If you love spicy stews then this chicken and smoked sausage gumbo should definitely be on your list of things to make. It's a hearty warming stew filled with exotic cajun flavours.
This month I accepted the challenge to make gumbo. At first I thought it a good choice. I like a nice easy one pot meal. Ah! I'd thought, a spicy one-pot meal - I can make that any time. Yes, of course I could make it any time, but for the challenge I needed to make this chicken and smoked sausage gumbo sooner rather than later!
Do you need Worcestershire sauce in a gumbo?
I was a little disorganised. Now, I didn't miss out the creole spice blend or the roux, it wasn't quite that bad! I just missed out the Worcestershire Sauce. I wasn't sure how bad a mistake this was so I turned to google and did a search for chicken and sausage gumbo.
There it was, one of the ingredients in the first recipe that showed up. I quickly ignored it and looked at the second one. No Worcester Sauce. Excellent. Clearly not important. I have however included it in the recipe as I think adding splash at the table would be a good move.
The Roux is Key to a Good Gumbo
What is important when making a gumbo is the roux. In fact, it is the roux that really makes a gumbo, a gumbo. It's also important not to burn it. You need to keep stirring all the time because if any bits get caught on the bottom of the pan they are likely to burn and ruin the flavour. Because of this, it is a bit more labour intensive than other stews and all the vegetables need to be chopped up first too!
One ingredient I forgot to get was okra which I'm sure would have gone really well in this. And another ingredient I didn't get was file powder which is a dried herb used to thicken and flavour the gumbo. To be honest, I didn't forget it but as I'd left it to the last minute, I didn't have time to find out where I could buy it.
As I've no idea what file powder tastes like, I don't know if it would have made a big difference or not. Overall, this chicken and sausage gumbo was very tasty but next time I would add a fresh chilli to the gumbo as well as the spice blend. I felt it needed just a little more flavour - or maybe that was the missing Worcester Sauce! Or possibly the lack of okra! Or the File powder!
Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo Recipe
This recipe is adapted from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.
Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo
Ingredients for the Spice Blend
- ½ tsp celery salt
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground all spice
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 4 chicken thighs diced (or 2 chicken breasts)
Ingredients for the Gumbo
- 50 ml oil
- 50 g plain white flour
- 1 onion diced
- 2 Andouille sausage I used smoked Polish sausages instead
- 1 green pepper diced
- 2 celery sticks finely diced
- 1 tomato diced
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- Pinch dried thyme
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp Tabasco sauce
- 300 ml chicken stock
- Mix all the ingredients for the spice blend together. Rub into the diced chicken along with the crushed garlic clove and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the flour and whisk or stir with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring and don't let any of it burn. I find it easier to use a wooden spoon to get into the corners of the pan. The roux will gradually darken to a deep brown.
- After about 15 minutes turn the heat down and add the diced onion. After about 10 minutes the sauce will be glossy and caramelised. Add the chicken and stir to brown all over.
- Add the sausage and the rest of the vegetables, including the other clove of garlic. Keep stirring for another couple of minutes.
- Add the thyme, bay leaf and chicken stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir every now and again and skim off any oil that rises to the top.
- Cook a little rice to serve under the gumbo.
- When ready, season with Worcester Sauce and Tabasco before serving.
- Serve in bowls with the gumbo on top of the rice.
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