It's almost fall, and football season has arrived. In our home, that means it's time for some of my favorite comfort foods! I've been making gumbo for years, and I have modified the recipe over time. I made this last night for our family at my oldest son's request, and my husband (who is a well-traveled and discerning foodie) said, "No restaurant in Austin makes gumbo this good. This is amazing!" Color me impressed! That is high praise, and I was thrilled. Here's my recipe...ENJOY!
|Forgive the contrast - my phone had a filter turned on and makes the okra look burned.|
2 T bacon fat + enough vegetable oil to make 1 Cup
1 C flour
1½ C chopped onions
1 C chopped celery
1 C chopped bell peppers
1½ t salt
¼ t cayenne
3 bay leaves
4 C low sodium chicken broth
2 T chopped fresh parsley
½ C chopped green onions
1 T filé powder
1 lb. chicken thighs, skin removed
1 lb. smoked sausage (andouille or kielbasa) cut crosswise into ½ inch slices.
Bacon grease for frying okra
Rustic Rub: 4 t paprika, 1½ t cayenne, 2½ t ground black pepper, 3 t garlic powder, 1½ t onion powder, 3 t salt, 1¼ t oregano, 1¼ t thyme
Combine the bacon fat, oil and flour in a large cast iron or enameled cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate. Be careful not to burn the roux. (Note that toward the end, you may want to turn the heat down to low, because the Dutch oven retains the heat and continues to cook the roux.) Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and continue to stir for 4-5 minutes, or until wilted. Add the sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Continue to stir for 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken broth and 1 T Rustic Rub. Stir until the roux mixture and broth are well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
Slice fresh okra into even slices. Just before you are ready to serve, fry okra in bacon grease until crispy. Set aside on paper towels.
Season the chicken with the Rustic Rub and add to the pot. Simmer for 2 hours. Skim of any fat that rises to the surface. Remove from the heat. Remove bones from chicken and shred as desired. Stir in filé powder. Garnish with the parsley, green onions, and okra. Remove the bay leaves, and serve in deep bowls. Serve with rice, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce as desired.