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Chicken & Andouille Gumbo

November 12, 2015

Chicken & Andouille Gumbo

It wasn’t until recently that I experienced gumbo for the first time. Apparently I was living under a rock. Or just in New England. It wasn’t as if I had never heard of gumbo. I had. I knew (basically) what gumbo was. But I had yet to sample even the tiniest amounts of gumbo. If you don’t know what gumbo is, think of it as stew. You make a deep, dark roux that has a delicious smokey quality to it. To that you add the holy trinity of onion, celery and bell pepper. Mix it all with stock and then add in your protein (in this case, andouille sausage and chicken). And okra. And shrimp. And whatever else you want. Let it simmer for a couple hours and serve it with some rice. Slop it up with a spoon. It’s a great dish for cold days and frigid nights. If I had a fireplace, I would eat a hot bowl of gumbo by it. So I just pop in the DVD of a fireplace and pretend.

Now that I’m basically married to a genuine Cajun, I’ve had the joy of dipping into all sorts of gumbos. I had a cup at Oak Alley Plantation (followed by a Mint Julep, naturally). That was quite delicious. I had a big bowl at Cafe Vermillion in Lafayette, LA…that was ALSO delicious. And then I had Lance’s mother’s gumbo. And his cousin Patty’s gumbo. Both were ridiculously delectable. I can see what it’s a staple of that cuisine. So, of course, I HAD to learn how to make it.

Rather than look up a recipe online, I decided to go right to the source, the matriarch of the Collins family, Phyllis and have her teach me.

Chicken & Andouille Gumbo

I’ll be honest. I don’t know what I was expecting. I guess because everyone has such an opinion about their family’s own gumbo, there was this huge cloud of mystery surrounding gumbo. I was expecting it to be hard and overly complicated. But it’s not. In fact, it was pretty darn easy. And much like chili, it’s even better when you make it the day before you plan on serving it.

The hardest part is getting the roux right. Too light in color and the flavor won’t be there. Too dark and you’ve probably burned it and you’ll get a nasty taste. You could just skip all of that and just buy some roux in a jar at the store or online. But where’s the fun in that.

I’ve now made gumbo on my own a few times and have learned a few things. First, chop up all your vegetables. Once that roux gets going, you don’t want to stop stirring it. Then, when it’s just about there, you add in the onions to slow the cooking down since dropping them in will bring the temperature down. So stopping to chop is going to screw up your timeline and wreak havoc on your final product.

As for what the roux should look like when it’s right, think of Nutella. Dark brown, not black. Slightly pale. As for texture wise, it should be somewhat pasty.

The recipe I’m posting here isn’t exactly Phyllis’. It’s hers, but with a few of my own modifications because I wouldn’t be me without doing that.

Traditionally, okra is added to gumbos because the mucus-y filling that seeps out when they’re cooked helps to thicken up the soup. Another ingredient used to help thicken was Gumbo File. I don’t add either. Mostly because okra is a little hard to find up here. Every now and then there will be some in the grocery store, but it’s not always there. And I prefer it fried.

One of the reasons gumbo is so great, is that you can change it up. Use chicken stock. Use vegetable stock and add in lots of veggies. Use seafood stock and add in seafood. It’s sort of up to you. Depending on who you’re making this for, though, you may not want to stray to far from the traditional version. The last thing you want to hear is “That’s not how my mother makes it!” A knife through the heart. Of course, as much as I love hearing “That’s better than my Mom’s! Don’t tell her!” that would be quite a knife through her heart too.

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Chicken & Andouille Gumbo
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A great gumbo for beginners.
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 45 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2.5 hours 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 45 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2.5 hours 30 minutes
Chicken & Andouille Gumbo
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
A great gumbo for beginners.
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 45 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2.5 hours 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 45 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2.5 hours 30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. To get things started, put about 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a dutch oven. Heat it up and then add in the sliced andouille sausage. Stir occasionally until the sausage begins to brown. Turn the heat off, scoop out with a slotted spoon and pour the oil into a glass measuring cup. Add in enough canola oil to get to it 3/4 cup.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 8 cups of beef broth/stock to a simmer on a burner that's out of the way.
  3. Make sure all your vegetables are cut. Keep the onions in one bowl. The celery and pepper can be combined in another bowl. These will be "cooling" down your roux so you'll want them on hand.
  4. Put the dutch oven back on the stove and turn the heat on. Add in the oil. Let it got hot. Really hot. It will shimmer. Add a drop of flour in. If it sizzles a bit, it's ready.
  5. Add the flour in and whisk it all together. Turn the heat down to medium high. I like to switch to a rubber spatula once the flour and oil are combined. Now, just stir. It will start off very thick and dry, but as time goes by, it will get a bit looser and smoother. If you see smoke, turn the heat down a bit.
  6. You're ultimately looking for something that's thick like creamy peanut butter, but dark like nutella. It can range in time from 15-25 minutes. It's a long process, but it's not that hard. Just have a drink on hand. And some good music to belt out to.
  7. When the roux is dark and smooth, add in your onions. Stir very frequently until the onions begin to release their liquid. Then cook them for another minute or two, until they're softened. At this point, to me, it smells like Chinese food. So keep that in mind, I guess.
  8. Once the onions are set, stir in the celery and peppers and cook for a few more minutes, just to soften them up a bit.
  9. Turn the heat off and add the roux and veggies to the pot of simmering beef stock. Use a whisk to combine it all together. Turn the heat up a bit. The broth should thicken, but not be the consistency of a pureed soup. But it also shouldn't be the consistency of broth. Somewhere in the middle. So add in hot water (or more beef stock if you've got it) until it gets to the desired consistency. It's usually somewhere between 3 and 4 cups. It also depends on how long you've cooked your roux.
  10. Add in the garlic powder, creole seasoning, dried basil, dried thyme and beef bouillon. Let it all simmer for about 1 hour.
  11. During this time, demolish your rotisserie chicken. Peel off the skin and shred all the meat. Add all the chicken to the cooked sausage. Save the bones and skins and gross bits in a freezer bag in the freezer to make stock with at a later date.
  12. After the hour is up, add in the sausage and chicken, give it a good stir and simmer for another hour. Skim any fat that bubbles up to the top off.
  13. After time is up, taste for seasoning. Most creole season has salt and pepper in it, as do most store bought stocks. So always wait to add salt until this point. Nothing is worse than a way too salty soup. Especially when you spent a half hour making the base.
  14. Serve with rice.
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