Some foods just seem better during cold weather. All it takes is one cool breeze and that indicates it’s gumbo weather at our house. Thursday I smoked a chicken to make gumbo so last night I started it. It’s one of those foods that seems better the next day so it simmered for a while last night and will simmer a while today before we have it for dinner.
Here’s how I make my gumbo and I’ll be the first to admit that I like lots of people’s gumbo better than I like my own but I think you kinda develop your own skill at making gumbo and no matter what I do differently, mine stays the same. Chad and Vince love it! They almost love it too much because I can see Vince glancing at Chad’s bowl to make sure he isn’t getting too much and I have seen Chad scoop out a bit and put in a container to store in the fridge downstairs just to guarantee he gets his share of it.
It’s so easy to make! If you’ve never tried it . . please try it if you think you might like it.
For chicken gumbo, start with a chicken. (Sounds pretty easy so far, right?) You can boil the chicken or smoke it or grill it or whatever. Some people even put whole, raw chicken pieces in their gumbo. I don’t do that.
In a separate pot — the one you’re going to use for your gumbo, make your roux. Roux is simply browned flour. Creole cooks generally make their roux lighter than do cajun cooks. I’ve heard that a roux should be equal parts fat (oil, shortening) and flour. I don’t measure so I can’t say if that’s what you want or not.
Start maybe with 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup flour. Over medium heat, begin browning the flour. Stir constantly because you do not want it to burn and it will burn very quickly if you’re not careful. If ever you make gumbo and find it too then, you can always make a little batch of roux in a separate pot, dump it into the gumbo pot and let it continue simmer til everything blends together and the gumbo thickens.
Keep stirring and you may need to turn down the heat just a bit to keep it from burning.
This is about the color I’m happy with. Once you get to the color you want, add the vegetables. I add:
Chopped onion. That’s one whole large onion. Add as much or as little as you want.
Green peppers. I buy these when they’re on sale, chop them, store them in FoodSaver bags in the freezer.
Some garlic. I used about 2 tablespoons.
Some people add in celery but I do not. Saute the veggies til they’re pretty clear. They’re going to get mushy during the cooking process and will probably just disappear but the flavor will be there.
Add your meats.
Shredded smoked chicken. If I don’t have a smoked chicken, I add either meat from a boiled chicken or sometimes, if you happen by the deli in the grocery store just right, they’ll have rotisserie chickens marked down. Grab a couple of those, debone them, put the meat in the freezer for when you need it. That would work for gumbo.
Sausage. I slice the sausage and brown it in a separate pot because sometimes it’s real greasy. This is venison sausage, thanks to my niece’s husband.
Add some water, a bay leaf or two, salt and pepper and let simmer uncovered for at least several hours. Add less salt than you think you’ll need. You will taste test before serving and can adjust salt and pepper then. I simmered til time to turn it off and let it cool down before putting it in the fridge overnight. Today I’ll simmer it some more, add the last of the magic ingredients and this is dinner for tonight!