Smoked Chicken & Sausage Gumbo with Shrimp and Okra


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Growing up next door to Louisiana, I was privileged enough to eat several scrumptious, steaming bowls of Gumbo at various cook outs, potlucks, and football games over the years. It is a very comforting and nostalgic stew for me and I love to make it. I usually only treat myself to it during Mardi Gras week but once in awhile I’ll whip up a pot of it in the fall when the cold weather starts to set in. The most time consuming part of Gumbo is making a good roux. In Southeast Texas there were good quality jarred roux’s readily available so if you happen upon one by all means feel free to give it a try. Since I only make Gumbo once or twice a year though, I enjoy creating the dish entirely from scratch. To make a good roux, I’ve found that using a cast iron skillet is best. I saved a little time by using leftover Pecan smoked chicken and Andouille sausage that I grilled beforehand. You could definitely use any favorite sausage and shredded rotisserie chicken to cut down on prep time. Gumbo is a pretty forgiving stew, as most are so mix up this recipe as you please to make it your own. The only ingredient I feel is a must in Gumbo is okra, it just isn’t authentic to me without it but there are plenty of folks who would disagree with me on that. Whatever variation of Gumbo you choose, just remember that once you start cooking the recipe belongs to you. So crank up some Zydeco, pop the top of your favorite suds, and as they say in Louisiana, “Lesse bon ton roulet!”

Smoked Chicken & Sausage Gumbo with Shrimp and Okra

Ingredients:

2 cups shredded Smoked Chicken, or Rotisserie chicken of choice

4 links Smoked Andouille sausage, sliced

1 bag frozen peeled and deveined Shrimp, or shrimp of choice

2 cups frozen sliced Okra, or fresh okra if available

1 cup Roux, recipe follows

1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped

1 Sweet Onion, chopped

3 stalks Celery, chopped

3 to 4 cloves Garlic, minced

about 3 tsp Fresh Thyme

2 to 4 dried Bay leaves

about 2 to 3 tsp File Powder, or to taste (I like a lot)

several dashes of Tabasco, or to taste

about 2 tsp Tony Chachere Bold Creole seasonings, or to taste

about 4 cups Vegetable stock

Salt and Black pepper to taste

2 cups cooked Rice, reserved

Method:

In a large dutch oven over med high flame, saute the red bell, onion, and celery in a very small amount of oil or butter until the veggies have just softened and turned translucent. Carefully add the roux to the pot and stir in the vegetable stock until well combined. Add to that the Creole seasoning, minced garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and Tabasco. Bring to a boil over a high flame then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, about 1/2 an hour. Add in the okra, chicken, and sausage then continue to cook an additional 15 minutes or so until the Gumbo thickens further. Stir in the File powder and shrimp then turn off the flame. Cover the dutch oven with the lid and let the Gumbo rest until the shrimps are cooked through, about 5 minutes or so. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over cooked rice with additional File powder and Tabasco.

Roux 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Vegetable, Grapeseed, or high smoke point oil

1/2 cup All Purpose flour

4 dried Bay leaves

a few sprigs of Fresh Thyme

small Cast Iron skillet

Method:

In a cast iron skillet, over a med low flame, heat the oil and stir in the flour. Continue to cook the roux, reducing the flame to low if needed, stirring frequently until you reach a hue similar to chocolate milk, about 45 min to an hour. Turn off the flame and let the roux rest, it will continue to cook so stir occasionally until ready to add to the Gumbo. I like to add in dried Bay leaves and fresh Thyme sprigs at this stage just to enhance the flavor a bit. Note: if you have never experienced a dark roux, opt for a lighter color and remove the roux from the heat sooner. The darker the roux the more authentic the flavor, but it does have a very distinctive taste.

 

 

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