Fifi's Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
This is a very basic gumbo that I learned many years ago from a dear lady in LaPlace, Louisiana. She was quite an authority on gumbo and its many styles. She and her far-flung Louisiana family put a lot of energy into "discussion" of one style versus another. This dark and sultry style is a favorite for poultry and sausage of whatever type. We made up the term "South of I-10 Style" because she claims it is more prevalent the further south you go. Turkey is often the bird in question after Thanksgiving. Duck often shows up after a successful hunt. It is not a thick gumbo, due to the very dark roux losing some thickening power in the process, and the vegetables just about disappear. File is often offered at the table for addition to the diner's liking. The recipe is a good starting point. Endless variations are possible. I have included some techniques that might help achieve that dark roux.
1 cup vegetable oil (or other fat such as butter, bacon, duck, etc)
1 cup flour (bleached or unbleached white all purpose)
2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell pepper
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups chicken stock (or store-bought broth)
1 pound smoked sausage, not fresh, (kielbasa or andouille) cut crosswise into Â½" slices
1 pound chicken meat cut into 1" chunks (best to use thigh meat)
3 bay leaves
Chopped green onion, parsley, and file for serving (optional)
White rice for serving (NOT optional)
Make the roux
- Combine the oil and flour in your pot and stir together until there are no lumps. It should be liquid enough that it flows well as you stir. Add more oil if necessary.
- Turn the heat to medium high on a wimpy range or maybe medium on a better burner and start stirring. I recommend using a wooden spatula rather than a spoon as that tool does a better job of sweeping the bottom and corners of the pot. Oh, by the way, you can't stop stirring so you best go pee before you start this. When the roux gets to the color of a Hershey Bar, you are ready to go. WARNING: The reddish Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar color is very close to burning. If black flecks appear, you have burned it and blown it. Start over.
Make the gumbo
- Dump the seasoned trinity into the roux all at once and stir like crazy. If you are getting close to burning the roux, this drops the temperature and keeps it from burning. There will be a lot of steamin' and sputterin' going on but this has a lot to do with the flavor development. The high heat hitting the vegetables and cayenne makes a flavor difference.
- Continue to stir and cook for about five minutes until the vegetables are wilted.
- Add the sausage and bay leaves; continue stirring and cooking for about five minutes.
- Slowly add the broth (it should be cool) stirring continuously to incorporate.
- Reduce heat and maintain a slow simmer for two hours, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- In the meantime, season the chicken meat with the creole seasoning. Add it to the pot and simmer for another hour, stirring occasionally. (Hint, chicken meat is easier to cut into chunks if it is icy.)
- Check seasoning and add salt if necessary.
- Excess oil may break out. Skim off if you wish.
Stir in chopped green onion and parsley and serve over white rice. File on the table for adding is optional.