In my book, cooking the first soup or stew of the season is a wondrous thing. Of course, I am a big goober but cooking and smelling and eating this gumbo made me very, very happy in a way that only fall and wintry things can.
Sunday afternoon was the perfect day for it. It was overcast and looked like winter outside. There was enough of a hint of fall in the air to justify gumbo.
· 1 large chicken (young hen preferred), cut into pieces
· 2 pounds andouille or smoked sausage, cut into 1/2" pieces
Season the chicken with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning and brown quickly.
Brown the sausage, pour off fat, and reserve meats.
I had some cooked chicken on hand so I shredded it and added it to the mix rather than browning some chicken.
· 1 cup oil
· 1 cup flour
In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil and cook the flour in the oil over medium to high heat (depending on your roux-making skill), stirring constantly, until the roux reaches a dark reddish-brown color, almost the color of coffee or milk chocolate for a Cajun-style roux. If you want to save time, or prefer a more New Orleans-style roux, cook it to a medium, peanut-butter color, over lower heat if you're nervous about burning it.
Or you can use Tony Chachere's roux mix, which is what we did.
· 2 large bags of frozen chopped onions and peppers, thawed
· 4 ribs celery, chopped
· 3 tablespoons of minced garlic
We sauteed the veggies in the skillet we'd browned off the sausage to give them a bit of flavor.
Add the vegetables and stir quickly. This cooks the vegetables and also stops the roux from cooking further.
Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes.
· 2-3 quarts chicken stock
· 2 bay leaves
· Creole seasoning to taste
· Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Add the stock, seasonings, chicken, and sausage. Bring to a boil, and then cook for about one hour, skimming fat off the top as needed.
· 2/3 cup fresh chopped parsley (we used dried parlsey because our local grocery didn't have fresh parsley)
· 1 bunch scallions (green onions), tops only, chopped
Add the chopped scallion tops and parsley, and heat for 5 minutes.
· Filé powder to taste
We couldn't find the filé powder in the cabinet, so we didn't use it.
You know how when you crave something and then you get it and it is so good? That's what this was, not to mention how much fun it'd been to get in the kitchen and enjoy it.
I like to chop and measure and stir. I like to, you know, cook, and I don't feel like I've done any cooking in a while. It felt good to be in the kitchen on a gloomy Sunday afternoon, warm and cozy and with good smells all around, looking forward to a delicious, hearty meal.
We're having it for dinner tomorrow evening and I'm already looking forward to it. I bet it will be even better than it was last night and it was plenty good last night.
This yielded a bunch. I know; I'm very scientific and accurate. The three us each had a generous bowl-ful and I put up five or so containers full, containers being an assortment of sizes. I'd say it yielded about a gallon of gumbo if I had to guess.