This Gumbo is one of my all time favorites, and here’s why. A long long time ago, before my own little consciousness popped into existence, my dad learned how to make gumbo when he lived in New Orleans, from a restaurant he fondly refers to as a hole in the wall; off the beaten path. The restaurant itself was a little dirty maybe, but had the best lip smacking fresh seafood around, and has surely long since closed. However, it gave out a gumbo recipe to my dad who has had the legendary gumbo continued into existence, by transplanting it states away and years later into my delighted awareness and shortly thereafter my stomach. As far as I know it is not legendary to anyone else but me and my family yet, so let me know if this gumbo becomes legendary to you :D. My dad has been making gumbo for our family for years with his fresh east-coast catches; a trio of shrimp, oysters, and crab meat. It takes a little work, especially to harvest and prepare all that seafood, but it is ridiculously good. I am talking best meal of your life good. Sadly, my husband has not come to understand just how delicious seafood is, so for him, I made a chicken version of gumbo with a few extra vegetables to enhance the complexity it would lack from the lack of seafood, and that is the recipe you will see below. Believe it or not, it rivals the seafood version. I think I am going to make this for the annual Hoover family ski trip with my in-laws and friends this year. All picky eaters will rejoice! No person left behind at dinner time! The vegetables come out so tender and flavorful, you don’t even know you are eating them.
With an afternoon to spare, I enjoy making this gumbo with a glass of sweet tea in hand and listening to some tunes. Even better yet is making gumbo with my dad, the gumbo pro himself. He makes a beautiful golden roux, simply browned flour and butter, taking care not to burn it. If you burn your roux, throw it out and start over. A burnt roux will ruin your whole recipe and waste all your other precious ingredients.
I hope this amazing recipe makes up for the last few post-less months. I know, its been more than a few….like six, but we have been busy buying and moving to a new house and going to a new school and getting a new job, etcetera, etcetera. Exciting stuff. I would say, it is just about as exciting as this gumbo.
Enjoy!, and try not to fight over the left overs the next day.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large bell peppers, chopped
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 can okra, 8 oz
- 4 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp flour
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 4-6 cups water
- 1 pack Korr home style chicken stock (alternatively 2 chicken bullion cubes)
- 4 chicken thighs
- 14oz chicken sausage
- 1 tbsp Filé powder*
- salt and pepper and red pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Boil 4 cups water in soup pot.
- Sift flour in melted butter and brown on medium-low heat in nonstick skillet, stirring constantly until golden brown. Keep a close eye on this part, it is very easy to burn, and very important to the flavor of the while dish. Add to boiling water and turn the soup pot's heat to medium.
- Sauté onions in olive oil until brown and add celery and peppers. Sauté for another 5 minutes then add to soup pot.
- Drain okra and add to soup pot.
- Sauté chopped chicken sausage until brown and add to soup pot.
- Sprinkle salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes on raw chicken thighs after removing the skin.
- Turn skillet on the highest heat possible and let chicken thighs sear on each side for 2 minutes each then add to soup pot.
- Remove thighs after 20 minutes and remove meat from bone, set aside.
- Let soup cook on medium-low for about 2 hours, or until vegetables are tender. Cover or add water as needed.
- minutes before serving, add filé powder and thigh meat to soup pot and simmer. At this point, don't forget to make your rice
- Serve your gumbo in bowls over a heaping scoop of rice and some garlic bread on the side.