Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Updated: Nov 30, 2022
It’s that time of year when you can almost always find me hovering over a big pot, stirring up a cauldron of something hearty for my family. Soup season is here! After months and months of hot weather and cold salads, I’m ready to embrace warm, brothy bowls of goodness. I could eat soup (or stew) every night come fall and winter! A one pot meal that can be made in advance and is typically pretty nutritious, soup for dinner is an option that perfectly fits my lifestyle. My version of Chicken and Sausage Gumbo is a soup season favorite! More of a hearty stew, this non traditional recipe is loaded with bold, Cajun flavors (with a Texas twist). The roux is what characterizes a gumbo from just any old stew recipe- it’s integral to the dish. I make mine with less oil and flour than you’d find in most recipes and cook it until it’s golden brown. This is the only part of the process that requires babysitting- it’s important to stir the roux frequently or you could risk burning it. Keep the heat low and your whisk in constant motion. Then I add in the “Cajun Trinity”- onions, celery, and peppers. These vegetables serve as the aromatic base for the gumbo, along with a bouquet of fragrant spices. I sneak in a San Antonio spin with the addition of smoky poblanos and a little cumin.
If you can find “Slap Ya’ Mama” brand Cajun seasoning at your store, I highly recommend it (although I don’t condone slapping your own mama). It’s all natural and super simple. It does have salt, so if the brand you find is salt free, make sure that you season your gumbo to taste! The last step of my recipe is controversial but optional: I stir cooked brown rice into the stew. If you are a traditionalist, feel free to serve the gumbo on top of or alongside rice portions, but I like the way that the rice thickens the mixture. This delicious recipe serves a crowd and freezes delightfully. Ça c'est bon!
prep time: 10 min. cook time: ~50 min. serves: 6-8
12 oz smoked andouille sausage, cut into half moons
1/4 cup avocado or vegetable oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 tbsp minced garlic (2-4 cloves)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp cajun seasoning with salt (such as "Slap Ya' Mama")
ground black pepper
1-14 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 cups chicken stock
1-1/2 cups cut okra (fresh or frozen)
3 cups cooked rice, white or brown
sliced scallions, cajun seasoning to sprinkle, and a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
Heat a large dutch oven or heavy soup pot over a medium flame and add the sausage. Cook the sausage until it has browned all over and rendered a little fat, 3-5 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set it aside. In the same pot, drizzle in the oil to heat. Sprinkle the flour into the pot, stir to make a paste, and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, 5-7 minutes until the "roux" is a golden brown color.
Add the onion and celery to the roux and cook 5 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Add the peppers, garlic, bay leaf, cumin, cajun seasoning, thyme, 1 tsp salt, and some ground black pepper to taste and give the mixture a big stir. Cook another 3 minutes or so to soften the peppers and toast the spices.
Next, add the tomatoes and chicken stock to the vegetables and stir to combine. Submerge the browned sausage and chicken thighs into the liquid. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let the gumbo gently simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken thighs are fully cooked through.
Add the okra and brown rice* and cook 5-7 minutes more, until the okra is bright green and tender. Remove the chicken from the pot, shred the meat, and return it to the gumbo. Discard the bay leaf. Ladle the gumbo into bowls garnished with scallions, a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning, and a few dashes of hot sauce. *You can also ladle the gumbo over the cooked rice, but it won't be as thick.