Super Bowl and Mardi Gras are coming up so I thought I’d post a gumbo recipe. A true gumbo starts with a roux (pronounced “roo”), a slowly cooked mixture of oil and flour. Gumbo takes time to prepare and cook so this is one of those recipes that requires a little bit of planning. Don’t let this scare you off, though. Gumbo is well worth the few extra steps involved in making it.
It’s important to have all ingredients chopped and ready to go before starting the gumbo. And, you must be patient when making the roux. You do not want to be multi-tasking while making the roux, which takes a good 25 minutes or so of constant stirring at medium heat (or lower). Be careful not to burn the roux (dark specks or a burnt smell) or you’ll have to toss it out and start all over to make a new one. Once the roux is a dark brown color (I make mine the color of dark brown sugar) then you add in the chopped onions, celery and red bell pepper. The rest of the recipe is relatively easy. Gumbo is great for entertaining because it can be made a day ahead and reheated. For serving, spoon a little cooked rice in a bowl and ladle the hot gumbo over it. Serve with Tabasco Sauce for an extra kick.
Note: this recipe includes directions for making Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning. Since the gumbo recipe calls for using only 1 tablespoon of it, I just make a smaller amount of ESSENCE.
Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo with White Rice
-Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse – foodnetwork.com
EMERIL’S NOTE ON ROUX: If this is your first time making a roux, the slower you cook it, the less likely you will be to burn it.
Serves: 6 to 7 cups, 6 to 8 servings
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, cut crosswise 1/2-inch thick pieces
4 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed
1 tablespoon Essence or Creole seasoning, recipe follows
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 bay leaves
9 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon file powder
White Rice, recipe follows
In a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Season the chicken with the Essence 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, let cool, and then refrigerate until ready to use.
Combine the remaining 1/2 cup oil and the flour in the same Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, to make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate.
Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and cook, stirring, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the reserved sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Stirring, slowly add the chicken stock, and cook, stirring, until well combined. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
Add the reserved chicken to the pot and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, skimming off any fat that rises to the surface.
Remove the pot from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken thighs from the gumbo and place on a cutting board to cool slightly. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Pull the chicken meat from the bones and shred, discarding the bones and skin. Return the meat to the gumbo and stir in the green onions, parsley, and file powder.
Spoon rice into the bottom of deep bowls or large cups and ladle the gumbo on top. Serve, passing hot sauce on the side.
Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Yield: 2/3 cup.
Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch Published by William and Morrow, 1993.
2 cups long-grain white rice
4 cups water, chicken stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf
In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the rice, water, butter, salt, and bay leaf and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit, covered and undisturbed, for 5 minutes.
Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork. Discard the bay leaf and serve. Yield: 7 cups.