This year I’ve decided it’s time for some Gumbo. I usually reserve this recipe for Mardi Gras, or at least a year when the Super Bowl is held in New Orleans, or the off chance that the New Orleans Saints make the big game.
But I’ve been jonesing for some good gumbo as of late, so there’s no time like the present. Crank up a good New Orleans music playlist – Dr. John, The Meters, Professor Longhair to name a few, and let’s get cooking.
1 cup olive oil
1 cup flour
2 large onions, chopped
3 bell peppers, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
A liberal amount (depending on taste) of whole garlic cloves
4 quarts chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Tobasco to taste
Approximately 1.5 lbs chicken thighs
Approximately 1.5 lbs Andouille sausage, chopped
Approximately 1.5 lbs shrimp, peeled
Approximately 1.5 lbs clams, whole in shell
Prep and chop all veggies and have on standby in a large bowl. Now take your biggest heaviest pot and begin by making the roux. Heat the oil in the pot on medium-high heat, and add the flour, stirring continuously. Use a wood spoon to mix – plastic spoons will melt (not that I’ve ever experienced that, ahem …). Be prepared to spend a good 10 to 15 minutes stirring the roux. Walk away for just a minute or two, and you’ll have a burnt flour mess on your hands.
A good New Orleans style roux will have a peanut butter color to it when its ready. A few more minutes of stirring will result in a more Cajun style roux, approximating the color of milk chocolate. I like the darker roux personally, but if you’re new to the game or are afraid of burning the roux, the lighter roux will work fine. Roux-making is an acquired skill, and perhaps the trickiest part of this recipe.
Once your roux is ready, add the chopped veggies to the pot, stirring as you add to flash cook the veggies and stop the roux from continuing to cook or burn. Stir for just a minute or two more, until all the veggies are coated with the roux. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Add the chicken broth, spices, chicken, sausage, shrimp and clams. Let the pot simmer for a few hours, occasionally skimming off any excess fat or grease as the meats cook.
You’re pretty much done at this point. Once the gumbo is ready, serve and enjoy. The gumbo can be served over a nice piece of sourdough bread (or bread bowl), or over rice if you prefer. And of course, with a nice IPA.
And if you bring this to a Super Bowl party, you’ll be the hit of the party. Trust me!
Enjoy the big game, no matter who you’re rooting for, or what your level of interest is. If nothing else you'll have an awesome meal to enjoy!