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In the Kitchen With Ricky: Chicken and andouille sausage gumbo is a New Orleans classic

UPDATED: Mon., Oct. 11, 2021

By Ricky Webster For The Spokesman-Review

National Gumbo Day is Oct. 12, so this week I am bringing you a favorite recipe for a New Orleans classic. It’s sure to warm your soul and excite your taste buds.

Gumbo is essentially a stew composed of a rich stock, meats or fish, a thickener and “the holy trinity.” The holy trinity is a Creole term for a mixture of celery, bell peppers and onions and is at the heart of many Louisiana dishes.

Besides the roux (a rich, dark brown mixture of flour and fat), okra is also used as a thickener. Okra contains mucilage, which is thick and gluey, and the reason some aren’t a fan, but as it cooks down, that sliminess releases into the stew and helps to thicken the stock.

This recipe is tried and true. I learned it from a New Orleans chef who said the trick is cooking the roux long enough to resemble chocolate, so ever since then that’s what I do.

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

½ cup canola oil

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 large onion

2 pounds skin-on chicken thighs, about 6 pieces

1 teaspoon celery salt

¾ teaspoon garlic powder

¾ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound andouille sausage, sliced ½-inch thick

1 stalk celery, diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 small tomato, seeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme

5 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 cup okra, frozen and sliced

2 teaspoons Worcestershire

Kosher salt to taste

Cracked black pepper to taste

Tabasco to taste

Sliced green onions to garnish

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over high heat and add the canola oil.

Whisk the flour into the oil and reduce the heat to medium. Continue whisking until the roux takes on a deep brown color, about the shade of milk chocolate.

Add in the onions and stir with a wooden spoon.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to stir until fragrant and the roux is dark brown, the shade of dark chocolate, and the onions are caramelized.

Rinse the chicken pieces, pat dry and set aside.

Combine all the herbs and spices and season the chicken pieces with the entire mixture.

Add the chicken to the onion-y roux and raise the heat to medium. Cook turning the chicken thighs until browned, about 10 minutes.

Add in the sliced andouille sausage and stir to incorporate, then add the celery, bell pepper, tomato and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes.

Add in the thyme, chicken broth and bay leaves and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming off the extra fat that pools at the top of the pot.

Add in the okra and Worcestershire and season to taste with salt and pepper and several dashes of Tabasco (taste as you go).

Simmer for another 45 minutes, continuing to skim the excess fat from the surface.

Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice and with more Tabasco on the side and garnished with green onion.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Local award-winning chef and Rind and Wheat owner Ricky Webster can be reached at ricky@rindandwheat.com. Follow Webster on Instagram @rickycaker.

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