Rib-Stickin’ Louisiana Gumbo

gumbo (1)Yes, it’s Mardi Gras time again. And this is Fat Tuesday, February 12. What could be better than a recipe for Gumbo? This is no time for “designer” New Orleans food. What we need here is the real deal, and Gumbo is about as authentic as it gets.

There are a lot of potential ingredients for Gumbo, like duck, chicken, crab, shrimp, oysters, crawfish and sausage to go along with the fresh vegetables included. Mine is made with chicken, Andouille sausage and shrimp. This is great on winter nights.

You need a decent size pot for this recipe.

Ingredients

1 lb medium or large shrimp, peeled and de-veined

1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 lb Andouille sausage, cut into bite-size pieces

1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp canola oil

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped pepper (green, red, yellow or a mix)

1 cup chopped celery

3 cups sliced okra (if frozen, thaw first)

6 cups chicken stock

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper (optional; not everyone can take the heat)

1 tbsp Creole seasoning

1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 bay leaves

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Tabasco sauce (for serving)

Parsley, chives or scallions (for garnish)

Directions

Coat the bottom of a heavy pot with 1 tbsp canola oil. Add the chicken and Andouille sausage and brown over medium-high heat. Don’t worry about the pieces that may get stuck on the bottom of the pan. They will release themselves. These bits are critical to the deep flavor of the Gumbo. Remove the chicken and sausage from the pan and set aside.

Cut the onions, celery and peppers and set aside.

Now, add the 1/2 cup of canola oil and flour to the pan. Stir well and cook to make a roux. This is a critical step in the process. You should cook the roux until it is the color of a copper penny. Next, add the onion, celery and peppers and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken stock slowly and whisk well so that the roux and stock are well blended.

Add the chicken, sausage and the balance of the ingredients except the shrimp and okra, which is added towards the end. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes, then uncover and simmer on low heat for an additional 30 minutes.

Add the shrimp and okra, and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Serve in bowls with plain white rice. Serve 1-1/4 cups of Gumbo with 1/3 cup rice. That’s about the right ratio for an authentic New Orleans feast! Feel free to garnish with scallions, parsley or chives! And it goes great with my recipe for Ass Kickin’ Greens, by the way.

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