Simple Gumbo Recipe

I have always wanted to go to New Orleans, yet the opportunity has alluded me so far. So my goal was to visit there via my tongue. Most of the time, entertaining the taste buds is a much cheaper, time efficient alternative to a plane ticket.  And so my journey and inspiration towards Gumbo began with a bottle of Louisiana Crystal hot sauce that was in my fridge. Nestled among a copious amount of other hot sauces, it looked a bit neglected and Gumbo seemed like the perfect vessel to let it’s spicy “cayenneness” shine. Gumbo is an oddly simple dish. Much like a stew but with the addition of a roux and sometimes file powder (dried and ground leaves from a sassafras tree). The real key is to let the roux darken to the point of a dark chocolate color. And while the ingredient list might look a bit daunting, chances are you’ll have everything in the fridge or cabinet, except the file. You can find it online or occasionally in a local grocery store. Once this heart warming comfort food is ready, grab a beer to tame the hot sauce, close your eyes and journey to Bourbon Street (sans the beads).

The Goods:

  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs with the skin on
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • 2 chopped bell peppers
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 4 andouille sausages sliced
  • 4-6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup of parsley and green onions, diced
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 tbsp file powder (if you can’t find it or don’t have it- don’t sweat it)
  •  olive oil
  • 1/2-2/3 cup of flour
  • Hot sauce
  • White rice

The Steps:

  1. In a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven or large pot, heat olive oil (enough to coat the bottom) over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage and drain on paper towels. Set aside and try not to eat them all before the dinner is finished.
  1. Combine all the dried seasonings, including the salt and pepper (not including the file) and season the chicken and add in batches to the fat remaining in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and remove crispy chicken skins (set aside on a paper towel for later).
  1. Combine the flour with the fat in the same Dutch oven over medium heat (add some additional oil (1/4 if necessary). Cook, stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, to make a dark brown roux.
  1. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the reserved sausage, salt, and bay leaves, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken and chicken stock, stirring, until well combined. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2-2 hours.
  1. Remove the pot from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken thighs and bay leaves from the gumbo. Let the chicken cool and toss the bay leaves, then pull the chicken meat from the bones and shred, tossing the bones. Return the meat to the gumbo and stir in the green onions, parsley, and file powder.
  1. Scoop rice into deep bowls and pour the gumbo on top.
  2. Turn on the fire and pass the hot sauce.

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