Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chicken and smoked sausage gumbo

Happy Mardi Gras!

And in the spirit of that joyous day of carousing and parading and beads, here's a wonderful chicken and smoked sausage gumbo recipe. Warning: a nice dark roux will take at least 20-25 minutes of stirring. It's like a risotto in terms of being labor-intensive. Think of it as culinary strength conditioning. Don't be scared off. Making the roux is the most demanding part. Afterwards, the gumbo simmers happily like a stew.

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo with White Rice
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse from The Essence of Emeril

Serves: 6 to 7 cups, 6 to 8 servings

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, cut crosswise 1/2-inch thick pieces
4 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed (I used 1.75 pounds of boneless, skinless thighs)
1 tablespoon Essence or Creole seasoning, recipe follows
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 bay leaves
9 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon filé powder*
White long grain rice
Hot sauce

In a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Season the chicken with the Essence and add in batches to the fat remaining in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, let cool, and then refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine the remaining 1/2 cup oil and the flour in the same Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, to make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate.

Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and cook, stirring, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the reserved sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Stirring, slowly add the chicken stock, and cook, stirring, until well combined. Slowly adding the stock is key, allowing the stock to be completely incorporated into the roux. Bring the mixture to a boil. 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 1 1/2 hours, skimming off any fat that rises to the surface.

Remove the pot from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken thighs from the gumbo and place on a cutting board to cool slightly. Remove and discard the bay leaves. 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.

*A mainstay of spicy Cajun and Creole cooking, filé powder is a traditional thickener for gumbos. Characterized by a woodsy flavor reminiscent of root beer, the olive-green powder is made from the dried, pulverized leaves of the sassafras tree, which is native to Louisiana bayou country. (from the Williams-Sonoma website)

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast)
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse
Yield: 2/3 cup 

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.


  1. Yum! That looks terrific! I was channeling N'awlins, too. I made some jambalaya for dinner, but didn't take pics. I packed some in a thermos and drove out to the highschool so WD could eat dinner between practices. Lacrosse tryouts go to 5:30ish and wrestling practice starts at 6:30. So to avoid driving in circles, I bring his dinner to him.

    Your gumbo looks so tasty! It's funny about the muscle building from the roux. That's what I was thinking about the choux paste this morning. We started the day out with beignets. Thanks for sharing.

  2. That looks amazing. And I definitely need to add to my soup repertoire. Mine are starting to all look the same...

  3. Oh please share your beignet recipe! I've had such a craving for those, and I don't think there's a single place in Boston that makes them. You are such an awesome wife, by the way, to bring jambalaya dinner to your hubby. What a lucky guy!

    Thanks, Rhome! I'd love to hear what you think if you make it.


Thanks so much for commenting. I love reading your thoughts and responses.