i make chicken and sausage gumbo often. like, probably at least once every two weeks during the cold months and then even sometimes when its sunny. depending on who you talk to and what articles you read, you'll get different answers on what makes a gumbo authentic. my three big ones are:
1. a dark roux- i mean dark. so dark. like chocolate colored dark. like it should take you almost an hour to make it dark.
2. the(cajun)holy trinity...celery, bell pepper, and onion
3. good seasoning/spice
i see a lot of and have tasted many recipes for gumbo that have okra and tomoatoes in them. i don't use either because i cook for the pickiest eater in the world, but even if i didn't i still wouldn't use okra. i don't think it has a place in any type of gumbo.
also, i love love LOVE seafood gumbo. i never get to make it, though, because have i mentioned that i cook for a picky eater.. maybe one day i'll get a chance to make it again and i shall tell you all about it.
alright, let's do this. we need:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup ap flour, plus 1 Tbs
1 onion, medium dice
3 large stalks celery, medium dice
1 large bell pepper, medium dice
2 tsp Tony Chachere's or other cajun spice (including but not limited to: salt, cayenne, garlic&onion powder...)
2 quarts chicken stock (sometimes i use one box of broth, plus equal amount of water)
4 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)..i guess breasts are acceptable but they have to be bone in, skin on
1 lb sausage (andouille is ideal but not always easy to find)
1 tsp file powder, plus additional for serving
steamed rice for serving
chopped green onions for serving
hot sauce for serving
Melt your butter on very low heat while you dice your veggies.
Now dump the flour into butter and whisk until smooth. Crank up the heat a bit to medium low and whisk constantly for 30 minutes, not allowing the roux to remain un-whisked for longer than 30 sec-1 min at a time. This is actually more important when it starts getting really dark, so it doesn't burn. During the first 15 minutes or so, you can leave it alone for a minute or so at a time. (I've bookmarked this recipe over at Homesick Texan for a way less time consuming roux, but just can't seem to get around to making it. Old habits, ya know? Regardless, the final product/color looks like hers.) So anyway, after about 30 minutes, you should have a peanut butter colored roux. Guess what? Keep whisking. Do this until its a deep chocolate color (yes, i know this is super fussy).
Then dump in your veggies, this will soften them and also stop the roux from cooking. Stir the veg around for a minute, dump in the cajun spice and cook for another minute or so.
Now dump in all the stock/broth/water, and whisk to dissolve all the roux that's floating around.
Add your chicken and bring to a simmer. Let it roll for about an hour or until chicken is cooked through.
While its simmering away, slice your sausage into rounds, and if it is uncooked (or if you just want to add some more color and flavor to it) brown it off in another pan. Drain it and set aside.
Pull out the chicken, leaving the gumbo simmering, and when its cool enough to handle pick all the meat off the bone. Toss it back into the pot with the sausage.
Turn down the heat, just to keep the gumbo warm. Add the file and stir just before serving.
Serve over rice and garnish with green onions. Additional file and hot sauce can be added as desired.