5 andouille sausage links, sliced
6 boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins, cut into cubes
1 large vidalia onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 tablespoon e.v.o.o.
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
1 bag frozen baby okra
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 can tomato paste
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
0.5 teaspoon dried oregano
6 cups chicken/fish stock
salt to taste
pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste (optional)
listening to: adele – one and only
traditionally, a gumbo includes some form of seafood and a large dose of spice. i love adding shrimp to this version, and turning up the heat would also be more than welcome, but some of my closest friends/family are averse to both heat and ocean dwellers, so this recipe has been tailored to suit loved ones. ah, is there a better reason?
i believe that the best gumbo begins with the best roux (pronounced roo) – a flour and oil based thickening agent. the roux for this gumbo starts with the a twist . . . i first begin by sautéing the cubed chicken tenderloins with the andouille sausage at medium heat in a large saucepan with a lid. the fat from the andouille will cook out and flavor the chicken as well as the roux. cook the chicken and the andouille all the way through before proceeding.
remove the chicken and the andouille from the pan and leave behind the rendered fat before adding 1 tablespoon of e.v.o.o. and 1 tablespoon of butter. once the butter has melted, add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and lower the heat to medium low. you must cook the roux for at least twenty minutes, or your gumbo will have a pasty, flour-y kind of flavor. you are waiting for the roux to develop a beautiful amber color. it’s important to stir the roux frequently or it may burn and you will have to start over. once the roux has achieved the desired color and consistency, add one small (6 to 8 ounce) can of tomato paste.
now, toss in the diced celery, green peppers, and onions along with 2 teaspoons of old bay seasoning. cook the vegetables until they begin to wilt (approximately 10 minutes) on medium heat.
add 6 cups of chicken or fish stock to the pot and mix everything together thoroughly before adding 3 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, and 0.5 teaspoon of dried oregano. bring the gumbo to a boil.
if you’ve ever cooked with okra, you know what a blessing and a disaster this little vegetable can be. unless it’s fried (which is heavenly, by the way), okra makes most dishes . . . slimy. don’t get me wrong, the okra still tastes delicious, but its consistency usually elicits some kind of frown from dinner guests, so i’ve found a clever way to avoid the polite rejection of a second helping: baby okra. they do not need to be sliced, and they are far less slimy than their adult counterparts. my favorite kind of baby okra is purchased at a middle eastern market. i simply rinse the frozen okra in a colander before adding them to the gumbo.
cook the gumbo for at least an hour on low heat. add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste before serving the dish over your favorite rice.
i don’t know why i love to make gumbo when it’s hot outside, as it really is an excellent dish for a cold winter’s night, but it can still be a big hit in july if it’s done well. i’ll let you be the judge of that!