Everybody in Louisiana has a gumbo recipe. I was deeply offended when Bon Appetit magazine did a profile on college tailgating using the LSU v. Ole Miss game from last year. Their gumbo recipe used carrots and oregano. That is horrifying.
The trinity is simple: onion, bell pepper, and celery. Carrots do not play a part in it. Neither does oregano.
Below is my recipe. I make it when the weather turns cool and keep making it through Mardi Gras. If you want a seafood gumbo, leave out the chicken and sausage. Do everything else in the recipe. Before adding the okra, add your uncooked seafood. It’ll cook in the gumbo and add a greater depth of flavor. When I make it with seafood, I use crab, shrimp, and crawfish.
I don’t add raw chicken and let it cook because it has a tendency to make foam.
This recipe is spicy, but you may want to add more cayenne (I usually do) after the gumbo has rested a few hours. The taste and heat will change. That is one reason I recommend never using a hot andouille. It will impact the heat over a few hours.
One final note: most gumbo recipes call for adding the raw trinity to the roux and cooking. I will do that often, but I find I can control both the darkness of the roux and the sweetness of the trinity if I do them separately and then add them together. The one downside is that you risk your gumbo having more oil than you’d like. You’ll have to skim it off the top after the gumbo has rested.
Erick Erickson’s Basic Gumbo
Prep Time: 0 hr 0 min | Cook Time: 0 minutes | Servings: 12 Servings
1 pk Andouille Sausage; Don’t use spicy andouille
2 tb Vegetable oil
1 md yellow onion; finely chopped
3 st Celery; finely chopped
1 lg Bell Pepper; finely chopped
4 Chicken Breasts
2 ts Minced Garlic; heaping
3 bo Beer
1 1/2 c Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 c All-purpose flour
3 Bay Leaves
1 tb Cayenne Pepper
1 tb Black Pepper
1 tb Thyme
1 tb Salt
1 tb Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning
64 oz Chicken Stock; Heat 32 oz in microwave to boiling
2 tb Vegetable Oil
2 c Frozen Okra; chopped
1 c Rice
2 c Water
1. Add chicken breasts to a pot of water and boil. Cut sausage into small slices and, working in batches lightly brown in large skillet, removing to drain on a paper towel.
2. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to sausage drippings. Then add onions. Stir till translucent. Add celery and bell pepper. Stir till tender.
3. Remove chicken from water after it is cooked and let cool.
4. Open first beer. Clean out the dutch oven the chicken boiled in. Dry well. Put chicken stock in microwave, heat it, then set beside the dutch oven. Set on medium heat and add 1 1/2 cup of oil. Coat the bottom of the dutch oven. Sprinkle in the flour. Begin drinking the beer.
Stir constantly with a whisk for 20 minutes. Continue throughout drinking beer. After second beer is consumed, check to see that the roux is the color of a copper penny. If not, proceed to third beer and keep whisking.
5. When roux is the color of a used copper penny, quickly whisk in garlic first, then the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Add seasonings, bay leaves, and sausage. Pour in 32 ounces of heated chicken stock stirring constantly. The roux may ball up, but it will dissolve if you keep stirring. Add in the remainder of the chicken stock and turn heat to high.
6. Remove chicken from its bones and chop to fine pieces. Add to gumbo. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer on low, stirring occasionally.
7. Heat skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil. Add okra. Heat until edges begin to brown, the stickiness is reduced, and seeds pop. Add to gumbo. Continue to simmer for one to two hours. Gumbo is tastier if cooled overnight in the fridge and reheated the next day.
8. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add 1 cup of rice, lightly salt, and cover for 20 minutes on low heat. Pour gumbo on top to eat.
9. Don’t eat the bay leaves.