New Orleans Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo
Friday, 28 January 2011 18:04

Gumbo!What's a girl to do on a Friday afternoon in January with nothing but snow in the forecast? Turn on WWOZ and make a pot of New Orleans Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo. Yea you right!

 

I woke up this morning and said, "I'm making Gumbo today." Maybe because it is drawing close to Mardi Gras season, or maybe because I miss my Mama and my grandfather, Mr. Owen J. Bourgeois, Sr., who we call Pa Pa. Whatever it is, our house smells like a smoky roux and that unmistakable Gumbo aroma... it takes me back to days of my childhood in my Mama's kitchen.

The Sparks

This was the first time I have ever made Gumbo. We had it often growing up, so I'm not sure why I haven't pestered my Mama for the recipe. I've always wanted to try it and because of a handmade cookbook she put together for us for Christmas, I now have the recipe! Here's what I did:

According to The New Orleans School of Cooking Cookbook and Louisiana General Store...

The New Orleans School of Cooking Cookbook

 

I thoroughly washed and seasoned the pieces of chicken, prepping it to be browned with...

Raw chicken prepped for gumbo

 

This scrumptious Andouille Sausage:

Andouille Sausage

While that browned...

Chicken and Sausage Browning

...I diced up the holy trinity, and some garlic. For those of you that don't know, the holy trinity varies among cuisines, but for some Cajun and Creole chefs, it consists of bell pepper, celery and onion. It makes your house smell like there's no other place you'd rather be. This recipe calls for green pepper, but I used red.

Holy Trinity Plus Garlic

After it browned up all nice and brown-like, I removed the chicken and andouille from the pan, and proceeded to make my roux (pronounced roo).

To one cup of oil, I added equal parts flour. Some suggest just a tad more flour, which I usually do when I make a roux with butter and flour.

What kind of roux to make, blonde, medium, red, dark? Choices, choices... Cajun chefs prefer darker roux for gumbo, while the Creole ones want a lighter roux. I went with something in the middle, maybe a dirty blonde? Wink, wink.

I stirred it almost constantly over medium heat while the bubbling brew browned. I've always been one for adept alliteration. She says after glass of Malbec, #2.

Roux 1

Roux 2

This stuff is fiercely hot. Take extra caution when stirring - it is boiling oil and flour and scalds quickly.

Roux 3

Roux 4

Roux 5

Roux 6

Roux 7

In the pot, the father, son and holy spirit say hello to the roux. Mix, mix, scrape, scrape, don't stop or it might burn. That flour on the pot's bottom is tenacious! Note: if you are making an okra gumbo, this is where you'd add 4-5 cups of fresh, cut okra. I'm north of the Mason Dixon line, so it's hard to find okra in these parts, especially in January, 'cept in the can, so I'll wait and add my canned okra at the end so it won't get too mushy.

The Holy Trinity meets the Roux

The garlic jumps in! It wouldn't be the same without the gawwwlic! Is it ever the same without the gawwwlic? Dont' stop stirring and scraping! Your arm will be tired, your brow will perspire, your eye will twitch, but don't stop stirring! (Except for a quick pic!)

Gawwwlic

When the vegetables have reached a "desired tenderness" (oh my), send the chicken and sausage back into the pot. I'm sure you can remove the bones and skin of the chicken before all of this, but it felt more authentic and in-my-mama's-kitchen to do it this way. All that flavor will cook into the Gumbo.

Veggies and Meat

Next you are going to begin one long and slow process of adding 8 cups of stock. Go slow! Otherwise, it'll thin too quickly. We don't like 'em too thin around here. I really like how the organic label matches my countertop.

Chicken Stock

Add it slowly and keep on stirring!

Adding stock to pot

Liquid in Gumbo

Then, if you like, add a small can of tomatoes to the pot. My Mama suggested it, and it enhances the color and the flavor!

Canned 'maters

Add salt, pepper, and cayenne. Give it another good stir, put the lid on, lower to a simmer and walk away for at least an hour. Your house will smell like home. Turn on some Zydeco and give your sweetie a squeeze!

Gumbo before cooking for an hour

After it has cooked for a while, turn off the heat and let it sit until you're ready to go hog wild. Then, sift through the pot and collect all skin, bones and such. It seems like a chore, but it takes less than 5 minutes and it makes enjoying the gumbo much nicer. You won't have to worry about running into a bone.

Pile of Gumbo Scraps

Then whip yourself up some southern potato salad and white rice. Because that's how we do it. The potato salad has 4 ingredients: red-skinned potatoes boiled, peeled, cubed, hard-boiled eggs, Hellman's mayonnaise and yellow mustard. There is no other way, friends. And Pa Pa claims it lasts 14 days in the fridge! Ours is usually gone in 3 so we can't make such claims.

Potato Salad for the Gumbo

Slice some soft french bread. There are clearly not enough carbs in this meal yet.

French Bread

Now is the time to add the canned okra and 2 cups of chopped scallions (green onions) to the pot. This is also the point where you'd add File (fee-lay) to the pot, a powder made from dried and ground sassafras leaves, but I couldn't find any of that in these parts. Mama says the okra will do.

Okra

Then step back and admire your handiwork, and the gift of N'awlins cuisine. It's a blend of Caribbean, African, French, Indian, Spanish, African-American and love. This is real food.

Gumbo on spoon 1

Gumbo on spoon 2

Gumbo on spoon 3

And then add a scoop of white rice to your best gumbo dish (wide and shallow) and ladle on some of this deliciousness. I put a scoop of warm potato salad right in there, off to the side. Let a piece of bread soak up some of the liquid. It's so good, it'll make you wanna 'Slap Yo Mama!'... but not mine!

Gumbo in the gumbo bowl

Here's a bit of Gumbo history, if you'd like to know the origins... http://www.foodreference.com/html/artgumbo.html

 

Enjoy! ~The First Muse