CHICKEN (*USE 1 OF THE 4 OPTIONS BELOW)
*1 medium whole chicken, cut up (or)
*4 boneles, skinless chicken thighs (or)
*6-8 boneless, skinless chicken tenders (or)
*3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
olive oil, extra virgin
1 c all pupose flour
1 large onion, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 heaping Tbsp garlic, minced
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1-3 bay leaves, depending on size
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or) 1 tbsp dried parsley
1 can(s) diced tomatoes with juice (optional)
1/2 lb andouille sausage, sliced
1/2 lb smoked sausage, sliced
4 c chicken broth
1/3 c green onions, sliced for garnish
fresh chopped parsley for garnish
1. In a 6-quart pot, heat enough oil to coat the bottom of pan and fry chicken, in batches, until it is nicely brown. Remove chicken and set aside. When cool enough to work with remove skin and bones and cut or tear chicken into pieces. Freeze skin and bones for future chicken stock or discard. Depending on if you used skin on or skinless chicken you may have more fat than you need. Make sure there is no water remaining in fat by cooking it down over medium-low heat to reduce mixture to just chicken fat/oil. Reserve 3/4 cup of fat for the roux and save the extra fat in a container and freeze for later use. *TIP: You can use the extra fat to make a roux then store in the fridge for later use.
2. Cut the sausage into 1/4 inch rounds or 1/4 inch half moons and simmer them in water for about 10 minutes to render off some of the fat. If desired you can brown it in a skillet and discard the grease. Set aside until later.
3. To make the roux, on medium or medium-low heat, whisk in flour a little at a time to the reserved fat until a medium paste is formed. If more fat, or flour, is needed add it sparingly because you want a very thick, but not chalky paste. Stir constantly until roux is the color of peanut butter. As you stir it the fat will start to rise to the surface and get thinner and the flour will start to get thick. Watch closely and stir very frequently because a roux is easily burned! If it looks like it’s browning pretty fast, turn the heat down. You want to cook, not burn, the roux. If you think it’s burned, has black specks, or it smells burned, throw it out! Better to start over than ruin the whole gumbo.
4. Add all of the vegetables EXCEPT the garlic to browned roux and over low heat let them sweat until soft. This will cause the roux to seize up, but it’s supposed to do that, and it will keep the roux from cooking much further but the vegetables will soften. Be careful not to burn the vegetables so continue to stir frequently.
5. Add the chicken broth and stir roux into a smooth sauce. Add garlic, bay leaf, green onions, parsley, and optional tomatoes. Taste and add salt and peppers as necessary. Reduce heat and simmer on low heat for 1 – 2 hours. If more liquid is needed just add more broth or water. Stir occasionally to keep roux from sticking to the bottom of pot and burning. ***See Note Below!
6. Bring sauce back to a low boil then add sausage and chicken about 30 minutes before serving; stir gently. If you add the chicken too soon it will just fall apart. Remove from heat and serve over white rice with crusty french bread. Garnish with a few thinly sliced green onions and fresh chopped parsley. Enjoy!
7. ***Note: At this point you can remove from the heat, let cool and put in refrigerator until you’re ready to finish. When you remove it from the fridge, skim all the solid fat that has floated to the top. COOKS TIPS: You can substitute chicken for quail, rabbit, squirrel, duck or alligator! Leftovers are delicious after freezing (without the rice). Many brands of andouille are very spicy and/or strongly flavored. If you prefer a milder brand of andouille, try Mandas or just use your favorite smoked sausage. If you prefer fresh venison or pork sausage, brown it off after the chicken is removed from pot and set aside for adding later.