Deliciously spicy chicken and andouille sausage gumbo over fluffy white rice is a great winter warmer!
Gumbo is not difficult if you have mastered making roux- and if not, it is widely available in the markets in jars. You can easily make up a bunch and keep it on hand rather than spending time with it every time you need it.
The word “gumbo”, as I understand it, is an African word that means okra. It was brought to the south via the slave trade, slave cooks would prepare that and call it Gumbo, which was part of the African heritage. While the slave trade of the past in the USA was unfortunate, the cooking heritage of those people was not, and is an integral part of the southern cuisine of the United States. Gumbo has a bit of French flavor in it, utilizing the “trinity” as onion, celery and green pepper instead of the usual French mirepoix of onion, carrot and celery. The type of cooking style is called Creole because of the mixture of French and African influences, as well as the people who made it.
I used the larger frozen type chicken drummettes in this. Where I live, Kroger stores also sells fresh drummettes but those tend to be a bit smaller- go with about 2 pounds or enough to cover the bottom of your pan when browning them. I use drummettes (from wings) because I live bone-in chicken in my gumbo, but larger pieces can sometimes lose small bits of bone in soups and cooking in crock pot recipes. I hate that. Also, handling a little drummette in a bowl is a bit easier than juggling a larger chicken piece, like a thigh or drumstick.
I use fresh okra in this but i realize that in winter you might not find it, depending on your market. You can use frozen okra- I find it of lesser quality but you gotta do what you gotta do…
If you are using dried thyme use only about a third the quantity. And okra is one of the thickeners in the soup so if you don’t use it, the soup can still be made but the three major thickeners (okra, roux, file) may have to be adjusted.
I didn’t season mine with salt but my stock had enough salt in it- I recommend seasoning with that later in the cooking as most stock/broth is salty enough to season the meat. My Cajun seasoning I used on the chicken also had some salt so I didn’t want to overdo it. Test for seasoning before serving and adjust that if you need to- doing that is a good habit to have while cooking, to taste as you go. But salt is almost always adjusted last.
Pepper sauce you can use Tabasco or a milder Louisiana pepper sauce such as Crystal or Frank’s. If you’re daring you can go with something hotter- I keep a basket of different hot sauces available at my table so each person can have the kind they want.
- 8 large chicken wing drummettes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. cajun seasoning
- 4 tbsp. shortening or bacon drippings
- 12 ounces andouille sausage or smoked sausage, chopped
- 2 cups sliced fresh okra
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 cups diced celery
- 2 cups chopped green pepper
- 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tbsp. cooking oil
- 6 tbsp. roux
- 6 cups chicken stock
- Louisiana hot pepper sauce (optional)
- gumbo file (optional)
- hot cooked long grain rice (optional)
- Stir together flour and Cajun seasoning and dredge chicken drummettes; shake off excess flour.
- Heat shortening in a deep skillet or dutch oven and brown drummettes on all sides; drain.
- Drain off all fat except 1-2 tablespoons and saute the sausage, okra, onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, and fresh thyme until onion begins to soften.
- Stir in bay leaves, chopped tomatoes and chicken stock.
- Mix in the roux and add the chicken to the pot, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 40-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Adjust thickener (roux) if necessary.
- Serve gumbo over hot rice with a sprinkling of hot sauce and gumbo file, if desired.
Other things to do:
- To make roux yourself, mix together equal parts of oil and flour in a skillet. Cook, stirring, over very low heat until the flour darkens but be careful not to scorch. You can make roux light or dark, but the darker the color the more pronounced the flavor and the less thickening power it has. You can cook it light to about the color of peanut butter, medium like the color of nut shells, or dark, like the color of milk chocolate. Store extra roux in a sealed container in a cool dry place or keep refrigerated. Since it contains oil if you don’t use it within a few months it may go rancid- don’t use it then but discard.
- You will need steamed long-grain white rice to go with this so don’t forget to prepare it.
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