This gumbo is inspired by the Gumbo Shop in New Orleans. If you’re making it for kids, just leave out the cayenne and the spice should be mild enough for an adventurous eater. For adults only, spice it up!
It takes a lot of time and attention in the mid-afternoon, but come dinnertime grab yourself an Abita, turn on some jazz, and you’ve got yourself a party.
Makes 8-10 servings
1 pound andouille sausage, preferably smoked, cut into rounds
1 pound frozen cut okra
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup flour
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock or broth
1 small chicken, cooked and meat cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pound shelled shrimp
4 cups cooked white rice
3 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
If you can only get fresh andouille like me, then cook up your sausage on the grill or in a pan until cooked through. Let it cool to room temp, then slice into rounds.
In a large cast iron skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the okra and cook, stirring occasionally until all of the ropiness is gone. It takes about 25 minutes.
Make the roux. This is going to take about 1/2 hour and require your undivided attention. Keep the kids out of the kitchen during this time. Put 1/2 cup oil in the bottom of a heavy cast iron or enamel covered Dutch oven and heat to medium high. Add the flour and whisk. You are essentially going to whisk constantly for the next 1/2 hour until the mixture becomes the color of chocolate. It’s going to bubble, then it’s going to smell like popcorn, then it’s going to turn the color of peanut butter. You’re going to be tempted to move on then but just keep stirring. It’s done when it’s the color of milk chocolate.
Add the onion, pepper, and celery and cook for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes, sausage, okra and all of the spices. Stir and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the tomatoes are starting to stick to the bottom of the pan and caramelize. Then pour in the stock and bring to a simmer.
Cook at a slow simmer for about an hour. You can let it go longer, just turn it down a bit. About 5 minutes before serving, add the chicken and shrimp and cook just until the chicken is warmed through and the shrimp is fully cooked.
Spoon into a bowl and top with 1/2 cup cooked rice and some scallions. Serve.