A Big Pot of Gumbo!
There are separate ingredients for stock and for the gumbo. The stock veges will be discarded- not used for the gumbo. The roux ingredients are included in the Gumbo section. The chicken in the stock will be stripped and put into the Gumbo.
Gumbo is great over rice, most seem to eat it this way. Prepare the type of rice you prefer for the number of people you anticipate eating Gumbo. If you use rice, this recipe will feed more than if not combining with rice. We served at least 8 - 10 bowls and still have plenty of left overs, using rice.
We saw the initial recipe in Emeril Lagasse's Every Day's A Party cookbook, but I have to warn you, there seems to be a misprint. There were ingredients that were not used, so we changed it a bit. This basic recipe is not very spicy, because you often have people with different tastes, so we add the majority of the zing at the end. I don't do hot, hot. My husband likes scorching hot food.
1 hen (6 lbs approx)
8 cups water
2 medium size yellow onions, quartered
2 ribs celery cut into big chunks
2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
1 TBL salt (tablespoon)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 C all purpose flour (for roux)
1 1/2 C vegetable oil (for roux)
2 C chopped yellow onions
1 C chopped green pepper
1 C chopped celery
1/2 lb ground andouille finely chopped
1 lb smoked sausage cut crosswise into 1/4 in thick slices
2 TBL chopped green onions
2 TBL fresh parsley (or dried)
To Make the Roux
Make the roux (Roo) first so it has time to cool. You can't add hot, straight roux to hot ingredients, even tempering it can be tricky in this case.
This is a one to one ratio fat to flour.
In this case, 1 1/2 cups oil and 1 1/2 cups flour.
You can use any fat- butter, animal fat, vegetable fat. Whatever you have but remember, the fat adds flavor. If you use lard it will have a porky taste. If we were making turkey gravy we actually make a roux so it is nice and smooth. We skim the fat off the drippings which adds turkey flavor. In the case of gumbo, corn oil has a higher smoke point with a neutral flavor so it is good for the roux. The roux is the key to the flavor. Cook over a very LOW heat. Do not become impatient- a bad roux results in a bad gumbo.
A GOOD roux requires constant stirring and cooking until just the exact moment when the roux becomes just about chocolate brown. It can burn easily so be very careful. The darker it is the less it thickens. Gumbo roux should be thick but still flow. We don't want gravy (a lighter roux) so we take it to a darker stage. See how white it starts out.
Starting Out- very white.
Just about done-chocolate.
It's just about done when it gets this shade of brown, it will burn quickly so be very careful. It will take on a different smell, and you will know you are close. The skillet will still be hot so you can turn it off just before it's "done" and keep stirring.
Add all the stock ingredients into a pot, cooking over medium heat until tender.
Remove the solids and set chicken aside.
Discard vegetables- their flavor has been transferred to the stock.
Bringing it Together
Prepare the trinity (celery, onions, green pepper):
In a skillet add the cold or room temperature roux, andouille, chopped celery, onions and green pepper, cook over medium heat until the onions clear.
Now that the roux is mixed with the vegetables, you can add the roux to the stock.
Cook on low heat for about two hours.
Pull the chicken off the bone and add it to the stock.
Add the the link sausage and let it cook at least a half hour until heated through.
Preparing the Vegetables and Roux
Adding the Chicken and Sausage
Top with the green onions and parsley, if desired or with some file' powder (pronounced fee-lay) It is ground sassafras leaves that thickens the gumbo as well as flavors it. If you have added any okra to your gumbo, you might not want the file' since that would be double thickeners.
You may want to spice it up with some Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning sprinkled on top.
Tony Chachere's Link
Some Stages of Roux
Stages of Roux- some say there are 12-15 definite states of roux, this link provides a few of them.
The BLONDE stage is a carmel color, and is usually reached after about 2 minutes. This is the most common stage, for your average sauces. Say a Veloute or a basic gravy.
The MEDIUM is a shade darker than the blond, and usually not used too often. It is great if you want to add a bit of darker color to a basic gravy.
The CHOCOLATE will actually be the darkest before the roux is pretty much useless. (there is a darker, Brick stage, but honestly, the chocolate stage is just fine for 99% of your needs). It will have a light nutty scent to it and be, obviously, chocolate in color.