A good authentic gumbo is worth it’s weight in gold. We didn’t sacrifice any of the age-old secrets in our original recipe, but we did add some healthy twists! Any true gumbo must start with a dark roux (flour & butter in this case), so while this recipe takes a tad longer to make than our others, trust me, it’s worth it! Feel free to substitute any sausage you like going forward such as andouille or chorizo, but this week you’ll find a mild chicken sausage in your bag. And no, black beans aren't super common in gumbo, but it adds some additional protein and stretches the recipe farther for just a couple bucks. Oh yeah, and it tastes GREAT!
3 links of chicken sausage
1 medium sweet or yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
3 stalks of celery
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups chicken stock
2 cans of black beans
1 stick butter OR
Flour (equal parts to butter, approx 1/2 cup)
2 bay leaves
Seasoning Salt (to tastes)
Small turn of olive oil
Salt and Pepper
White rice (cooked)
Cornbread (for serving)
Oil Roux: Since you have butter in your delivery this week, we wrote a butter roux into this recipe, but oil is used for gumbo just as often. Try using a vegetable or canola oil if you have it, and see which you prefer!
Gumbo filé powder: The experts will tell you it's not a true gumbo without a sprinkle of ground filé before serving. The Choctaw Indians first starting using this to both add flavor and as a thickening agent. Just make sure not to use it while cooking the gumbo, as it could become stringy.
Okra: We LOVE okra here at N.I.M. for lots of reasons, but we know for some it has a bad rap as being slimy. When added to gumbo, it also acts as another thickener, and cooks down so much that it's barely recognizable as okra anymore. Also, before you hang your hat on your opinion, we dare you to try our fried okra recipe.
Shredded Chicken or Shrimp (Don't shred the shrimp. That would be hard.): Chicken and shrimp is pretty common in gumbo also. If you've got extra of one of those proteins laying around, don't count them out! We recommend searing/cooking it before or after the sausage, setting it aside until it cools, shredding it and then adding it back in when you add your sausage.
Green, Yellow & Orange Bell Peppers: We used a red bell pepper here because it's a little sweeter, and honestly, it's prettier. Green is just as good though and more traditional. Or, try all all the colors!
Cherry Peppers: Gumbo is hearty and on the richer side, so the tang and spice of cherry peppers (like the ones pictured above), goes wonderfully together.
Mashed Potatoes: That's right, I said it. Mashed potatoes make a wonderful base for your gumbo in lieu of rice and, IMO, does an even better job of soaking up all the goodness. Turns out we're not the only ones either, so if you're feeling crazy, give this a try!
Begin by having all your veggies chopped and ready. A finer dice will cook down faster. Heat a large stock/soup pot over medium high heat. Add a small turn of olive oil to coat the bottom and a sear the chicken sausage on each side. Transfer to a plate (It will not be cooked through yet).
Now for the most important part: the roux! (Pronounced “roo“). Add your stick of butter and allow to melt. Follow with the flour and work until combined. From here you will continue to stir for 15 minutes over medium until your roux has taken a nice dark color (see photos). Don’t walk away for more than a few seconds or it can burn or become bitter.
After your roux is nice and dark, add the veggies, saving only the garlic for now. Add salt and pepper. Continue to stir for an additional 15 minutes until your veggies have softened and cooked down to about half the volume. Add your minced garlic, followed by the chicken sausage and stir for another couple minutes. Slowly add about 2 cups of chicken stock, 2 bay leaves and bring to a boil to thicken. Reduce heat, add seasoning salt to taste and let simmer on low until your rice and cornbread are ready!
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