Chicken Gumbo with Andouille Sausage

A classic spicy chicken and andouille sausage gumbo with okra.

Gumbo! (Don’t you just love the sound of that word?) Here’s a classic from Hank. Enjoy! ~Elise

Gumbo is one of my favorite stews in the world. There are Cajun versions, Creole versions, gumbo from Alabama and from Mississippi.

I’ve tried dozens of gumbos in my travels in the Deep South, and none have been bad. Some better than others, but this is a stew made with lots of patience and lots of love.

A gumbo hinges on its thickeners. A roux of flour and fat is the primary one, and is in almost every gumbo I’ve ever eaten.

How dark you take the roux is your preference. Most Louisiana gumbo I’ve had relies on a roux that’s almost the color of dark chocolate. Beyond the roux, you usually have a choice of a second thickener—okra or filé powder, which is the leaf of the sassafras tree, powdered.

This version, using chicken thighs and andouille sausage, uses only a roux and okra.

Gumbo almost always has a variety of spices in it, and a store-bought Cajun or Creole spice blend will do just fine here. But in case you live in a place where you can’t get one, I’ve included a recipe for my spice blend below.

You have some leeway in making gumbo, as it is really just a melange of meats and veggies. Most gumbos use a lot of the “Holy trinity,” i.e., celery, green pepper and onion, but not too many other vegetables.

There is no reason you can’t make a vegetarian gumbo. As for meats, any will do. I often use a slew of game meats in my gumbo, but so long as you use more than one you’ll be fine. Chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp are a common trio. Beef, for some reason, is rare in gumbo.

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