Mardi Gras gumbo never tasted so good | Chef Dez
This year, Tuesday, Feb. 28, is the Fat Tuesday celebration of Mardi Gras. It is the last day of the carnival season in New Orleans and always falls on the day before Ash Wednesday.
The term Fat Tuesday represents the last day of eating richer, fattier foods before the ritual fasting of Lent that begins on the Ash Wednesday.
To help you celebrate this annual event at your dinner table, I have provided you with my very popular recipe for Chicken & Sausage Gumbo.
What is Gumbo? It is a stew made with the vegetable okra. The word “gumbo” is derived from the African word for okra, “quingombo” and, in shortened form, the French word for okra, “gombo.”
If you can't find andouille sausage, use chorizo sausage. The sausage must be pre-cooked, or smoked, as using raw sausage will make the gumbo too fatty.
This recipe can also be found on page 58 of my latest cookbook “The Best In Your Kitchen” available from my website or worldwide through Amazon. Happy cooking!
Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
Note: Frequent stirring of the roux (fat & flour) will help prevent it from burning. My version of a gumbo thickened with both roux and okra. The amount of salt you use will depend on how salty your chicken broth is.
1/2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
1 medium onion, diced small, approximately 1.5 cups
1 medium red bell pepper, diced small, approximately 1 cup
2 celery stalks, diced small, approximately 1 cup
300g fresh or frozen okra, sliced into circles
2 tsp dried thyme leaves (not ground)
2 bay leaves
6 to 8 garlic cloves, chopped
454g smoked andouille sausage, sliced lengthwise in half, then sliced into small pieces
10 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized chunks
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups chicken broth
3 tsp sugar
1 - 156ml can tomato paste
1/2 tsp pepper
1 to 2 tsp salt, to taste
Optional: garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme
First, heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat slightly. Stir in the flour and reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and stir frequently for 20-30 minutes until this mixture – called a roux, pronounced 'roo' – has turned dark brown, resembling the color of melted milk chocolate.
Second, stir in the onion, bell pepper and celery. Turn up the heat to medium and cook for approximately 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will get extremely thick.
Third, stir in the okra, thyme and bay leaves and cook for approximately 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Fourth, stir in the garlic, sausage, chicken and wine. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the chicken has mostly cooked.
Fifth, stir in the broth, sugar, tomato paste and pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Then simmer at a low boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced and thickened.
Finally, season to taste with the salt and serve immediately over cooked rice, with or without garnish.
This recipe makes six to eight portions.
Gordon Desormeaux aka Chef Dez is a chef, writer and host serving the Pacific Northwest. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, BC V2T 6R4.