If Mexican food is my heart’s delight, then Cajun is a close second. I’ve been rediscovering some of my cookbooks lately, and one of my faves is Gulf Coast Kitchens: Bright Flavors from Key West to the Yucatan. I just love the combination of Caribbean, Cajun, and Mexican recipes. This week I was in the market for a dish that would last all week long (and that I wouldn’t be sick of after 2 nights). Since gumbo gets better each day (up until a point, of course… then it just gets worse… way worse), I decided to whip up a double batch. I’ve made gumbo a few times before, but it’s been a few years. I consulted a few different recipes, but didn’t follow any one in particular. In the past I’ve added shrimp, and sometimes crabmeat, but since I had planned for this gumbo to feed me for a week, I thought I’d bypass the seafood. Forgive me if my amounts and measurements are extremely vague – I was winging it for most of the recipe!
Ingredients (list is for a single batch – about 4-6 servings; my photos reflect the double batch I somehow thought I
1 lb chicken – cooked and cubed
about 1.5 lbs andouille sausage (I used TJ’s chicken sausage… as usual)
4 cups chicken broth
1 green pepper
3 celery stalks
1 can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
Begin by prepping the vegetables, dicing the pepper, onion, and celery.
Next, slice the sausage and sautee until cooked through. Remove from heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel lined dish. Allow to drain/dry. Leave hot oil in the pan, then add more oil… so that the bottom of the pan/dutch oven is completely covered with a thin layer of oil. Add in flour by the tablespoon to make your roux. Rouxs are difficult and require a lot of estimation. You’re basically frying the flour, which will then act as a thickening agent. Stir constantly, scraping the bottom of the pot frequently, until the roux turns a milk chocolate color. Don’t let it burn or else it will separate and will not thicken the gumbo.
That’s as good a picture as I could get while stirring madly! I let the roux cook for another minute or so after I took this. My forearms are dotted with tiny little grease burns, so clearly I need to work on my technique. Or wear long sleeves.
Add the vegetables to the roux and stir well. The roux will coat the vegetables and will cook them through. Stir constantly. Then add the sausage, chicken, broth, cayenne, thyme, salt & pepper, bay leaf, and tomatoes (with juice). Add water if necessary to thin it out a bit. Allow to simmer for at least an hour, longer if possible.
The only thing I didn’t add that I wish I had (and I had just kind of forgotten about it) was okra. I used to make a Paula Deen recipe for Savannah Seafood Gumbo (deeelicious, b t dubs) (yup, I just said b t dubs) that involved a lot of okra and I really enjoyed it.
The gumbo turned out pretty well! I cooked a big batch of brown rice to serve it over, and it’s been a great meal(s). Though I made it on Sunday, I refrigerated overnight and didn’t start digging in until Monday night. The flavors really meld overnight and the dish just becomes better and better. Plus, since I used chicken sausage and brown rice, I think it’s a pretty healthy dish. I couldn’t find low sodium broth, so that’s probably the only big health downfall. Otherwise, a recipe (or vague mixture of several other recipes) that I was really happy with!