Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chicken and Sausage File Gumbo

I made a gumbo recently when I was in Minnesota from a recipe I took off the internet. It was a real disappointment because it lacked the flavor and spices of the gumbo below which is a recipe I have cooked for years from the New Orleans Cookbook.
I would suggest before you cook it that you go back and read the post I did on September 13, 2009 called “It’s All About The Roux.” It gives you a good lead in for making roux, which is the flavor base for a lot of New Orleans dishes.

Roux is not difficult to make but it takes a little while and you must be very careful not to burn it otherwise you have to throw it out and start over. It also takes a few times making it before you learn to judge the color correctly.

I know that it looks difficult but once you make the roux and get everything in the pot, you are done. We call it a “quality-time” dish… you know, the kind where you can just kick back and have a cold drink with all of your guests.

Remember, the darker the roux, the more flavor it has. Also, make sure that you serve this with cheddar jalapeno corn bread muffins.

Gumbo Base:

1 ¼ lb. Creole smoked sausage, sliced ½ inch thick

½ lb lean ham, cut into ½ inch cubes

1 fryer, 3 ½ to 4 lb, cut up

½ cup chopped green pepper

½ cup thinly sliced green shallots (scallion) tops

½ cup chopped celery

2 Tbs finely minced parsley

1 Tbs finely minced garlic

2 chopped onions

The Roux:

2/3 cup vegetable oil

½ cup flour

The Liquids and Seasonings:

2 qt cold water

3 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/8 - ¼ tsp cayenne

1 ¼ tsp dried thyme

3 whole bay leaves, crushed

2 ½ to 3 Tbs. file powder

After assembling the ingredients for the gumbo base, in a heavy 7-8 qt pot or kettle heat the oil over high heat. Brown the chicken parts in the oil and turn several times to ensure even browning. Remove the chicken and place in a 175 degree oven to keep warm.

Make the roux by gradually adding the flour to the oil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and cook, always stirring until a medium, brown roux is formed (the color of hazelnuts).

When the roux reaches the right color, immediately add the sausage, ham, onion, green pepper, celery, shallot tops, parsley tops and garlic. Continue cooking over low heat for 10 minutes.

Add ¼ cup of the water, the reserved chicken pieces, and all of the seasonings except the file powder. Mix. Gradually stir in the rest of the water.

Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer at least one hour. Stir frequently taking care not to break the pieces of chicken.

Remove from the pot, let simmer down a little and add the file powder.

Serve over good rice

Bon Appetit!