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DC Challenge: Gumbo

May 26, 2011

 

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Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh. 

I chose to do the Chicken & Sausage Gumbo. When we were in New Orleans, Louisiana (“NOLA”) just last week, we had a couple different types of Gumbo. They all had sausage; the variation between the two was the thickness and color of the sauce. One sauce was thick and dark, the other was translucent and green. This recipe yields a gumbo like the first, a thick mahogany hue.

The ingredient list is long, it could take 30 minutes or so to gather everything together, but that’s the only tricky thing about the recipe. Once everything is mise en place, the next step is to make the roux. Here is where the variation in the recipes come from: how long the chef cooks the flour in the fat. If the fat is cooked longer, the sauce gets darker. It starts off sloshy and white, then pales to a beige, until turning brown and more brown, until it’s almost black, or you’re too afraid it’ll turn black to cook it further.

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Go ahead and get all your stuff together:

  • 1/2 cup duck fat*
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup okra
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1.5 liters of chicken stock
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1/4 pound Andouille sausage
  • 2 pounds chicken, with bones or without, with skin or without. I used a pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and a couple leg quarters.
  • Creole Spice blend*
  • Filé powder

First season the chicken with the spice blend and let sit while you make the sauce. To begin the roux have at the ready

  • 1/2 cup duck fat*
  • 1/2 cup flour

*You can use any animal fat or oil.

Heat the duck fat in a big pot over a medium high hob. When gleaming with heat, add the flour, and whisk constantly. The roux will begin to color but remain thin for some time. Color the roux to your taste, but at least for 10 minutes.

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After the roux is developed, add in

  • 1/2 cup okra
  • 1 large onion, diced

and fry until the sauce becomes glossy and mahogany in color, about 5-10 minutes. Then go ahead and add in the chicken, stirring to coat but cooking to brown the pieces, about 10 more minutes. Then add in the sausages.

  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1/4 pound Andouille sausage

Once well combined and heated, add in

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

and bring sauté for a couple minutes. Then add the chicken stock into the pot and bring to a boil, skimming fat every so often for at least 45 minutes. Add file powder to taste. You can serve either alone as a stew, or with rice or with noodles. Enjoy!

 

*For the Basic Creole Spices, combine

  • 2 tablespoons celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon  onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
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