You don’t make a pot of gumbo for yourself–you make tomato soup for yourself or chicken noodle soup. According to Paul Prudhomme, gumbo’s “a taste, a feeling, a party.” A Sunday night dish you make for family and friends. And who would know better? When I started making gumbo years ago, I went straight to Prudhomme’s cookbook. Some 20 years later, I still see no reason to try any other recipe.
Of course, each batch comes with it’s own set of improvs depending on what’s on hand, what’s in my pocketbook, and who’s eating it. This variation, which I think is my best, utilized leftover scalloped crab, a frozen chicken quarter, and some homemade sausage balls, from my country ham purveyor. I didn’t have any stock on hand, or clam juice, or shrimp (to make a quick shrimp stock from the shells) so I made a quick chicken stock after browning the chicken quarter and rendering all the yummy fat from the skin to use in the roux. And even though I’ve lightened Prudhomme’s version considerably, gumbo, in any iteration is not for the light hearted. There is something inherently celebratory about gumbo. Maybe it’s the expensive seafood in it, or the precision of browning the roux to a just the right pecan color or the task of finely chopping the onion, pepper and celery that makes it appropriate for special occasions. This pot got split between neighbors, friends, and the kids friends. I loved watching them lap it up–indeed it’s a party.
Chicken, Sausage and Seafood Gumbo
The joy of gumbo is that it welcomes most any ingredient. You can use premade chicken broth, or make a quick stock with the chicken that you use for the gumbo (as I did here), or use half chicken and half shrimp stock. Serve over rice for a hearty one-dish meal.
1 ½ teaspoons each, salt, paprika, thyme leaves, garlic powder, ground black pepper, dry mustard, and sugar
¾ teaspoons each ground cumin, white pepper, and onion powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 chicken quarter (or 2 chicken thighs)
8 cups water (or 8 cups chicken stock)
8 ounces ground sausage
2/3 cup flour
2 cups chopped onion
1 ½ cups chopped red or green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped parsley
1 pound crab meat and shrimp (total)
- Combine ingredients for seasoning mix. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven. Add chicken. Saute until browned on both sides. Remove chicken from pan to a large saucepan. Add 8 cups water to cover chicken, and simmer 1 hour. Drain, reserve stock and bone chicken, reserving meat.
- Add sausage to reserved drippings, and sauté until browned and almost done. Remove sausage.
- Add flour ¼ cup at a time to Dutch oven stirring until smooth. Cook roux until browned and a deep caramel color, about 5-6 minutes. Add onion, pepper, celery, parsley, and 2 tablespoons seasoning mix. Whisk well and cook 10 minutes.
- Add stock to dutch oven, whisking well and cook 20 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken, sausage and seafood and cook 10 minutes.