2 1/2 lbs chicken thighs/legs
8 cups chicken broth
1 lb frozen okra (cut)
½ cup plus 2 Tbls. cooking oil
½ cup all purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped green pepper
½ cup chopped celery
1 16 ounce can chopped tomatoes with green chilies
¾ lb Andouille sausage or Smoked Sausage, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. basil
½ tsp. sage
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. salt
Remove the skin from the chicken. Cover chicken with water and simmer for about one hour until chicken is tender and easily removed from the bones. Allow chicken to cool, remove from bones and set aside.
As the chicken is cooking, chop the onion, pepper, and celery (aka, the Holy Trinity), and set aside.
Slice the sausage into 1/2 inch rounds, and set aside.
Thaw the okra, and saute in 2 tbs. of oil. You want to cook the okra until most of the ropiness is gone, and has caramelized a little on the bottom of the pot. I find that a thin-bottomed pot is best for this, because you really want some color and fancy cookery just doesn't allow you to burn things like your grandma's hand-me-down cast iron stock pot.
Once the okra is cooked, stir in the can of tomatoes. This will deglaze all of the caramelized okra, and incorporate it into your gumbo. Stir until all of the caramelized okra is released.
Next step: Making the roux! Heat 1/2 cup oil in a heavy bottomed pot. You want to use a metal spatula to stir the roux. Plastic spoons WILL melt, and wooden spoons often do not cover enough surface area. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, stir in 1/2 cup flour a little at a time until it is all incorporated. To make a roux, you have to stir constantly for up to 45 minutes. (Trust me, it's worth it! Just make yourself a bloody mary and enjoy the simplicity of your life at this exact moment...just you, your bloody mary, and your roux.) Place the spatula flush on the bottom of the pot, and stir. And stir. And stir. And sip your drink. And stir.
I like a "chocolate roux," so called because of it's resemblance to chocolate. My mom likes what she calls a "peanut butter roux." The peanut butter roux takes probably 20 minutes less than the chocolate, and still tastes yummy. If you're not a seasoned roux-maker, and you have to jump ship early, at least stick with your stirring until it looks and smells like peanut butter.
As soon as the roux is finished, dump in the veggies and saute in the roux until soft. Feel free to let the veggies stick to the bottom of the pan a little. (Also, please note that this is the second thing I've told you to burn. Love, love, love making gumbo.)
When the veggies are done, add the sausage, and tomato and okra mixture. Cook for approx. 10 minutes. Add the spices, broth, and the chicken and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, simmer for 1 1/5 hour with the lid off. Taste and adjust spices...it should be herby and a little spicy. Serve over a small portion of rice, with hot sauce. And maybe another bloody mary, for good measure. You deserve it.
Tips and tricks:
- This recipe freezes well, with our without rice, but the pepper seems to leech out so you'll want to add more when you reheat.
- You can use canned chicken to save time.