As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a huge fan of cooking. I’m also a huge fan of cold afternoons with nothing to do. Put them together and (if you come over to my house on said afternoon) you get gumbo! My gumbo just includes the stuff that I like (chicken and sausage) and excludes the things I don’t like (okra and shrimp in stews) so please feel free to use this as a base recipe and add or remove things that you like or don’t like.
People often shy away from making gumbo because the roux scares them. When made on the stovetop, it takes a long time, you have to stir it constantly, and you can’t take a break. It can also burn at the end and then you have to throw out the whole batch and start from scratch. This problem is solved using Alton Brown’s oven technique for making the roux. It takes longer to do, but you don’t have to babysit it. Once you get past the roux, gumbo is pretty darn easy to make!
- 4 oz All Purpose Flour
- ½ Cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 Cup Onion, Diced
- 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- ½ Cup Green Bell Pepper, Diced
- ½ Cup Celery, Diced
- 14.5 oz Can Diced Tomatoes, Drained
- 1 Tbs Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- ½ tsp Dried Thyme
- ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, Cut into 1” Cubes
- 1 lb Andouille Sausage, Halved and then sliced into half moons
- 4 Cups Chicken Broth
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Tbs file powder
- Cooked White Rice for Serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°
- Whisk the oil and flour together in a 5 ½ quart cast iron Dutch oven or other sufficiently large, oven proof pot. Cook for 1 ½ hours (or more if you want a darker roux), whisking every 30 minutes. As it cooks, the roux will get darker and darker and that’s good.
- When the roux is done, carefully transfer the pot to the stovetop over medium-high heat and carefully add the onions, garlic, bell peppers, and celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring the whole time. Your roux can still burn at this point so make sure you keep stirring.
- When the onions start to turn translucent, add in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme, cayenne, chicken and sausage and stir to combine.
- Add in the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pot to get any of the brown bits into your gumbo and toss in the bay leaves. Stir to combine, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 45 minutes.
- minutes before serving, add in the file powder, stir to get the lumps out, kill the heat, cover and let the gumbo to rest…you’d want to rest too if you were gumbo.
- Serve with rice!
If you like shrimp in your gumbo, add the raw shrimp in at the end when you kill the heat and add in the file powder 10 minutes before serving. That should keep them from overcooking and turning into rubber.
You can freeze a roux! The best way to freeze this (in my opinion) is to cook, cool, and bag the roux in one bag quart-sized bag, prep and bag the veggies and spices in another quart-sized bag, and prep and bag the meats in a gallon-sized bag. Pop the quart sized bags in the gallon bag with the meats and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
When you’re ready for gumbo: thaw the bags in the refrigerator overnight, heat the roux over medium heat until it’s hot and continue the recipe from there. These gumbo kits make a great gift for a new mother or as a get well gift for someone recovering from surgery.
There are 4 stages of a roux that are described – and identified – by their color. They are white, blond, brown and dark brown. The “red brick” stage is somewhere between brown and dark brown. You can tell that you’re at red brick because the roux
literally takes on the color of a red brick.*
*Obviously it doesn’t literally take the color of a red brick. That would be remarkable – as in something that is able to be remarked upon.