August 23, 2011

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

When I saw the okra at the farmers market one thing came to mind - John Besh's My New Orleans.  This was my first attempted at an official gumbo.  The recipe is definitely not a small serving (Serves 10 to 12), but I like to entertain and have family and friends for dinner; dish is perfect for a large group.

The roux made up of the fat or oil and the flour provides a rich base to the gumbo.  The slow cooking takes the color from light tan to a rich brown and makes the first step the beginning of a wonderful smell in your kitchen.

Don't go searching for a pre-made Creole spice you may have the items you need right in your pantry. I thought Besh's blend added wonderful flavor and and just the right amount of kick.  You will have plenty to use on other dishes as well.

The cook time is approximately 2 hours, it is worth the patience with every bite.

    1 cup rendered chicken fat or canola oil
    1 cup flour
    2 large onions, diced
    1 large chicken, cut into 12 pieces (I used boneless skinless thighs, they held up great and were tender)
    2 tablespoons Basic Creole Spices (recipe follows)
    2 pounds spicy smoked sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
    2 stalks celery, diced
    2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
    1 tomato, seeded and chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
    3 quarts chicken stock
    2 bay leaves
    6 ounces andouille sausage, chopped
    2 cups sliced fresh okra
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Filé powder
    White rice for serving
Make a roux by heating the chicken fat or oil in a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil. It will immediately begin to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate and continue whisking until the roux takes on a deep brown color, about 15 minutes. Add the onions, stirring them into the roux with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the roux is a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.

Season the chicken with Creole Spices. Add the chicken to the pot, raise heat to moderate, and cook, turning the pieces until browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the smoked sausage and stir for a minute before adding the celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add the thyme, Chicken Stock, and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and skim off the fat from the surface of the gumbo every so often.

Add the andouille, okra, and Worcestershire and season with salt and pepper, several dashes of filé powder, and Tabasco. Simmer for another 45 minutes, continuing to skim the fat off the surface of the gumbo. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls over rice.

Basic Creole Spice - makes 1/2 cup -
    2 tablespoons celery salt
    1 tablespoon sweet paprika
    1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
    1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    1 tablespoon onion powder
    2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Mix together the celery salt, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and allspice in a bowl. Transfer the spices to a clean container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and store.

I think I made Chef Besh proud with my gumbo.

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