In Northeast Ohio, dropping fall temps signal a return to comfort food. One of our favorites is chicken & andouille gumbo! It’s perfect for Sunday football or really any day of the week.
Years ago, a high school friend married a girl from the heart of Cajun country – Lafayette, LA. A fellow foodie, she got me really interested in both Creole and Cajun food. Once when her mom was visiting Ohio we were treated to her authentic & legendary gumbo. I became obsessed with learning to make it and perfecting my roux.
I made a few attempts while our friends still lived locally and each time she’d say, “not bad but I think you can go a hair darker on the roux“. They’re now out of state but each time I make gumbo I can hear her words. Honestly, I think she’d be really proud of the batch below – my darkest, richest attempt yet.
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The first and most important step in cooking gumbo is to make your roux. While you can buy store-bought (kind of cheating), it’s a great technique to learn that isn’t difficult but does require some focus and patience.
For this recipe, heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil then blend in 1/2 cup flour with either a whisk or spoon. Set the heat somewhere between medium-low and medium and keep stirring the roux until it achieves a rich, dark brown color. I aim for a shade approaching milk chocolate. This process will take anywhere from 15-45 minutes or so, depending upon how high you feel comfortable setting your heat. Be careful that it doesn’t burn or you’ll need to discard it and start over.
Once your roux is ready, add the “trinity” and sauté for a few minutes until nicely coated and getting a bit tender.
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 1 cup chopped onion
Next, add the garlic, chicken broth, chicken, sausage, and seasonings. NOTE: You can opt to cook raw chicken in the gumbo, remove it to cool, chop the meat, and add it back in or you can save a little time by using a pre-roasted chicken and just removing the cooked meat from that.
If cooking in the gumbo, I typically use a whole chicken cut into pieces. With this approach, wait to add the andouille sausage until you add the cooked and chopped chicken back into the pot. Andouille sausage is pre-cooked and if you add it too early, you run the risk of it becoming dry.
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups cooked chicken
- 12 – 16 ounces andouille sausage, sliced (in cooked sausage section of grocery)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- salt to taste
Simmer until heated through and the flavors blend about 15-20 minutes. Serve with hot rice and gumbo filé. Gumbo filé is a ground spice (sassafras) that adds both an earthy flavor and serves to thicken the gumbo. Try adding anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per serving.
For another one of my New Orleans-style favorites, check out this recipe for Muffaletta!
Until next time…keep cultivating a simple, stylish, and satisfying life!