3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 lb chicken andouille or spicy Italian chicken sausage
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup duck fat
1 qt chicken stock
1 qt water
2 green pepper diced
1 large onion diced
4 celery stalks
4 garlic cloves minced
1 lb okra sliced
2 tsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste
Fresh parsley for garnish
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp celery seed
2 TBS paprika
1 TBS garlic powder
1 TBS dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
Gumbo has always been one of my favorite Cajun meals. I could never find a chicken andouille sausage that was AG safe, so I used casing-less chicken Italian sausage which turned out great. I recently found a AG safe andouille sausage and will definitely try that in the future.
Prepare the chicken thighs by removing any large piece of fat and seasoning lightly with salt and pepper, rinse and pat dry. In a Dutch oven or stock pot, cooking in batches, sear the chicken thighs in a little duck fat or oil, you want the meat to crisp up a little bit. You may have to do it in two batches, don't try to cook the meat through, browning it. While this is going on, preheat the chicken stock. When meat is browned set meat aside covered with aluminum foil.
Add duck fat to the stock pot over medium heat. Slowly add the flour while whisking to create the roux. You may not need to add all the flour, you are looking for a consistency similar to a thin pancake batter. Continue to whisk the roux until it reaches the color of coffee with a little cream, this may to up to 15 minutes. Don't stop whisking or stirring while making the roux, you don't want to burn it, or it will make your gumbo taste burnt.
Once the roux is completed, add the holy trinity (celery, green peppers, and onions), be careful when adding them, the roux is very hot and you don't want it to splash and burn you. Stir the vegetables until evenly mixed with the roux, let the vegetables cook a little bit to get a little caramelization going, after about 5-10 minutes, add the crushed garlic. Next add the spice mix, stir until consistent, add tomato paste, and stir until consistent. Next slowly add the heated chicken stock, stirring to incorporate the stock, while maintaining a boil. Once chicken stock is all added, add the water slowly maintaining a boil. Add bay leaves and then place the chicken back in the pot with any juices. Loosely cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
Whether fresh or frozen, I don't care for slimy okra, to remove the sliminess, dry fry them in a non-stick skillet. Also, this is a good time to slice your sausage, I slice them once lengthwise and the slice them in half rings. Taste the gumbo, you haven't added salt except for the salt on the chicken, adjust the salt to your liking.
After the 45 minutes, check the chicken thighs, the meat should be easy pull able. With two forks pull the chicken thighs apart into chunks and then re-add to the gumbo. Add okra and sausage, simmer an additional 15 minutes.
You can start eating it now or keep it on low heat for a while. Serve over cooked rice and top with fresh parsley.
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