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Benjamin W. Herila

 

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

Makes about 15 servings.

Ingredients

1 C. canola oil
1 C. all-purpose flour
1 lb. frozen cut okra
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1-2 Tbsp. gumbo Filé powder
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
2-3 bay leaves
6 qt. chicken stock
1 T. tomato paste
1 chipotle chili pepper (or 1 T. dried)
1 T. red chili powder (dried)
1 T. cajun black pepper (dried)
1 jalapeno pepper
1.5 lbs yellow onions (~2 medium)
1/2 lb. carrots
1/2 lb. celery
1.5 lbs spicy Andouille sausage
1 lb. boneless chicken breast

Preparation

Four kinds of peppers and a dark roux give this soup a rich, spicy, and complex flavor. I use Andouille chicken sausage, rather than pork sausage, sourced from my local meat market. A high quality, low-fat sausage makes all the difference in this recipe. 

Heat oil in a 8-12 quart soup pot until hot. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour and whisk until pancake-batter consistency. Cook over low to medium heat (depending on your confidence level). Stir constantly, take care not to let the roux burn. The roux is burning if it smells like burnt popcorn.

Meanwhile, roast the sausages in the oven (broil @ 500 degrees F) or grill them until browned/blackened (as you like them). They should NOT be fully cooked through. Slice into bite size pieces and set aside.

Also meanwhile, chop carrots, celery, and jalapeno pepper- doesn't have to be too small because you will be pureeing the soup later.

When the roux is a rich brown (like chocolate), about 30-45 minutes, add 2 Tbsp. more flour and whisk to incorporate. (Note that as the roux cooks, the starches in the flour break down and the roux loses much of its ability to thicken; the additional white flour will restore some of that thickening power). Whisk for 2 minutes until you can't see the white flour anymore. Add the chopped onions, carrots, celery, and tomato paste and coat with the roux (use a big metal spoon instead of the whisk at this point). Cover the pot and cook over low to medium heat for approximately 20 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. 

Next, add 6 quarts of chicken stock, the bay leaves, the jalapeno pepper, chili powder, cajun black pepper, and the chipotle chili pepper. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering for 40 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and puree the soup to desired consistency. Next, add the dried thyme, garlic powder, okra, chicken breast (cut into cubes) and sausage pieces. Simmer for 15 minutes. 

Finish with Filé powder (ensure it is all combined) and serve immediately over white rice.

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