My Louisiana family may have to unfollow me or unfriend me on Facebook after this one, mostly just because that’s the only title I could come up with. Everyone who’s tried it, loves my gumbo, but it’s a little different than the traditional. Mine is a tad thicker, closer to stew, and I cook it longer. It’s not because I don’t love traditional gumbo, but I have never been able to pull off the right, thin final product. Gumbo, like chili, is one of those meals that tastes even better the second day. I have found that cooking it a little longer, you give it that second day flavor. Over the years my guys and I have really fallen in love with this recipe and even prefer it.
Wanting to share this comfort food with you, last night I did something that I have never even considered doing; I wrote down my gumbo recipe. It was a huge challenge, and you who also shoot from the hip know, that never making things the same way twice causes a little stress when asked for the recipe. I think I came up with something and I have to say that it was pretty darn good and right on target. This isn’t a difficult recipe, but it does require a little work and diligence. Oh, and it’s mandatory to serve this with fresh made potato salad. Recipe tomorrow.
A couple of notes: I always thought I hated okra until I stumbled on a way to bake it with salsa, Rotel and Tony’s. It’s perfect in a gumbo. Canned okra and tomato variations are available in most grocery stores if you want to it, but it is not necessary in this recipe.
Additionally, we love gumbo file (pronounced FEE-LAY). This is simply dried and ground sassafras leaves sprinkled over the gumbo during or after cooking. So delicious, but also not mandatory.
Finally, though most people will use the fancy smoked sausage, I am partial to the skinless. Don’t get me wrong, I love the good stuff, but I also love the softer texture and the way the skinless sausage soaks in the flavor. Any smoked sausage will do however.
Let me know what you guys think!
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 1.5-2 hours Serves: a small army
- 1 & 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup olive oil (vegetable oil is the traditional oil)
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
- 2 lbs smoked sausage, cut into bite size pieces
- 2 + quarts water
- 2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 TBSP Tony Chachere or other creole seasoning
- Cooked white rice
- 1-3 tsp Gumbo file, additional for table use
- A bottle of wine, easily accessible during the first 30 minutes
- An assistant to help stir
- In a large black pot (Dutch over) or stock pot, heat the oil and flour on medium high heat, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir for 25-30 minutes, until the roux is the color of coffee with a touch of cream in it (have back up standing by to relieve your sore arm and have your meat and veggies prepped. Pour a glass of wine). DO NOT leave the roux unattended as it burns very quickly. Hence, the constant stirring.
- When the roux is ready, add the chopped onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Stir for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the 2 quarts of water, garlic salt, black pepper and creole seasoning and bring to a boil. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes (Top off your wine and wipe your brow).
- Add the cubed chicken and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 20 minutes (Top off your wine).
- Add the cut sausage, file and okra and continue cooking on medium low, stirring occasionally, for an additional 30-45 minutes, until the flavors blend and the vegetables are totally softened (Top off your wine).
- Add water as needed to prevent over-thickening.
Serve over cooked rice with extra file and a side of potato salad. Or serve your potato salad in the same bowl as it often done in Louisiana (Top off your wine and collapse into a chair, letting the applause wash over you).