1 pound Andouille sausage ; diced
3 pounds Chicken ; leg quarters, skinned
1/2 teaspoon White pepper ; ground
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne
1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
1 teaspoon Salt
1 pound Frozen sliced okra (or fresh if you prefer)
4 each Garlic ; minced
3 Onion ; chopped
2 Bell pepper ; chopped
2 sticks of celery chopped
3 quarts Chicken Stock
28 ounces Tomato ; canned
1/4 – 1/2 cup Corn oil
1/4 – 1/2 cup Flour
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 – 3 tsp basil (optional)
Season the chicken well with a blend of the salt, cayenne, white and black pepper. Mix up more seasoning blend and set aside for later in case you need to flavor up the pot.
Dice the smoked sausage and brown well in a bit of cooking oil. Once the sausage pieces are well browned, remove them from the pot, and then brown the chicken on all sides.
Remove the chicken from the pot. Add the onion to the pot and cook for a few minutes before adding the garlic, celery and the bell pepper. Cook until they begin to turn tender. Add the okra. After a few minutes of stirring and cooking, add the sausage back into the pot, then the chicken pieces.
Stir the canned tomatoes into the pot along with their juice. Bring to a gentle simmer. In another pan, heat the chicken stock, but don’t allow to boil.
In a separate heavy pan heat the oil or margarine till it’s almost to the point of smoking. Quickly stir in the flour stirring vigorously and constantly to avoid scorching. Be careful not to allow the flour to burn or stick. Reduce the heat if necessary. Continue stirring and watch for the roux to begin turning darker. The object is to cook the flour until it turns brown. At a minimum, the roux needs to come to a “medium brown” stage, which is about the color of peanut butter. In the bayou country, they’d insist that the roux be even a darker brown, but I don’t like to do mine that way.
Once the roux has darkened sufficiently, remove the pan from the fire and continue stirring. Be careful! This roux is as hot as boiling oil, and it will continue to cook even off the fire. You can set the pan in another pan of water to cool it down, or you can have a reserve handful of chopped onion and bell pepper to throw into the roux to cool it. Or you can simply continue stirring until you are certain that cooking has stopped.
Ladle a bit of the chicken stock into the roux and blend smooth. Continue stirring in more stock until it forms a smooth gravy. Pour any left over stock into the gumbo pot, and then stir in the gravy. Add the chicken pieces back into the pot; cover and allow to cook about thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the chicken pieces and debone as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Add the meat back into the pot.
Taste the gumbo and correct the seasoning if desired. Don’t be afraid to add more of the red-white-black-pepper and salt blend to taste! Your gumbo might also benefit from a good splash of tobasco sauce or Louisiana hot sauce if you like. I like to add a spoon of sugar too; and maybe some basil.
Ladle the gumbo over bowls of steamed rice; then sprinkle with a bit of the filé powder. (Note: never cook the filé powder; always add to the bowl at the table.)
The amounts listed here are approximations. Don’t be afraid to deviate from these amounts to make the gumbo to the consistency or “heat” that you like for your family.