Friday, November 19, 2010

How to Make Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

My family is cajun through and through.  That pretty much mean we love gumbo.  It's one of my favorite meals to eat and to cook.  When I make gumbo, I invite lots of people over because it's impossible to make a little bit.  Start with water, fill a large soup pot about 1/3 of the way and set it on the stove and turn the burner on high.  Add chicken pieces, salt and pepper and seasoning blends.  I use Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning, but any brand of cajun or creole seasoning will do.  While this is getting hot (it needs to boil for quite some time) you can either add ready-made roux or make your own.  When the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to about medium and let it simmer.
To make the roux: in a heavy skillet mix one cup cooking oil and one cup all purpose flour, cook on high heat.  Once the oil is hot, turn the heat down so you don't burn the flour.  Stir and stir and stir.  Most people find this part tedious, but I enjoy watching the roux change from white to caramel color as it cooks.  Keep stirring, it takes a good 7-10 minutes depending on the temperature.  If a few little flakes turn black, turn the stove down again--the flour is burning and mash up the little clumps while you stir.  When the roux is a beautiful brown caramel color, it's done.  Turn the stove off but keep stirring, it will continue to cook for a few minutes.  When it's cool enough to handle the skillet, pour the roux into the gumbo pot. 

Stir the gumbo and add onions, bell pepper, and celery.  Let this simmer for another 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  Add your favorite sausage.  The gumbo will be done when the sausage is cooked through.  I always add tasso at the same time as the sausage for the extra flavor, and we have rice and sweet potatoes.  The tasso is optional but the sausage is not.  I truly do not measure anything.  It's just a guess and a taste as to how much of anything to add.  I like my gumbo to have lots of flavor, but not too spicy, so there's Tobasco on the table for the spice lovers and file' for those who enjoy adding it to their bowls.  To fix a bowl put about a half cup of rice in the bottom, add enough gumbo to cover the rice, making sure you get a little bit of chicken and seasoning meats, then peel a sweet potato and drop it in the side.  That's it.  Enjoy.

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