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Chicken-Andouille Filé Gumbo

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Serves eight to ten.

Yields about 4 quarts.

  • To learn more, read:
    Get Your Gumbo On
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 90

Do not add filé powder to the entire pot of gumbo. If gumbo is reheated with filé powder in it, the filé will become stringy and unpleasant.

  • 1 lb. andouille sausage or other spicy smoked pork sausage, sliced in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/3-inch-thick half-moon slices
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • One 3- to 4-lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 quarts low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (dark- and light-green parts only)
  • Louisiana-style hot sauce, to taste
  • 1/4 cup hot cooked white rice per serving
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. filé powder per serving
Prepare the sausage and chicken:

Heat a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the andouille and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup water to the skillet and immediately scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to release any cooked-on bits. Reserve this liquid.

Heat the oil in a 7- to 8-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and sauté the chicken in two batches until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage.

Make the roux:

Add the flour to the oil remaining in the Dutch oven and stir constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula over medium-high heat until the roux reaches the color of caramel, 4 to 8 minutes. Add the onion and stir until the roux deepens to a chocolate-brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the celery, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, 1 quart of water, the liquid reserved from the sausage pan, and the sausage, chicken, bay leaves, and thyme.

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the chicken is falling off the bone, about 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. If you like, skim the fat from the surface of the gumbo with a large shallow spoon.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, pull the chicken meat into bite-size pieces, and return the meat to the gumbo. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary (you may find that the sausage and broth provided enough seasoning).

Serve the gumbo:

Five minutes before serving, add the scallions and hot sauce to taste. Serve in large soup bowls over 1/4 cup cooked rice per serving. Sprinkle 1/2 to 1 tsp. of the filé powder on top of each bowl of gumbo and stir to thicken, or pass the filé at the table for everyone to add to taste.

Make Ahead Tips

Store gumbo in the refrigerator for up to three days and then reheat gently before serving. As with many stews and braises, gumbo tastes better the second day. You can also freeze it for up to eight months. Simply transfer to freezer-safe containers.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on 10 servings; Calories (kcal): 500; Fat (g): fat g 29; Fat Calories (kcal): 260; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 8; Protein (g): protein g 32; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 28; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 750; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 80; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is a wonderful recipe. I am have a husband who grew up in New Orleans and is never satisfied with New Orleans cooking outside of the Crescent City, but when I made this gumbo he loved it.

In mid-December I had a surplus of kielbasa to cook up, thanks to a generous friend, so I ended up tripling this recipe. I decided then that this would be our Christmas Eve dinner this year. The roux took a really long time - 30-40 minutes to achieve a dark brown coloring. I ended up with 12 quarts of gumbo, staying mostly true to the recipe, adding shrimp and chicken to fill it out. I was giving it away left and right. And everyone said it was some of the best gumbo they'd tasted! As it was to be reheated, I didn't add any file, and no one missed it!

I was disappointed in the lack of flavor in this gumbo; even after I doctored it up the best I could, it was bland. In addition, I never achieved the chocolate brown colored roux. I stirred for a very long time and followed the directions, however, the end product was different than the picture.

Great recipe; easy to make

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