When my roommate and I come back to school after summer’s over, we always have an initial outpouring of crazy stories and funny things that we saw and did while we were away, and this September was no different.
It’s almost like a back-and-forth ping-pong match of humorous anecdotes—one of us says something, and then the other person just laughs and immediately responds with a story of her own—one that’s usually only remotely related. But, what can I say—you gotta be on your toes if you want to keep up with us!
One of the things my roommate did in August was take a road trip down to New Orleans. And apparently, I just hadn’t LIVED if I’d never had gumbo at The Gumbo Shop, arguably the best and most famous gumbo place in the city. It didn’t take much effort for her to convince me to make it, and after scouring the Internet for recipe research, we came up with this.
We based our chicken gumbo recipe off of The Gumbo Shop’s recipe, courtesy of The Spice House. We took a few small liberties with the ingredients and varying the amounts of chicken, veggies, and some of the flavorings (most notably, we were liberal with the Louisiana’s Pure Crystal Hot Sauce).
This Spicy Chicken Gumbo with Andouille Sausage is a really satisfying dish…so delicious. Seriously, it was gone within two days! (Did I mention that my roommate is probably the pickiest eater in the continental US?) Just try it. Trust us.
Chicken Andouille Gumbo: Recipe Instructions
Place your chicken thighs in a large pot and add the water. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 1 hour until the chicken is falling off the bone. Set the chicken aside and strain the water (now turned into stock!) into a large bowl.
While the chicken is cooking, prep your veggies—start with the okra. The cooking process starts with the okra—we used a mixture of fresh and frozen (an initial fresh okra miscalculation occurred), and we can definitively say that both are truly fine for this recipe.
Heat the 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a sauté pan. Add the okra and sauté over medium high heat until the “ropiness” is gone (i.e the goopy strands of okra-ness). When the okra is done, turn off the heat and set it aside.
Now comes the important step of making the signature gumbo roux. In the large pot you initially used for the chicken, add 2/3 cup vegetable oil and 3/4 cup flour. Whisk constantly for 20 minutes—yes, this seems like a long time, but it’s not so bad. We turned on Netflix and poured ourselves some wine.
The color goes from a light tan to a peanut buttery color to dark caramel to almost a chocolate color.
A lot of recipes call for a milk chocolate color, but we took it more to the dark caramel stage, and the flavor was fantastic. Start with medium-low heat, and as it turns darker, switch to low heat.
When you’ve got the perfect color for your roux, add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot.
Sauté them until tender, coating everything in that roux. This can take a bit of time, as you want the heat still around medium or medium-low to make sure the roux doesn’t burn.
But the little extra caramelization achieved by allowing the veggies to stick slightly to the bottom of the pot is very much encouraged in the gumbo community!
When the veggies are tender, add the sliced sausage. This lets some of the fat content in the sausage flavor the veggies and helps them cook up a little more evenly. Once the sausage is lightly browned, add the sautéed okra, and the tomatoes. Cook for 15 minutes.
This is a good time to remove the skin and bone from the chicken thighs and roughly shred them with your hands or two forks.
Add the chicken stock and shredded chicken and stir until combined. Then, season the entire mixture with the bay leaves, thyme, basil, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and pepper.
Mix thoroughly and bring to a low boil. Simmer your chicken gumbo for 1 hour with the pot loosely covered, stirring occasionally.
After an hour, add the hot sauce and adjust seasoning if needed. Let the gumbo simmer for another 20-30 minutes.
Serve this chicken gumbo with andouille sausage with rice, bread, parsley, and lots of extra hot sauce!
Another bit of good news is that this spicy chicken gumbo with andouille sausage really keeps well—some argue that it gets better over time. With the cold weather creeping in on us, this was really satisfying.
It’s a perfect meal to have after pumpkin or apple picking, or when you just want to curl up on the couch and watch a good movie. Takes a little extra elbow grease, but you won’t regret it!
If you’re in the mood for more dishes from New Orleans, try our Shrimp Étouffée recipe – it’s kickin’ too!