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Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

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I HAVE NEVER been very good at making huge pots of gumbo. I like to think of my gumbo as a highly specialized small batch gumbo or “boutique” style gumbo. I strive for a deep, dark, rich, smoky flavor. Much of this can be achieved through the meats and sausage that you choose as well as a carefully tended roux. Smoked chicken, smoked duck (especially the duck breast) and good, smoky, Louisiana-made Andouille are a must. My favorite restaurant gumbos are at Mr B’s and Stanley’s. They meet all of my criteria for a perfectly balanced, dense, complex gumbo.

Stock:

The first step is to make your own stock. If you have a leftover smoked turkey carcass, this will produce the flavors you want. If not, use a whole chicken and make a stock as usual. Essential ingredients: Cover carcass or chicken with water, add 1-2 carrots roughly chopped, 2 stalks celery, 1 onion quartered, 2 garlic cloves smashed, a few sprigs of parsley, pinch of thyme, bay leaf, salt and ground black pepper. Once the chicken is cooked, 45–60 minutes, debone and reserve meat for the gumbo. Strain veggies from broth and reserve hot stock for the gumbo.

Roux:

Use equal parts oil and flour. Nothing beats the texture and consistency you can achieve by making the roux in a cast iron pot. For a small batch of gumbo to serve about six people, make a roux with 1-cup oil and 1-cup flour. Cook stirring constantly until a deep dark brown.
Next add finely chopped veggies; 2 large onions, 1 cup celery, 3 cloves minced garlic, ½ cup green onions, and 1 bell pepper to the roux and cook slowly until tender. Add warm chicken stock in a slow steady stream whisking to blend roux veggie mixture. Add salt and pepper, 1-teaspoon thyme, and 2 bay leaves and cook at a medium heat to reduce and thicken the stock.
Once the gumbo mixture sets and flavors blend, add meats. ½ pound of hot sausage, Double D is tasty, and ½ pound Andouille, Schexnayder is my sausage of choice. Slice and brown lightly in a separate skillet. Drain and add to gumbo with chicken and any smoked meats such as smoked duck breast or other smoked chicken parts.
Simmer for one hour and serve over rice. Gumbo, like so many creole pot foods is best made a day ahead. The flavors definitely improve. In Cajun-land they serve with a small portion of potato salad that is stirred into the gumbo. Try it and bon appetit

 

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