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Gumbo Ya Ya

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Serves eight as a main course or twelve as an appetizer.

Bone-in chicken gives the stew more flavor; the meat becomes so tender that it falls from the bone. If, however, you don’t feel like fishing out the bones later, you can use the same amount of boneless thighs; they will likely take less time to cook, so check for tenderness sooner.

  • 3 Tbs. plus 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2-1/2 lb. skinless chicken thighs, preferably bone-in
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium bunch celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 large onions, diced
  • 4 green or red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne or 5 fresh cayenne peppers, diced
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 3/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8 cups homemade or lower-salt chicken broth or water
  • 1-1/2 lb. andouille sausage or other spicy smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 Tbs. filé powder
  • 6 cups cooked white rice
  • Chopped scallions for garnish
  • Tabasco or other Louisiana-style hot sauce

In a heavy-based soup pot, heat 3 Tbs. of the oil over high heat until almost smoking. While the oil is heating, season the chicken generously with salt and pepper, dust it with 1/4 cup of the flour, and shake off the excess. Sear the chicken in the hot oil until golden brown, turning once to brown both sides, 4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Let the oil reheat for a minute and then reduce the heat to medium high and add the celery, onions, and peppers and cook until soft, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching. Remove the vegetables and any liquid from the pan and set aside. Add 3/4 cup oil to the pot and let it heat up for a minute over medium heat. Slowly add the remaining flour to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is the color of chocolate, 10 to 20 minutes. Stir carefully, being sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot to prevent scorching. Pay attention not to burn the roux; if you do burn it, you’ll have to start over.

When the roux has reached a good mahogany brown, return the cooked vegetables to the pot, along with the garlic, cayenne, oregano, basil, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to scrape the bottom of the pot and cook until well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Slowly add the broth while stirring until smoothly blended. Add the chicken and the sausage. Bring to a simmer and skim off excess fat. Simmer uncovered, skimming any foam or fat that rises to the surface, until the chicken meat is so tender that it falls easily from the bones, about 2 hours (begin checking earlier). Remove the bones from the pot and discard.

Return the soup to a boil and stir in the filé powder, stirring vigorously to avoid clumping, until the filé powder is dissolved. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as necessary. Serve the gumbo in bowls over the cooked white rice with chopped scallions and Tabasco to taste.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : main course serving; Calories (kcal): 910; Fat (g): 47; Fat Calories (kcal): 420; Saturated Fat (g): 11; Protein (g): 35; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17; Carbohydrates (g): 83; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 15; Sodium (mg): 1020; Cholesterol (mg): 95; Fiber (g): 4;

Photo: Brian Hagiwara

Very good and surprisingly easy. The Roux is the biggest part of the effort in this recipe and just takes a close eye and lots of stirring. I plan to make this for a party for approx 40pp. Update: I made for the party and it was a huge hit.

This is excellent. Great to make ahead and reheat. As others have mentioned the Roux takes time and care, but the overall effect is great. My only issue is the amount of oil in this, but it does make alot!

Super Delicious! I cut the recipe in half and it served 4 (although 3 had seconds). It is a little time consuming because of the roux, but well worth it! I used chicken on the bone and it was very flavorful. Also, I don't know what file powder is and so I just left it out and it didn't seem to make a difference. Will definitely make it again.

Amazing dish. After trying numerous Gumbo recipes this is the favorite. In fact when I try a new dish that my husband does not care for he always says "It's OK, but I really like your gumbo." Makes a huge pot. Recommend cutting the recipe in half.

Very tasty. I cut the recipe in half and still got a full pot. Hardly needed much salt because it was saltly enough after the addition of the sausages. I did not sprinkle the chicken with salt so generously before cooking and it turned out just fine. And I used homemade chicken stock, which had very little salt. Would make it again.

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