Saturday, October 20, 2012

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

I love fall...I'm sure I have said it before, but it is just the best time of year. Cool weather has been sneaking in here in North Mississippi! Which means Gumbo Time for us! So glad we made a quick trip home for some festival fun with the kids and to pick up the necessary stuff that we just can't find here. We really need to build a smokehouse here, on my ever growing to do list here on the mini homestead.

Here is a version that has evolved over the years...I am not quite sure you can call it a recipe because sometimes it is hard to actually measure in Cajun learn by watching, tasting, and adjusting the meal until you get it where you want it. Growing up many meals were prepared with dashes, pinches, and splashes instead of teaspoons and cups. Many times the meals are never the same as the time before, but always wonderful.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

1-2 Chickens cut into pieces. You can also use boneless pieces too to make it easier, but be sure to use both dark and white meat. Note: the whole chicken with the bones makes a difference in my opinion more flavorful.

½ -1 lb smoked sausage. You can use some fresh sausage also. If you can’t find real smoked sausage adding a bit of liquid smoke helps to make the flavor more authentic….not exactly the same though

½-1 lb Tasso(smoked pork meat) It can be left out if you can’t find it.

2/3 pint of roux or more depending on how dark or thick you like your gumbo

2-3 onions chopped

2 Bell Peppers chopped

2-4 stalks of celery chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic

Salt, pepper, and or Cajun Seasoning to taste

2-3 cups of uncooked rice depending on how much rice you like in your gumbo and how many people are eating.

Chopped parsley about a bunch

Chopped green onions about 6

Hot Sauce if needed

First using a large gumbo pot, start boiling your water or stock about 6 quarts. Stir in your roux making sure that it has all dissolved and does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Sometimes it helps to heat the roux first in the pot then slowly add the water/stock to the pot to make sure it is dissolved. Bring this to a boil and cook while you prepare the other ingredients.

Season chicken with Cajun seasoning and brown in a large heavy bottom skillet, it doesn’t have to be cooked through just to get a start on the outside. Add the sausage and  tasso cut into bite sized pieces, and if using fresh sausage cook with chicken first then slice into pieces. Remove meat from the pot and set aside. You can add the sausage and tasso to the gumbo pot, not the chicken.  
Add all the chopped vegetables (onions, peppers, celery, garlic, NOT parsley or green onions) to the pan that you browned the meat in and sauté until the vegetables are wilted and slightly caramelized, but not burned. It is important to brown all ingredients before throwing into the gumbo pot…it adds another layer of flavor which is the key to Cajun cooking …layers of flavor. You can’t rush good cooking. When done add to gumbo pot and let everything cook for a while. 30 minutes – 1 hour. Test for seasoning and add if needed.

Add the chicken last so that it doesn’t over cook and fall apart in the pot. Wait until the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

Just before serving, add the parsley, and green onions. Be sure to test for seasoning again.

Cook a pot of rice to serve with the gumbo.

Sides that go with gumbo
Potato Salad
Baked Sweet Potatoes/Yams
French bread with butter and garlic

Note: if you are serving it to company cook the day or two before put it in the refrigerator, skim the excess oil from the top after it is chilled(there will be some, there is always some extra oil on the top of the gumbo). Doing this will help the flavors to combine better; it is always better the next time. Reheat and serve. Freeze left overs for another time and it is even better.