Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
Here is my dad’s gumbo recipe, which he gave me when my husband and I were surviving our first winter together in NYC. (How does anyone stand a Northern winter without gumbo?). For a seafood gumbo, omit the chicken, sausage, and eggs, and add shrimp, crab claws, and even flakes of fish towards the end of the recipe so you don’t overcook it. This will serve 6-8 people with enough leftover to freeze (trust me, you’ll want leftovers!). To make a larger gumbo increase the flour, oil, and vegetables by a half a cup. Mise-en-place (ingredients prepared ahead of time) is very important; once your rue gets going, you won’t have time for much else. Cultural note: The stewed tomatoes and boiled eggs are a touch that’s all Dad. I have a New Orleans friend who chastises me for such unauthentic additions, but it just shows you how personal gumbo really is. Dad always told me that the poor farmers would add boiled eggs to their gumbo when they couldn’t sacrifice a chicken. How lucky are we that we can enjoy both? I’m not sure where the tomatoes came from--I always like to think it’s the Italian in him that calls for it. Both additions add so much flavor and texture--I can’t imagine a gumbo without them!
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1⁄2 cups diced green bell peppers
- 1 1⁄2 cups diced celery
- 1 1⁄2 cups diced yellow onions
- 1 (16 ounce) bagchopped frozen okra
- 1 (48 ounce) carton low sodium chicken broth
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- 4 skinless chicken drumsticks
- 4 skinless chicken legs with thigh
- 4 links andouille sausages or 4 links hot Italian sausage
- 6 eggs
- Get a beer from the fridge and pop it open--you’re in for about 30 minutes of stirring over hot hot heat, so you’ll need a refreshment (or three, in my case). In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot, start your roux: combine the flour and oil over medium-high heat and stir with a wooden spoon (only use a wooden spoon as a roux will melt plastic). Stir continuously while scraping the bottom of the pot so the roux doesn’t burn (I have a wooden spoon with a flat edge, which works best for scraping.) I was very nervous about burning rues until my dad told me that as long as you keep scraping the bottom of the pot and stirring the roux, it’s really hard to burn it -- he’s right. Your roux will slowly darken from a cream to a caramel to a milk chocolate to finally a dark chocolate color. If it starts really smoking at any time, lower your heat, pull your pot off the burner, and continue stirring until it calms down a bit. It usually takes me three beers to get my roux dark enough. It’s a lonely time at that pot, so make sure you have company (or turn the Saints game on).
- Once your roux is dark enough to your taste, throw in what New Orleanians call the Holy Trinity (pepper, onion, and celery) to cool the roux down. Keep stirring until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Your rue will darken even more and your kitchen will smell delicious! Toss in the okra and stir just until it melts.
- Once the vegetables are cooked, add in your chicken stock, slowly, while mixing it with the roux. You don’t want to end up with a watered down gumbo, but the okra will thicken it as it cooks. Add in the tomatoes with juice, the raw chicken, and sausage. If you need more liquid, you can add in some water. Let the gumbo come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- In the meantime, boil your eggs in a separate pot, cool, and peel them. Once the chicken and sausage are cooked, carefully remove them from the gumbo, pull the chicken meat from the bones, chop it and the sausage into bite-sized pieces, then add it all back to the pot. Skim off any foam or fat with a spoon. Add in the boiled eggs and seasonings. Make the rice in a separate pot while simmering the gumbo.
- Serve over white rice with French bread while bragging. Make sure the Tabasco sauce is handy for those who really want to spice up their bowl even more.