Smoked Sausage & Chicken Gumbo



Why this recipe?   This gumbo is deep, rich, and full of complex flavors—it is topped off with an alluring smokiness and a touch of heat. Of course, hot sauce is handy for anyone who wants to kick up the heat in their own gumbo bowl!

Served over freshly steamed rice, it's topped with green onions, file (ground sassafras leaves), and a delicious hard boiled egg—saturated with gumbo. My Uncle Ken first learned to add hard-boiled eggs to gumbo from his "Bayou buddies" in Louisiana. The eggs are a perfect addition to your gumbo!

Gumbo most likely originated in Southern Louisiana in the 18th century.  Made with a dark roux and the Trinity (celery, onion, bell pepper) or the Holy Trinity (add garlic as well), gumbo combines ingredients and culinary practices of several cultures, including: West African, French, Spanish, German and the Choctaw Indian.

My secret to rich gumbo is a dark roux! It takes about 45 minutes of cooking time to achieve the right deep, rich color.  To prevent my roux from burning, I lay a Hershey's milk chocolate bar near my cast iron skillet while cooking—periodically matching the roux's color to the the chocolate bar.

Click on the photo above (no enhancements) and take a closer look at the wonderful "chocolate"color!

The Flip:
  • Replaced Andouille sausage with smoked sausage. Andouille is too spicy for some of my family members!
  • For additional flavor, replaced the chicken broth with beef stock
  • Reduced oil by one tablespoon
  • Removed skin from chicken thighs
  • Cut red pepper by 1/2 tablespoon
  • Added hard boiled farm eggs
My thoughts:   
  • To save time, I have my butcher prepare the chicken
  • Allow yourself a day to prep, prepare and cook this gumbo—it's worth it!
  • Use a cast iron skillet to make the roux.  Remove the roux from the skillet to stop the cooking process.
  • This gumbo is perfect for large gatherings!
  • Usually served over rice



Ingredients:
  • 2 cups oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 24 hard boiled eggs, peeled
  • 3 lbs smoked beef sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch coins
  • 4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 cups onions, chopped
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 2 cups green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chicken flavored granules
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2-3 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 42 oz beef stock
  • 8 cups water 
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • file (powdered sassafras leaves) 
Directions:
  1. In cast iron skillet; heat oil over medium high heat.  Gradually stir in flour. Lower heat to medium low heat and continue stirring until roux is the color of a Hershey milk chocolate bar (be patient!). Remove finished roux from skillet and place in medium size bowl (or it'll continue to darken)!  Set aside to cool. Wipe cast iron skillet clean.
  2. In small bowl; measure chicken granules, black pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic, bay leaf, oregano and thyme.  Set aside.
  3. Place large gumbo or stock pot on stove.
  4. In cast iron skillet; heat 1 tbsp oil over medium low heat.  In two batches; saute smoked sausage until slightly browned. Transfer to gumbo pot. 
  5. Using the same cast iron skillet; saute onions, celery, and bell pepper in butter for 8-10 minutes. Add small bowl of seasoning (step #2) and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Transfer vegetable mixture to gumbo pot.
  6. Using the same cast iron skillet; heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat.  Saute half of chicken until light golden brown. (I use s little bit of water to dislodge any chicken that sticks to the skillet). Set chicken aside.  Repeat (step #6) with remaining half of chicken. 
  7. In gumbo pot; add hot sauce, stock, water and eggs.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Add dark roux.  Stir until gumbo starts to boil again.  Reduce heat and low boil gumbo for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.  Add chicken and simmer for additional 15 minutes.
  8. Serve over rice and top with green onions and file.

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