliced thin
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken pieces (I used 4 boneless thighs and two boneless breasts)
- 1/2 cup flour, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, each 6-inches long, chopped in 1/2-inches
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded, and chopped in 1/2 inches
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, and chopped in 1/2 inches
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 cup chicken broth
- 12 ounces of andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or one 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3 whole bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons file powder (see note)
- In a large skillet, over moderate heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the oil. Add the okra and, stirring constantly, cook until the white threads from the okra disappears. Remove the cooked okra to a plate and reserve.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of the flour, salt and pepper to a shallow dish or pie plate, blend to combine. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour and working in batches, sear the chicken pieces to a golden brown on both sides, about 8-10 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate as they cook. When the chicken pieces are cool enough to handle cut them into pieces and reserve.
- In the same skillet, over medium-high, melt the butter, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Stir constantly and cook until it becomes caramel colored, being careful that it does not burn.
- Add the onions, celery, red and green bell pepper, garlic, cayenne, basil, thyme and oregano and cook for 3 minutes. Gradually add the chicken broth, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add the sliced andouille sausage and the reserved chicken. Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 2 hours.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the file powder and adjust the consistency to your preference by either adding additional chicken broth for a thinner sauce or allowing to reduce further for a thicker sauce.
- To serve: Remove and discard the bay leave and ladle the gumbo into soup plate with a mound of white rice.
File powder is a spicy herb made from drying the leaves of the sassafras tree and grinding them to powder. It can be found in most grocery stores and it is an important ingredient in Creole cuisine.A dark, more intense flavor in the sauce can be achieved by cooking the roux to a milk chocolate color, being cautious not to burn it.