If you think about Louisiana cooking, gumbo is the most famous and, most likely, the most popular. Gumbo crosses every economic barrier as it appears on the tables of the very poor as well as the wealthy. The ingredients may very from cook to cook, and regional influences however a warm bowl of this fragrant gumbo is generally considered a birth right of every Louisianan.
The gumbo that most people are familiar with are a seafood gumbo, chicken and sausage gumbo. However, this only scratches the surface of varieties that gumbo can posses.
What is New Orleans? New Orleans is Creole gumbo, filé gumbo, cowan gumbo, chicken gumbo, smoked sausage gumbo, hot sausage gumbo, onion gumbo. – Kermit Ruffings, New Olreans vocalist and trumpeter
Traditionally, there are two types of gumbo and they are divided into two large categories. Those thickened with okra and those thickened with filé. These were developed well before the invention of refrigeration and freezers, okra is the preferred thickening agent for the gumbo, and filé was a substitute when okra was out of season.
This recipe makes a ton of gumbo. It is excellent to break down and refrigerate two days ahead. You need to stop at step one, and then cool the recipe. When you are ready to re-heat bring up to temperature slowly and then continue to with step 2.
If the size of the recipe is daunting, cut the recipe in half for 8 servings. However, trust me you will eat 3 or 4 servings yourself.
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 6 Large onions (chopped (about 12 cups))
- 6 red bell peppers (seeded, chopped (about 7 cups))
- 8 celery stalks (chopped (about 3 cups))
- 16 Cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme
- 6 bay leaves
- 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes with juice
- 4 8 oz bottles clam juice
- 4 Cups low-salt chicken broth
- 4 Lbs andouille sausage (cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices)
- 3 Lbs chicken thighs (skinless boneless, cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 2 16 oz frozen okra (packages, sliced, frozen)
- 4 Lbs peeled deveined medium shrimp
- minced fresh Italian parsley
- steamed rice
- In a heavy 13-quart pot heat your oil over medium-high heat until it's very hot and almost smoking. Add the flour and stir constantly until the mixture is a dark reddish brown, this will take about 5 minutes. Add the chopped onions, chopped bell peppers, and chopped celery and cook until onions and soft and brown, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cayenne and then stir 2 minutes. Add your wine, thyme, and bay leaves; bring to a boil, stir occasionally. Add tomatoes with juice, clam juice, broth, sausage, and chicken; simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15-minutes. Add the okra and allow to simmer until tender, this will take an additional 10 minutes.
- Add shrimp to pot and cook until the shrimp is just opaque in the center, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Season the gumbo to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with minced parsley, and serve with steamed rice alongside.