Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

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Serving gumbo with a scoop of potato salad may sound odd to outsiders, but it’s common practice in New Orleans and for south Louisiana locals, especially those of German descent. Adjust the Creole seasoning and add hot sauce to suit your taste.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
 
Makes about 3 quarts
Ingredients
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced ¼ inch thick crosswise
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 4 large bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1½ teaspoons minced garlic
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • Hot cooked rice, potato salad, and chopped green onion, to serve
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. On a 15-inch cast-iron baking sheet, place sausage. Bake until browned, 20 to 25 minutes, turning sausage halfway through. Remove sausage from pan, and let drain on paper towels.
  2. In a large cast-iron Dutch oven, heat ¼ cup oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and 3 tablespoons flour all over chicken. Add chicken; cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pot.
  3. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to pot; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pot with a wooden spoon, until softened and lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove vegetables from pot; wipe pot clean.
  4. In pot, heat remaining ¾ cup oil over medium heat. Stir in remaining 1 cup flour until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, until roux has a nutty aroma and is the color of milk chocolate.
  5. Whisk in chicken broth until smooth. Add chicken, vegetables, thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire, and Creole seasoning, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally and skimming of excess fat that accumulates on top and around sides of pot, until liquid has thickened and reduced slightly, about 1 hour.
  6. Remove chicken, thyme stems, and bay leaves. Shred chicken, discarding skin and bones. Stir shredded chicken and sausage into gumbo. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with rice, potato salad, and green onion.

 

GUMBO STEP-BY-STEP

1. Cooking the andouille separately concentrates its meaty, spicy flavors, creates crispy bits, and renders out fat that would otherwise contribute to the final dish being greasy if it was simmered in the gumbo.

 

2. Browning the chicken is the first step to building layers of flavor in the gumbo. Using bone-in skin-on thighs helps keep the meat tender, and the light dusting of flour helps thicken the final dish. Use a Dutch oven that is large enough to fit the thighs in one layer so they don’t steam.

 

3. Sautéing the onion, bell pepper, and celery—the holy trinity in Cajun and Creole cooking—continues to build flavor in the gumbo. Scrape the bottom of the pot as you stir to loosen the browned bits, called the fond.

 

4. To make the roux, stir the flour into the hot oil until it’s smooth. This beginning stage and lightest color of roux is called blond, and it creates the base of gravies, cream sauces, and cheese sauces.

 
 
5. Stir the roux constantly as it cooks, being careful to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot so it browns evenly without burning. Resist the urge to crank up the heat; lower and slower is better than hotter and faster.

 

6. When the mixture is the color of peanut butter, you’re about halfway through cooking the roux. If you prefer a mild-flavored or thicker gumbo, you can stop cooking your roux at this stage. The longer a roux is cooked, the more flavor it has but the less it thickens.

 
7. Your roux is perfectly cooked when it looks like melted milk chocolate—you don’t want to cook it any more than this stage because it will quickly burn. If that happens, discard it, clean the pot, and start over.
 
 
8. Gradually whisk in chicken broth until smooth and well combined. If your Dutch oven is enameled, use a silicone whisk so it doesn’t scratch the pot.
 

 
9. Add the cooked vegetables, chicken, and seasonings, and bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot, and cook so the liquid can reduce slightly to help it thicken.
 
 
 
10. As the gumbo cooks, skim off any oil that accumulates on top of the liquid and around the sides of the pot. This removes excess fat that would otherwise mask the full flavors of the ingredients and make the final dish greasy.
 
 
 
11. Stir the shredded chicken and cooked sausage into the gumbo, and simmer it for a few minutes to heat everything through. If you prefer a thicker gumbo, continue cooking it uncovered until it reduces to your desired consistency.