Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

My New Orleans by John Besh includes no fewer than five recipes for gumbo, which isn't really all that shocking considering gumbo is the epitome of Louisiana cooking. The ingredients vary widely but all the recipes involve a thick roux.

This Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo starts with a roux made up of equal parts fat and flour, which are slowly cooked until the mix makes its way from a light tan all the way to a deep, rich brown. The roux provides a rich base for this hearty stew of sausage, chicken, okra and the holy trinity of Cajun cooking—celery, onions, and green peppers.

Along with the trinity of vegetables, there's another trio of New Orleans ingredients at play in this gumbo, the three thickening agents: roux, okra, and filé powder. The gooey insides of the okra along with the filé ensure that the finished gumbo is thick and hearty.

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Besh's custom blend of Creole Spices give this gumbo a wonderful savory depth and kick. The leftovers can be used for anything from fried chicken coating to blackening seasoning.

Gumbo is generally served family-style with white rice and filé powder on the side. This way everyone can choose their own ratio of gumbo-to-rice and increase the thickness with additional filé powder. If you decide to make this gumbo at home, be sure to invite a crowd of people over. The recipe makes an absolute ton of spicy and very satisfying gumbo.

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