This gumbo could cure the common cold. This gumbo could mend a broken heart. Why, this gumbo could even make a poor man feel rich. It is, that ridiculously and downright devilishly delicious, good. Quite frankly, I'm obsessed with the stuff. And my brother knows it. The guy could negotiate me cleaning his entire house with just a bowl of the soup that has earned him friends and fans alike. Obsessed with New Orleans and the city's most glorious cuisine, Patrick has undoubtedly mastered some of the Big Easy's most-loved dishes.
I'll regretfully admit; it's been years since I've visited N'awlins. But with a brother who's ever-so knowledgeable in Cajun and Creole cooking, I can devour authentic and mouth-wateringly delectable Jambalaya, Dirty Rice, Crawfish Étouffée, and yes, several varieties of Gumbo on the regular. Yeah, I'd say I'm pretty lucky to have a brother like him. Not only does he prepare fare that you'd see in award-winning restaurants, he's also taught me how to brew up some brag-worthy creations that would've likely intimidated me had I never been pushed to try.
Patrick has likely made 50 pots of gumbo in just the last ten years. For his friends' annual crawfish fest; for family gatherings; for Jimmy Buffett tailgates; and for the sake of Thanksgiving leftovers, it's been a foolproof crowd pleaser. He's made it with a black roux, a butter roux, and everything between. But every single time, this gumbo receives rave reviews.
Today, I'm generously giving you his recipe for Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. It's got the trinity (onion, celery, green pepper), a scrumptious roux, pulled chicken, andouille sausage, okra, and so much more. Make sure you've got some time on your hands and prepare that roux with plenty of TLC like Mr. Patrick Floyd and you just...might...cook up a batch half as good as his. Sorry guys, but I think he throws some magic in that pot too.
Chicken and Andouille Gumbo
***Serves 10-12 bowls
1 cup olive oil
1 cup flour
1 whole chicken**
4-5 Andouille sausages, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced (should be the same amount as green pepper)
celery to match the amount of green pepper
6-8 cups chicken broth/stock**
1 lb fresh okra, cut into 1/2 slices and sautéed for about 5 minutes (or 1 package frozen cut okra)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (be sure to taste if more heat is needed)
salt to taste
hot sauce (as accompaniment)
Filé powder (optional. Serve as an accompaniment with hot sauce)
Chicken & Stock
A day in advance make the chicken and stock. Add whole chicken to a large stock pot with 2 celery stacks, 2 carrots, 1 onion, 1 bay leaf, 6-8 peppercorns, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tablespoon salt. Cover with water and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Strain into a bowl to reserve stock and let cool. Pull all meat off of chicken when cool.
Prepare the roux - This is where gumbo becomes gumbo. Gumbo is a thickened soup, not a stew, and the roux is what helps to not only give gumbo it's distinctive flavor and color, but also thickens it. Over medium-low heat, heat the oil and add the flour. Do not stop stirring until it reaches a dark brown to almost black color. If any black specs form, it is burned and you have to start over; seriously, the roux is ruined. This process could take 30 minutes to an hour. If you want, you can try Chef Paul Prudhomme's lightning fast method, but it is not easy. This method involves a very hot pan with vigorous stirring and can make a roux in 5 minutes, but the chance of it burning also goes up dramatically. I would also use vegetable oil for this, as it has a higher smoking point.
When it has reached the desired color, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes which will further darken the roux, constantly stirring, add the green pepper, celery, and garlic and cook another 10 minutes. The mixture of green pepper, celery, and onion is known as 'the trinity'
Add the thyme, cayenne, broth, chicken, Andouille, and simmer for up to an hour. Taste throughout this process and adjust flavor with salt and cayenne to desired heat level. Add the okra and filé powder towards the end. Prepare rice while Gumbo simmers. Serve with rice and French bread.
*Tip: I think gumbo is better the next day, so could be prepared the day before you want to serve it. Let it cool and refrigerate overnight. Bring it back up to temperature when ready to serve.
**Short cuts: Use a rotisserie chicken and good store bought chicken stock to save a lot of time. I've done it this way and it still turns out pretty good.