I can give you lots of great reasons to whip up a big batch of this delicious concoction; to pay homage to Mardi Gras or Southern food in general, you have a hankering for comfort food, you're cooking for a crowd and you love one-pot dinners.
But my favorite reason - it's EASY. Call me crazy, but that's what you want when you're entertaining right?
Don't be intimidated by the process of making a roux. You'll read plenty of opinions on techniques and ingredients - some only use peanut oil and others never use butter, some weigh ingredients for 1:1 ratios by volume and some use a dry roux.
All good reads but the best piece of advice is just take it slow, stir constantly and have extra ingredients on hand in case you scorch it and need to start over.
I carefully considered recipes from the masters - Paul Prudhomme and Emeril, but ultimately chose this one from Bon Appetit as a rough guide because of the additional herbs and spices. I say "rough" because Gumbo like any other stew can be whatever you like - just seafood, a combination of meats and seafood, strictly veggies - you get the idea.
I added shrimp, lots of garlic and substituted zucchini for the celery and bell peppers and omitted the okra altogether because I only like it fried y'all. Make sure you have a top-quality hot sauce and the file powder on the table as these add a very authentic kick.
Serve with lots of crusty bread, a simple green salad and a fruity rum-based cocktail like a Hurricane to balance the heat and you're channeling The Big Easy without ever breaking a sweat.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup (or more) vegetable oil
- 1 pound andouille or other spicy smoked sausage, cut into 1/2' rounds
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced (white and pale parts separated from dark)
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 green bell peppers, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 8 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 cups 1/2”-thick slices fresh (or frozen, thawed) okra, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoonsWorchestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (preferably Crystal)
- 1 teaspoon filé powder plus more (optional)
- Steamed Rice
- Combine 1 Tbsp. salt and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl; sprinkle all over chicken. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Working in batches, sear chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add sausage to pot; cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate with chicken.
- Strain drippings from pot through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-cup heatproof measuring cup; reserve 1 cup drippings, adding more oil if needed to measure 1 cup. Wipe pot clean; return drippings to pot.
- Heat drippings over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Whisk constantly until roux is the color of milk chocolate, 15–20 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in white and pale-green parts of scallions and next 3 ingredients. Cook, stirring often, until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in broth. Add bay leaves, thyme, and reserved chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer gently, skimming fat from surface and stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.
- Stir in 1 cup okra, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Simmer until chicken is very tender and flavors meld, about 45 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 cup okra; simmer until okra is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool slightly; chill uncovered until cold. Cover and keep chilled. Rewarm gently before continuing. Add 1 tsp. filé powder, if using.
- Serve gumbo over rice. Garnish with dark-green parts of scallions. Sprinkle with more filé powder, if desired.