This is the meal inspired by a sausage and a song. When the campus meat market started offering andouille sausage, I knew we had to make gumbo. Then our friend Kat discovered a song listed under the genre “gumbo funk,” and we had a soundtrack.
We cooked up a big ol’ pot of gumbo for Michael’s parents when we went to visit, and maybe Michael’s mom just loves us, but she couldn’t stop talking about how good it was. I can’t say I’ve had a ton of gumbo in my day, but this was the best one I’ve tasted. The vegetables maintained their form and taste, instead of becoming a pot of mush. The chicken, sausage and shrimp each brought their own flavors too.
According to Michael, the best canned tomatoes available. Don’t even try to argue otherwise.
This Food Network recipe just called for chicken and andouille, but I felt like there should be some seafood. You can do scallops too. The only other change we made to the recipe was adding a combination of Cajun spices to the flour in which we dredged the chicken. In addition to salt and pepper, I added paprika, chili powder, celery salt and oregano. If you have a packaged blend, that works too.
Change whatever you want in the recipe, but make sure you have some gumbo funk on the playlist.
Gumbo with Chicken, Andouille and Shrimp
- 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 12 ounces andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dredging
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 chicken thighs
- 1 pound of shrimp
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 2 red or green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 10 ounces fresh or frozen okra, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 to 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 3 scallions (whit and green parts), thinly sliced
- Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
- Cajun seasoning (paprika, chili powder, cayenne, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano)
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Seriously, you’ll need the biggest pot you have. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and much of the fat is rendered. Remove the sausage to plate with a slotted spoon.
While the sausage browns, pour a good amount of flour into a shallow baking dish, and season with Cajun seasoning (at the very least, salt, pepper and paprika). Dredge the chicken with the flour and add to the Dutch oven, in batches if necessary, and cook until brown on both sides. Remove to the plate with the sausage.
Flash cook the shrimp so that they turn pink. They will cook further in broth, and will shrink too much otherwise.
Make a roux by adding 1/2 cup flour to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring constantly, until light golden brown. Add the onions, peppers and celery to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Stir in the okra and the garlic and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes.
Strip the leaves from the thyme into the Dutch oven, and stir in the bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and 6 cups broth. The recipe says crush the tomatoes through your hands into the pot. We chopped them up a bit on a cutting board.
Return the chicken, sausage and shrimp to the pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in some additional chicken stock to thin the sauce a bit, if desired.
Stir in the vinegar, scallions, and parsley, taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Serve over rice or, as we did, with a nice, fresh baguette.