Chili can get kinda old even here in Texas. Growing up in East TX we ate our fair share of gumbo being so close to Louisiana.
This is a mixture of several recipes. It is not a traditional seafood gumbo that you might get on the coast but more of a gumbo stew the way I think of it. This recipe lends itself to alot of experimentation. I have added shrimp, catfish, smoked turkey, just about anything you think sounds good but for the most part I just use chicken and sausage. I like to use thighs, usually just get the boneless ones it’s easier. I try to use the best sausage I can find. Central Market has some great Andouille sausage. If you want to use smoked sausage instead of Andouille that is a great idea. Smokey Denmark’s out of Austin are fantastic and not greasy at all unlike most. Just about any good quality smoked sausage will work.
TK’s Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
2 lbs. chicken thighs (my wife prefers all white meat and breasts works just as well)
1 lbs. sausage (use a good quality Andouille or smoked sausage, don’t get cheap on this!)
3 stalks celery
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 large or 2 small Bell peppers
28 oz. Italian Diced Tomatoes (you can use more no problem)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Pepper
1 tsp. dried Basil
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. file powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
16 oz. Okra
This is a really simple straightforward recipe. The first thing is that you will need to boil the chicken in a pot of water. Place the chicken in the boiling water and boil for about 25 minutes or so until the chicken is done. Remove the chicken and let cool. Pour about 4 cups of the water you boiled the chicken in a separate container for using later. The next step is to make the roux. Making a roux is kinda a pain and as many times as I have done I still worry about burning it. There many, many websites about making a roux and I would suggest reading about some of them if you have not. This is a very simple roux. Use the pot you will make the gumbo in and pour in 1/2 cup of the oil and 1/2 cup of the flour and begin to heat. Gradually heat up to near high heat continually stirring. At first the mixture is kind of milky brown color. As it cooks, it will turn a deep brown or golden color. You can use wheat flour if you like, some people like the taste and color of it in their gumbo. If you keep stirring, it will not burn. Also, I use a wooden spatula to stir the roux. I think it just works better to keep the roux from sticking or burning. There is no definite timetable for making the roux but about 15 minutes is what it usually takes. Feel free to ask me any questions about this!
A good time to cook the okra is while you are stirring the roux. I prefer to use fresh okra but if you don’t have any frozen will work just as well. If cooking fresh okra cook whole in handfuls in the microwave for about 5 minutes. If the okra splits it has been in there too long. Take out, cool and slice to go into the pot. If using frozen, simply heat two tablespoons of oil in a skillet and dump in the frozen okra. Just stir it every so often and in about 15 or 20 minutes it will be ready to put in the pot.
Once you are satisfied with the color of the roux go ahead and add the rest of the ingredients. It all goes in except for the chicken and the file powder. A couple of things here, these are just estimates with the spices. I usually add a little more cayenne. Also, to give it a little more pop I add a teaspoon of ground jalapeno and a tablespoon of Tony Chachere’s. Well, ground jalapeno is a little more than just a pop so be careful. A great place to get quality spices online is www.penderys.com. Simmer for an hour and a half with lid partially covered. I uncover just enough to let a little steam escape. After and hour and a half shred the chicken and add to the pot as well as the file powder. Also, before you add the chicken and powder that is a good time to spoon off any grease that has collected. Serve with white rice.
My family loves eating this. Especially good when it get’s cold but we eat it year round! Enjoy!
Bake catfish and crumble in the gumbo for a good alternative (when I do this I don’t add any other sausage, shrimp, etc. keep it just catfish). As far as ingredients go I am a big fan of better ingredients, better food. I buy the fresh stuff at Central Market or Whole Foods and just take what I need. They have spice bins there so you can just take what you need for the recipe. I think Trader Joe’s does this as well. This is also a really good idea for things that you don’t normally use as well. Pendery’s in Fort Worth www.penderys.com is a great place to order whole or ground peppers from. Great spices really make a recipe like this one shine. I pretty much use Texmati Rice www.riceselect.com . I like it and the Texmati Jasmati rice is just greatness.