I promised this to a listener a while back and kept forgetting about it. I made a big pot of gumbo recently, so it reminded me that I needed to share it here.
First, you need a big honking soup pot. (8-10 quarts)
Fill it halfway with liquid and set it to boil. Some folks use water, but I like to use at least some chicken broth. It doesn’t need to be ALL broth, but at least half of your liquid should be broth for a richer tasting gumbo. I used to buy the cartons of broth, but now I just get the little jar of powdered chicken broth seasoning stuff. Its easier to carry home.. I boil my water, then add this stuff.
It’s Pronounced “Roo”
When it’s boiling, add half a jar of roux (about 8 ounces) and turn the heat down just a bit to avoid boiling over. I use this stuff.. Savoie’s dark roux. I don’t make mine from scratch anymore. It’s time consuming, and a pain in the patootie, but if you want to try it, there is a recipe HERE. My mom used to make hers in the microwave, and the link has instructions for that, or on the stovetop, or in the oven. Let it boil for about 25 minutes. It needs to boil so that the roux bonds with the liquid and it doesn’t separate and get all weird when you serve it. Now is the time to do your chopping…
You’ll need a couple large onions, and one or two green bell peppers, depending on how much you like. We like a LOT, so sometimes I use three. Just dice these up into chunks and set aside.
You also need to slice up 2 lbs of sausage. We like to use a smoked pork sausage that is made locally. But, a big name brand like Hillshire Farm will work too.. Just don’t tell my husband I gave you permission to put that into a gumbo!
Now you can prepare your chicken pieces. Rinse them, and set them in a bowl, ready to drop into the pot. You can use whatever you like. Breasts, legs, wings.. whatever. I like to use about 8 boneless, skinless thighs. In my opinion, dark meat works better in a gumbo, and I prefer it in texture over white meat. Many serious Cajuns will tell you that you have to use a whole chicken.. bones, skin, and all. Tell them to go jump in the lake. You do what you wanna do. If you did what I told you and used a good broth, the lack of bones will not cause your gumbo to suffer any loss of flavour. If you like white meat, use breasts and wings. If you prefer only drumsticks, throw a whole package of those in. Over the years I have made a lot of gumbo.. and nothing pees me off more than the meat falling off the bones, and then having to fish out all the bones from the pot. I prefer a boneless gumbo; it’s less messy.
It is time to dump all the stuff in! First add your seasonings. I use the basics.. salt, red pepper, garlic. season it the way you would a soup of the same size. I can’t possibly give you a measurement for this.. Some like it spicy, and others do not. Remember you can always add more salt and pepper, but you can’t take it away. Carefully, don’t splash and burn yourself with the hot liquid, add all your chopped onions, bell peppers, and sausage. And add your chicken one piece at a time to avoid splashing. Don’t dump the whole freaking bowl at once, for goodness sakes..
While your gumbo is simmering on medium heat (it needs to cook at LEAST a hour) make some rice. I do own a rice cooker, but it’s a gigantic one and it doesn’t cook evenly. So, I normally make a small pot of rice right on the stove. In a medium saucepan, add a couple cups of rice. Rinse the rice a few times and add enough water so that it reaches the first joint of your index finger. The tip of your finger should just be touching the level of the rice, not going down all the way to the bottom of the pot. You can also add a little salt to the water. Bring this to a boil, then cover and let summer on medium low heat for 25-30 minutes.
You can also serve some potato salad on the side… I’m not telling you how to make that, though. 😛
Serve the gumbo over rice. How much rice? that’s up to you. I like a lot of rice in my bowl.. My mom likes very little rice, more “juice”.. It’s a personal preference.
HINT about leftovers: It’s even better the next day.
I hope you enjoy!