Absolutely delish gumbo

Published 12:43 am Saturday, October 25, 2014

It is that time of year when tailgating is the thing and people are putting forth their best gumbo. My October issues of “Food and Wine” and “Saveur” were full of gumbo articles so I decided to get in on the action.

Written memories of gumbo go back centuries, but no one knows when exactly it was born. Many theorize its origins might be the bouillabaisse made by early French settlers in Louisiana. And with Africans laboring in New Orleans’ Creole kitchens, it’s easy to see how okra made it into the mix, too. As far as roux goes, blond versions are often used as a base for French sauces and vegetables dishes. Some people surmise, that one fateful day, a cook might have burned his roux, then added it to the pot anyway, satisfying Louisianians’ desire for more intense flavors.

Cajuns, largely French Acadians, who were exiled to the bayou in the early 1700s for refusing to swear loyalty to the British crown, were forced to make their gumbos with whatever ingredients they could muster, while Creole versions, prepared in the cosmopolitan kitchens of New Orleans, with their mixture of European and African influences, were more refined.

South Louisiana and especially New Orleans have many good restaurants for gumbo. “Saveur” lists its favorite ones: Bread and Circus Provision in Lafayette, La,. Café Vermilionville in Lafayette, La., Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, Herbsaint in New Orleans, Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro in Lafayette, La., La Provence Restaurant in Lacombe, La., Li’l Dizzy’s Café in New Orleans, and Prejeans’s in Lafayette, La.

I was taken with the recipe given in ‘Saveur’ by Donald Link for his fried chicken and Andouille gumbo. His recipe used the oil he uses to fry the chicken to make the roux. I gave it a try and it was delicious. It did take a little more time to fry the chicken and he takes a long time to make his roux, but it was worth the effort. I gave some to my son in New Orleans and he thought it was delicious.

From October, 2014 issue of “Saveur” Magazine.

Fried Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Serves 6-8

1 ¼ cups plus 2 tbsp. canola oil

1 3 ½ -4lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces

2 ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt, to taste

2 cups flour

1 ½ tsp. dark chile powder

1 ½ tsp. filé powder

1 tsp. cayenne

1 tsp. ground white pepper

1 tsp. paprika

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 stalks celery, minced

1 green bell pepper, minced

1 jalapeño, minced

1 poblano, minced

1 yellow onion, minced

12 cups chicken stock

1 lb. Andouille, halved and sliced

12 oz. okra, trimmed and sliced 1/2’’ thick

Sliced scallions for garnish

Cooked white rice for serving

Heat 1 ¼ cups oil in an 8-quart Dutch oven until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350-degree. Season chicken with 1 tsp. black pepper and salt; toss with ½ cup of flour. Working in batches, fry chicken until golden; transfer to paper towels to drain.

Add remaining flour to skillet; whisk until smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, whisking until color of roux is dark chocolate, 1-1 ½ hours! Add remaining black pepper, the chile and filé powders, cayenne, white pepper, paprika, garlic, celery, bell pepper, jalapeño, poblano, and onion; cook until soft, 10-12 minutes. Add stock; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cook, stirring occasionally and skimming fat as needed, until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Add reserved chicken; cook until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Add Andouille; cook until chicken is falling off the bone, about 1 hour.

Using tongs, transfer chicken to a cutting board and let cool slightly; shred, discarding skin and bones, and return to pot. Heat remaining oil in a 12” skillet over medium-high. Cook okra until brown and slightly crisp, 8-10 minutes, then stir into gumbo; cook 15 minutes. Garnish with scallions; serve with rice.