Monday, November 18, 2013

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Authentic Cajun style (Gluten Free)

When I first went gluten free, I figured my gumbo days were over.  But thanks to the Lagasse Girls, daughters of the famous Emeril Lagasse, I embraced the idea that gluten free gumbo could be a possibility.  I mean, surely these girls know what really good gumbo tastes like.  

But after studying the recipe, I realized their approach to gumbo skips some very important steps for that depth of flavor I'm used to.  So I took this new found confidence and adapted my tried and true recipe. 

I would imagine this recipe will be most appreciated by those who are gluten free and miss having their gumbo, but in case you've never made gumbo before I'll try and go step by step here.  By all means, this recipe can be made with regular flour.

You are going to begin by frying up your sausage followed by your chicken.  I have been using boneless, skinless chicken thighs for years.  I don't believe that chicken breasts have enough flavor.  You could definitely use a little of both, but trust me on this one.  Use some good dark meat in your gumbo.

After you brown your sausage over medium high heat, you will place in large bowl set off to the side.  Add the chicken to the sausage drippings and brown them, turning down to medium. You don't have to cook the chicken all the way through, just enough to brown both sides.  I usually stop my browning and remove the chicken to the bowl when I feel like the brown bits on the bottom are about to burn.  You don't want that. You'll also notice I use an enameled cast iron pot.  It's super heavy and is easier to keep up than a traditional cast iron pot.  Especially since my chief dishwasher can't seem to keep from using soap!

 Next add the oil to the pan drippings, stir in flour.  Coincidentally, I use the same amount of oil and flour I used in my old recipe, I just replace with a gluten free flour blend.  I believe it's the Bob's Mill version. 

You want to cook on medium heat, stirring nearly constantly, until the mixture reaches a nice dark color like the last photograph on the right.  You'll notice the same, nutty scent you get from a flour gumbo.  Just be careful not to rush this.  And don't burn it.  If you do, there's no use in crying, just throw it out and start over.

I'm sure some people let their roux get a little darker, but I find that it continues to darken when the onion mix is added. This was difficult process to photograph. The oil kept foaming on the top and hiding the color of the roux.

Once your roux is brown add your onions, celery and bell pepper.

You'll notice that the photo below has carrots. Yeah, I grabbed the wrong bag of frozen Miropaux blend. I love that my Gerbes/Kroger carries these but they really messed up when the labeled both of these mixes Miropaux. They are, however, a great time saver and I've never been able to tell a difference in the end product if they are to be sauteed or cooked down in some fashion.

Once the onions, celery and bell pepper have softened add the garlic.  Cook until aromatic.  Don't let them burn.

Add in 2 cups of water or homemade chicken stock.  Once this is nice and smooth add the rest of the water and your meats back into the pot.

Add your seasonings and cook for at least 30 minutes, certainly you can cook for an hour if you have it.  I cooked for 30 minutes and then started to cook my rice, which was done in 20 minutes.  It looked pretty darn good at that point and we ate it!!

You'll notice my gumbo does not have okra. I thicken with Gumbo File instead of okra.  I do not like okra and think it's kind of gross and slimy in a gumbo.  In my opinion, a gumbo with okra is indicative of a Creole approach and I am Cajun. Two totally different birds.  Trust me.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup vegetable oil  
1/2 cup gluten free flour blend, or all purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped  
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped  
2 celery ribs, sliced 
6 cups hot water 
3-5 garlic cloves, minced  
2 bay leaves 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning 
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce
4 green onions, sliced  
1 teaspoon parsley
a good shake of Filé powder, about a teaspoon
Hot cooked rice 
Optional: chopped green onions 

1. Cook sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until browned. Move to large bowl and reserve drippings in cast iron pot.

2. Cook chicken in reserved drippings in cast iron pot over medium heat 5 minutes or until browned. Move to same large bowl you used for the sausage, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Set chicken aside.

3. Add 1/2 cup oil to the pot along with the gluten free flour blend  and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 20 to 25 minutes, or until roux is a light chocolate color, or darker than peanut butter.

4. Stir in onion, bell pepper, and celery; cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until tender. Cook garlic until it becomes fragrant.  Be sure not to let it burn.  Gradually add 2 cups hot water, whisk or stir vigorously until smooth.  Add rest of water and bring mixture to a boil; add chicken, sausage, and seasonings. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally,  for at least 30 minutes.

5. Remove chicken thighs with slotted spoon and chop as necessary.

6. If desired, stir in green onions and parsley; cook for 15 more minutes.

7. Remove and discard bay leaves. Remove gumbo from heat. Sprinkle with filé powder, if desired. Serve over hot cooked rice.

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