Good gumbo is as dark and murky as a Southern Louisiana swamp. Learn how to perfect your roux and create this rich chicken and andouille gumbo.
Somewhere between a soup and a stew, gumbo is one of the most uniquely Cajun recipes out there. Specifically, Cajun gumbo is usually distinguished from Creole gumbo by the omission of tomatoes. When I was first taught to make this dish (of course, by a Louisianan), it was the Cajun way, and I’ve stuck with it ever since.
The foundation to any great gumbo without doubt is the roux. Unlike French roux, it’s made with oil not butter and is cooked to a much darker shade than any French chef would ever dare. The color and consistency of your roux determines the depth of flavor of your gumbo, period. In fact, it’s so important, that I dedicated an entire article specifically on how to make a roux, and you can check it out here.
There are no hard and fast rules as to the proteins that can be included in a gumbo – shrimp, crab, rabbit, chicken, sausage, just about any critter you can think of can be thrown in the pot. If you’re not familiar, Andouille is a type of Cajun smoked sausage which lends a smoky hint to the finished gumbo, so I like to pair that with the more delicate chicken to give a little variety. Get started with this version, then experiment with other meats and seafoods until you find your signature dish.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy based pot, and brown the sausage on both sides. Once browned, remove from pot and set aside. Add another 1 tbsp of oil to the pot and season the chicken with half of the Cajun seasoning on both sides. Brown the chicken pieces on both sides, then set aside.
Place the chicken stock in a separate saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
Add the final tablespoon of oil to the large pot, then the “trinity” – onion, celery and bell pepper, plus the garlic. Cook for 5-7 minutes to soften the vegetables, stirring and picking up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add remaining Cajun seasoning, bay leaves and cayenne.
Add in the roux, and stir well to combine everything. Add one ladle of warm stock to the roux mixture, stirring as you pour it in. Continue one ladle at a time until all the stock is incorporated, then bring the mix to the boil and add in the chicken and sausage. Discard any excess fat that has accumulated from the sausage and do not pour it back into the pot – it will pool on the surface.
Reduce heat to a simmer, replace the lid then cook for 30-45 minutes until the chicken is tender. Remove chicken pieces from the pot, discard the rubbery skin and the bone, and shred the meat, then return to the pot.
Increase heat to a vigorous simmer, and add in hot sauce. Cook a further 5 minutes to re-warm the chicken pieces, then serve in individual bowls ladled over while rice.
Note 1: Find instructions on how to make a roux here. One portion of roux is 1.25 c flour to 1 c oil.