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Chicken and Sausage Filé Gumbo

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped, trimmings reserved
  • 1 bunch celery, coarsely chopped, including leaves, trimmings reserved
  • 2 green peppers, coarsely chopped, trimmings reserved
  • 1 pound smoked andouille sausage or other smoked sausage, cut into rounds about 1⁄8 inch thick
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 2 cups chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, or to taste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce, or to taste (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons filé powder
  • Cooked white rice, for serving
  • French bread and butter, for serving

DIRECTIONS

1.Place the chicken thighs in a large stockpot and cover with 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium to maintain a vigorous simmer.

2. Add the trimmings from the chopped vegetables to the pot with the chicken and cook, skimming foam from the top of the stock as needed, for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

3. In a large heavy skillet (10 to 12 inches), cook the sausage over medium heat until browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Pat well with paper towels to soak up extra grease. Set aside.

4. Remove the chicken thighs from the stock and let them cool. Pour the stock through a large strainer into a clean container, discarding the solids. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and bones. Chop the chicken into large pieces and set aside.

5. To make the roux, in a large stockpot (about 10 quarts), heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, gradually add the flour, whisking continuously. Continue to stir the roux, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep it from burning, for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the roux is a dark mahogany color. Be careful — if the roux burns, you will have to start all over again!

6. Carefully add the chopped onion to the roux and cook, stirring continuously with a large wooden spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes. (The onion will sizzle and steam when it hits the hot roux, so caution is advised. All seasoned gumbo cooks have roux battle scars on one or both arms.)

7. Add the celery and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 to 3 minutes more.

8. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 to 2 minutes more. The mixture should now resemble a pot of black beans in color and texture.

9. Add the strained stock, salt, black pepper, thyme, bay leaves, oregano, basil, and Creole seasoning. Stir well.

10. Stir in the chopped chicken and sausage. Bring the gumbo to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 to 2 hours. (If you like a chunkier texture, cook for about 1 hour. If you want a smoother texture, cook for 2 hours.) If the gumbo gets uncovered. Because there is pork sausage in this gumbo, skim off any excess oil that rises to the top.too thick, add a little water. If it is too thin, continue to let it simmer uncovered. Because there is pork sausage in this gumbo, skim off any excess oil that rises to the top.

11. Gumbo is always better the day after it has been cooked, although I’ve never had a complaint when I served it the day I made it. At this point, you can cool the gumbo. Turn off the heat and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then place the pot, uncovered, in an empty sink. Fill the sink with cold water and ice around the stockpot (try not to get any in the stockpot itself). Stir every 15 minutes to facilitate cooling. (The gumbo will spoil if improperly cooled.) When completely cool, refrigerate the gumbo in the stockpot, uncovered.

12. When ready to serve, slowly bring the gumbo to a simmer over medium-low heat. Thirty minutes before serving, add the green onion and parsley to the gumbo. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

13. Add the Worcestershire, the hot sauce (if using), and the fil. powder. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Serve over cooked white rice with French bread and butter.