Lagniappe: Filé Gumbo

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Laissez les bon temps rouler!  It’s Mardi Gras today, and to celebrate we’re offering up our favorite rendition of Chicken and Sausage Filé Gumbo.   We blogged last week about comfort foods.  For a Louisianan, gumbo is clearly comfort food.  You can read more about that in this beautifully done Saveur article.

After almost 2 years of blogging, it’s kind of shocking that we haven’t posted this recipe before, especially since we lived in Louisiana for 27 years.  However, gumbo is more labor intensive than what we generally like to cook.

We hosted our first BigLittleMeals Dining In party on Friday – a food tribute to New Orleans.  We want to practice – not just preach – what we write about, so we’re planning a series of dinner parties – sort of old-fashioned pot lucks, except we’re afraid the word “pot” has been compromised, so we’re calling them “dining ins” (see our blog on that subject).

I believed my thoughts about “pot” lucks to be so original and clever – that is until I read that Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg had a TV show called Potluck Dinner Parties – with episodes such as “Putting the Pot in Potluck” and with Snoop being high on every show.  Now Martha is exploring the possibility of some cannabis-related programs and sales.  Guess I need to watch more TV.  Or do some recipes with “weed edibles!” 🙂

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For our Mardi Gras-themed party our fabulous guests brought shrimp dip, chopped Italian salad (FKA Wop Salad), and bread pudding with bourbon sauce.  I made the gumbo and cornbread.  And we served Abita Springs (LA) beer.  Y’all really need to try this.  Have a dinner party!

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Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

This is adapted from the wonderful The New Orleans Cookbook by Rima and Richard Collin, 1978.

  • 1 lb smoked andouille sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick (another sausage such as Kielbasa will work – but the flavor won’t be the same)
  • 1/2 lb baked ham, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 3-4 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or 1 thigh for each person you’re serving)
  • 2 c chopped onion
  • 1 c chopped green pepper
  • 1 c chopped celery
  • 1/2 c thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 T minced parsley
  • 1 T finely minced garlic

roux:

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup flour

seasonings/liquid:

  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1-3 tsp salt  (because the saltiness of ham and sausage varies so much, I would go light on the salt (1 tsp) until the gumbo has cooked for the hour – and then add additional salt to taste)
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3 whole bay leaves
  • 2 to 3 T file powder

Heat the oil over high heat. Add chicken and brown evenly. Remove from the pan. Make the roux by adding the flour to the oil in the pot, stirring constantly over low heat until the color is milk chocolate brown.  Expect that to take 15-20 minutes.

When the roux reaches the right color, quickly add the onion, green pepper, celery, green onions, parsley and garlic. Continue cooking over low heat for 10 minutes more, stirring constantly.

Add 1 cup of the chicken broth, stir, and bring the mixture back to a simmer; add the browned chicken and all of the seasonings except the file powder and mix gently but thoroughly. Keeping the heat at low, gradually add the rest of the broth and bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring gently. When it boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 1 hour or until the chicken is quite tender. Remove the pot from the stove and remove the chicken from the pot. Cool and then de-bone and shred the chicken.  Add the cooked chicken back into the pot.

At this point you can let the gumbo rest until the fat comes to the top and then skim it off – or you can refrigerate the gumbo to serve the next day.  By then the fat will have congealed and can be easily removed.  Plus, the flavors blend after a day or so, resulting in an even more delicious gumbo.

When you’re ready to serve the gumbo, bring back it to a simmer, add the file powder and stir. Turn off the heat and let the gumbo stand in the pot for about 5 minutes, then serve over boiled long grain rice.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

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