The weather Gods in Georgia made me delay my St. Louis Rib smoke until at least Tuesday, so I decided to make my world famous (OK, house famous) smoked andouille sausage and chicken gumbo.
I have tweaked and simplified this recipe over the years so it is down to about a 90 minute prep time, compared to about a 8 hour prep time when I was old school. Now I'm lazy school.
What is this doing in a BBQ forum? Well, it DOES have smoked sausage, and a lot of you peeps smoke your own sausages. Plus I was bored on a rainy day, so here it is.
The cajun spice mix:
Mix together 1 TSBP paprika, 2 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme. Set aside.
The holy trinity:
The base for any cajun/creole cooking - onion, green pepper and celery. Chop 2 cups of onion, 1 cup of green pepper and 1 cup of celery.
4 boneless chicken breast halves and 1 lb. smoked andouille sausage. Just for kicks I threw in a pound of shrimp at the end since I had some laying around, but I usually don't add shrimp for this recipe.
I used to make my own and let it simmer for 8 hours. Now I go the lazy way out and add two 32oz boxes of chicken stock (8 cups).
Gumbo aint gumbo unless you make a dark brown roux. We will get into the basics of roux in a bit. I use 1 cup peanut oil and 1 cup flour. You need to use a oil with a high flash point cause we are making cajun napalm here.
The rest of the ingredients:
1 16oz bag of frozen okra, 2 bay leaves, 3 cloves minced garlic, and cayenne and salt to taste.
Sprinkle the cajun spice mix over the chicken breasts and save the leftover spice, it will be going back into the pot later.
Brown the chicken breasts in a pan with some oil. I'm using canola oil here since I'm not worried about the flash point.
Drain the chicken and store in the fridge until later. Don't worry about cooking the chicken completely, it will cook later in the stock.
Step 4, the roux:
By far the hardest part of making a good gumbo. There are many methods, including using an oven, slowly heating on a stove top, and my favorite method: The high temperature crazy cajun napalm method, which I learned from Paul Prudomme's books. This involves a frantic whisking of boiling hot oil and flour over high temperatures without burning it. It takes a lot of practice to get it right, but it cuts the roux making time down to about 15 minutes as opposed to an hour. If you see black flecks in your roux, you ruined it and have to start over. If you feel it is getting out of hand, pull it off the heat and keep whisking until you feel more comfortable, then put back on the heat.
Starting the roux:
On high heat, I start whisking 1 cup oil and 1 cup flour. You can't stop whisking for any reason, so have the chopped veggies near by. Have the 8 cups of stock simmering so it will be ready when the roux is.
The roux, cont:
Here you can see the roux is just starting to turn brown. My ultimate goal is the color of milk chocolate.
The roux, cont:
Getting a little darker. Still whisking like mad.
Almost there. You can see I am close to the color of milk chocolate. The final color was a little darker, but I didn't want to stop to take a pic and risk burning it.
Step 5: Now turn off the heat and throw your onion/green pepper/celery in. BE CAREFUL! It's called cajun napalm for a reason. Also, if you have a smoke detector, make sure you have a good fan going and/or your doors open. Its going to throw off a lot of steam.
Step 6: Cook the veggies for about 8 minutes. Turn the heat back on low now and then if you have to, but the roux is so freaking hot at this point that you don't need a lot of heat.
Step 7: Add the 1 lb. smoked andouille sausage and 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
Step 8: Now you need to incorporate the roux mixture into the stock. There are a couple of ways to do this, but what I do is add 1 cup of stock at a time into the roux mixture, mixing well. I add a total of about 3 cups of stock, then pour the roux/stock mixture back into the pot of the remaining stock. This ensures that everything is incorporated well.
Step 9: Add the cajun spice mixture you had left from the chicken and the 2 bay leaves.
Step 10: Tear apart the browned chicken with your hands, then add this to the gumbo.
Let this simmer for about an hour. After 30 minutes are so (when the chicken is cooked) taste for heat and salt. Add more cayenne and salt to your desired taste. In this case I added 1 tsp salt and no cayenne since the wifey will just complain.
About 20 minutes before you are aready to serve, add the frozen okra. This is also when I added the shrimp, but like I said, I usually don't add shrimp to this recipe since it really isn't a seafood gumbo.
When ready to server, put about a cup of rice or so in a bowl, then spoon the gumbo in the bowl. I know it sounds wierd, but I use basmati rice for everything, including gumbo. Me loves the basmati.
Dinners ready! Yumba.
And the 2nd best part, leftovers!
And that's it! Can you tell I was bored? Nothing much else to do on another stormy day in Georgia. Now at least when people ask for my gumbo recipe I can just link them here.