Serves 4 o 6
"Gumbo, c'est bon --c'est tout"
"Gumbo, it's plain good, it's everything."
Gumbo takes many forms and I think there are as many recipes as there are families who make it. Gumbo is also very controversial. There are those who say it must be thickened with okra and there are those who firmly advocate thickening with Filé powder only and of course you can find recipes like this one that use both. Some feel it should only be make with chicken, other only with sausage and there is of course the seafood contingent. All, in my opinion are good, but this recipe is one of my favorites. I learned it from a friend in Lafayette, Louisiana, which is kind of funny since at the time I lived in Lafayette, California.
1 pound hot and spicy sausage meat, formed into small meat balls, (since it is unlikely you will find Boudin), or make your own sausage with this recipe.
1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon mixed Herbs – (Italian seasoning)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cubed ham
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, red, green or yellow or combination thereof, chopped or julienne
1 or 2 fresh hot chilies, seeded and cut into thin rings, (or to taste)
6 cups of chicken stock or bouillon - (Homemade or commercial canned *)
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 cup cut frozen okra - (or Filé powder to taste)
Tabasco to taste
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Cooked long grained white rice
Sauté the sausage balls until evenly browned in a deep heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Remove from the pan and set aside. Combine the flour, salt, pepper and herbs and lightly dredge the chicken pieces. Brown the chicken on all sides in the pan the sausage was cooked in. If the sausage has not rendered enough fat you may have to add a bit of olive oil or lard. Remove from the pan and set aside with the browned sausage balls.
Gently sauté the onion and garlic. When translucent but not yet browned, add the celery, peppers and chilies. Sauté until hot through. Stir in 1 or 2 tablespoons of Roux. Stir well to distribute evenly. Then, still stirring, slowly pour in the stock. Stir well. Return he sausage, chicken and ham to the pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is extremely tender, about an hour. If the liquid seems to be evaporating to fast, cover the pot with a lid. The texture should be half way between a soup and a stew. When the chicken is tender, add the parsley, okra, (or Filé), Tabasco, salt and pepper and heat through. Serve with rice. Traditionally a cup of rice is put in the center of a soup plate and the gumbo is ladled around it.
* To use commercial canned you will need 6, 14.5-ounce cans or about 2, 59.5-ounce cans.