Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I am a sucker for all dishes Cajun or Creole.  The problem is, I can’t eat most shellfish. But you can’t go wrong with catching the same awesome flavor with a Chicken and Andouille sausage gumbo.  This is truly worth the time.  The roux may be a long haul to get to the color you like, but you won’t regret it. This “recipe” made of many other recipes over the years, and I wish I could say where they all came from.  I first learned by looking over gumbopages.com, and I suggest you check it out!  The one addition over the years I never leave out now is File powder.  Serve Gumbo over steamed white rice and enjoy!

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•    1-2 lb andouille sausage (or kielbasa if you can’t find andouille), sliced
•    3-5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (breasts work but add less flavor)
•    1 tablespoon Cajun or Creole seasoning mix (recipe located in seasonings section, or check out Penzey’s Cacjun mix)
•    1 cup all-purpose flour
•    3/4 cup bacon grease (fry one package of bacon and remove grease)
•    2 cups chopped onions
•    1 cup chopped celery
•    1 cup chopped bell peppers
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    Cayenne pepper to taste
•    bay leaves to taste
•    9 cups chicken stock 1/2 cup chopped green onions
•    2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
•    1 tablespoon file powder (if you don’t have it, find it online…it really makes the dish)

Slice and cook sausage until browned – when finished, remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Season the chicken with the Cajun mix seasoning and cook (in batches if necessary) over medium-high heat until well browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, let cool (may need to set in refrig until ready to use)

Time to make the roux!  The most important part.  A Creole Gumbo has a lovely dark brown color that stems from the roux.  Combine the 3/4 cup bacon grease and 1 cup flour in the same Dutch in which you browned the sausage and chicken.  Cook, stirring slowly and constantly for 20-40 minutes, to make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate.  Do not stop stirring – roux will burn within seconds.  You can stop at a light brown if you like a more Cajun gumbo.

When roux is to your liking, add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and cook, stirring until softened. Add the reserved sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves, stir, and cook for a few minutes, then (while continuously stirring), add stock until well combined.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Add the reserved chicken to the pot and simmer for another our or so, skimming off any fat that rises to the surface.

Remove and discard the bay leaves. Pull the chicken meat from the bones and shred, discarding the bones and skin. Return the meat to the gumbo and stir in the green onions, parsley, and file powder.

Spoon rice into the bottom of deep bowls or large cups and ladle the gumbo on top. Serve, passing hot sauce on the side.

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