Friday, October 1, 2010
Chicken Gumbo - Filé Gumbo
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I had a small, surprising triumph tonight. Before going any further, I want to extend an apology to any of my Southern friends who might find my victory lap or bow a bit premature. I stepped into their territory, if not their kitchens, and made gumbo tonight. Despite my years in the kitchen, this was a first for me. I love gumbo, but I found the making of roux off-putting. Armed with great directions, which you can find here, I decided to give it a try and I think I did alright. I made minor alterations to a recipe developed by Emeril Lagasse and was really pleased with the results. My only caution is that you need time to make this. It really is not difficult to prepare, but it needs watching and some of its elements take longer to cook than the recipe would have you believe. Most significantly, it took an hour, rather than 20 minutes, for my roux to become the color of chocolate. The trick is to get it to that chocolate color without burning the roux. If it burns you'll have to toss it. Despite that, I highly recommend this gumbo and hope you will try it. Here's the recipe.
Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo with White Rice...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, inspired by Emeril Lagasse
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound smoked andouille sausage, cut crosswise 1/2-inch thick pieces
4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 bay leaves
9 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon filé powder (ground sassafras leaves)- see Cook's Note
Cooked white rice
1) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy pot set over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until brown, about 8 minutes. Remove sausage from pan and drain on paper toweling. Set aside.
2) Season chicken with Creole seasoning. Brown, in batches, using pot in which sausage was cooked. Remove from pan. Let cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
3) Add flour and reserved 1/2 cup oil to pan in which chicken and sausage browned. Cook, stirring slowly, for 20 to 25 minutes to make a chocolate colored roux. I had to cook mine for an hour to achieve this color.
4) Add onions, celery, and bell peppers and cook, stirring, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add reserved sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Stirring, slowly, add chicken stock, and cook, stirring, until well combined. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
5) Add reserved chicken to the pot and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, skimming off any fat that rises to surface.
6) Remove pot from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken thighs from the gumbo and place on a cutting board to cool slightly. Remove and discard bay leaves. Pull chicken meat from bones and shred, discarding bones. Return meat to gumbo and stir in the green onions, parsley, and filé powder.
7) Spoon rice into bottom of deep bowls or large cups and ladle gumbo on top. Serve with hot sauce if desired. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Cook's Note: File powder has a very earthy flavor that tastes like a combination of thyme and savory. It can be found in the spice aisle of large food chains. The powder comes from grinding dried sassafras leaves. If you would like to make your own filé powder, instructions can be found here. Filé powder is added at the end of cooking to thicken the gumbo. To add it sooner can cause the gumbo to become stringy. It can also be passed and added at the table.
You might also enjoy these recipes:
Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo - The Bake-Off Flunkie
Chicken Gumbo - Louanne's Kitchen
Quick and Easy Sausage and Okra Gumbo - Sing for Your Supper
Shrimp and Okra Gumbo - Felice in the Kitchen
Pancetta and Shrimp Gumbo - Chow and Chatter
Cajun Gumbo Soup - The Teacher Cooks