Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Gumbo is one of the most quintessential dishes in Louisiana, with styles ranging from a more Cajun, dark roux gumbo to lighter, tomatoey style Creole gumbos. Everybody and their mama has a favorite style with their own recipe or variation! Growing up in the capital city of Baton Rouge, I got a taste of both styles, with influences from Lafayette to New Orleans and everywhere in between.

 
Gumbo

Now that I’m all grown up and living life in Lafayette (hey, Hub City!), I proudly make my gumbo from scratch, down to the roux (the darker, the better for gumbo!) and you won’t find a tomato in the gumbo pot, no matter how hard you look! Here in Cajun Country, folks take their gumbo seriously and there’s a real sense of pride in these recipes that have been passed down for generations.

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The most important step to this recipe (and a ton of other cajun classics) is the roux. To make a roux, you heat roughly equal parts oil (or butter) and flour over a medium/high heat, stirring constantly. The longer you stir, the darker the roux will become and there’s a good use for just about every color you reach (minus a burnt, black roux, of course!). It’s a pretty simple concept, but the process requires every bit of your attention from start to finish.

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There are a decent amount of options out there for people that aren’t interested in stirring the pot non-stop for a good 15-30 minutes. You can find everything from jarred and powdered roux to liquid “gumbo base”. Whatever method you turn to is up to you, but don’t be afraid to try out a roux from scratch. It isn’t necessarily a crucial step to a killer gumbo, but it definitely helps!

Gumbo

You can read the full step by step instructions down below, but another important step worth mentioning comes when you’re adding the broth. After the roux has browned and you’ve sautéed your veggies, you’re going to want to add that broth in very slowly! Add just a hefty splash a time, stirring it into the roux until it takes on more of a liquid consistency. At that point, you can add in a little more at a time. If you just dump all that liquid in (which I’ve done before, without even thinking!), the broth won’t have a chance to fully incorporate and you’ll end up with an oily, splotchy, separated base for your gumbo.

Gumbo

Making a gumbo from scratch may seem like an intimidating process, but don’t be afraid to get in there and give it a shot. If you burn a roux, you’re only losing out on some flour and oil, which isn’t a huge loss. Just toss it out and try, try again!

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (12 oz.) bag frozen okra or 3/4 lb. fresh okra, sliced
  • 1 (1.5 lb.) pack smoked pork sausage, cut into bite sized slices/chunks
  • 1.5 lbs. chicken breast
  • 6-8 cups low sodium or unsalted chicken broth
  • Salt, black pepper, garlic powder & cayenne pepper to taste

instructions:

  1. Cook chicken breasts through (to 165°F) and set aside. Once cooled, shred with a fork into smaller, bite sized pieces. Sauté sausage until browned, remove and set aside. 
  2. Start the roux by heating oil in a large stockpot over medium/high heat. Whisk in flour, stirring CONSTANTLY. Mixture will bubble/foam for a minute, then become a smooth consistency. Continue stirring with either a whisk or wooden spoon, without stopping. Once roux starts to darken to a caramel color, lower the heat to medium. It can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes for roux to reach a milk chocolate color. 
  3. As soon as the roux reaches that milk chocolate color, add in the onion, bell pepper and celery. This will stop the roux from darkening any more. Sauté for a couple minutes, add garlic and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  4. Continue stirring and SLOWLY add the broth, a splash at a time until the liquid starts to incorporate into the roux. Once it takes on more of a liquid consistency, you can add a little more at a time. Add a pinch of salt and some black pepper, garlic powder & cayenne pepper. The sausage will add a nice salty flavor, so avoid adding too much salt at this point. 
  5. Bring to a low simmer on medium/high heat for about 20 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to low. Add okra, green onions, chicken and sausage. Cook for at least another 10 minutes. Add any additional seasoning to taste. 
  7. Skim any excess oil from the top of the gumbo with a spoon or even a paper towel. 
  8. Serve hot over rice. 

NOTES:

Look for a smoked pork sausage. The smokiness of the sausage adds a great depth of flavor to the gumbo. 

Prep all ingredients before you start the cooking process. Have everything diced, sliced, measured and ready to go. Once you start the roux, you’ll have to stay over the pot, stirring constantly, so having everything ready to throw in the pot is a must! 

If the roux gets to a point where it turns black, smells burnt or has any black flecks in it, you’ll have to ditch it and start from scratch. The roux will be the base for the whole gumbo and a burnt roux makes for a bad gumbo! 

When adding the broth to the roux mixture, it’s really important to add slowly, just a hefty splash at a time. If you add the liquid too fast, your roux will separate and you’ll end up with a speckled, oily gumbo. 

Once the gumbo is done cooking, I like to turn off the heat, let it cool, then bring the heat back up before serving. Letting the gumbo cool will give the flavors a chance to really come together. Great make ahead recipe that tastes even better the next day! 

For a real Cajun gumbo, throw in some whole, peeled boiled eggs in the last 20 minutes of cooking (about 2 eggs per person) and eat with some potato salad on the side!
 

Hi, hungry friends! We’re Ashley & Sean, Louisiana natives with a big love of food! We’re a husband and wife dynamic duo who film & photograph people, places & food for a living. The Craft Chew is our food baby, inspired by our love of craft brews, tasty chews and a little nod to our furry pup, Chewy. Thanks for stopping by!