Gumbo is a warm and comforting food during the cold days of January. Of course, I, like so many others, indulged a bit during the weeks between Thanksgiving and…well…now, and I’m ready for a little detox. So I’m making this rich gumbo a bit healthier than your average and maybe a bit more delicious too.
This recipe started with a visit to Nola Cuisine. The gumbo posted there is delish. I made it a little healthier by cutting back on the fat and salt. I also crafted my own Creole Seasoning using a little more of what I love and cutting out some of what I don’t.
On the subject of spice…this is hard to quantify because it is quite subjective. The amount of spice can also vary depending on the spice in your andouille sausage. You’re going to have to use your judgement based on your audience. When I modified the recipe, I cut back on the spice by about a third. To my palate, my gumbo is spicy, but not too spicy. Still, you will need a beverage while you eat it, preferably something a little sweet like beer or soda. If you are particularly spice sensitive, you may want to cut back on the cayenne or even leave it out. Even without the cayenne, the gumbo is still spicy. However, if you like your gumbo really hot, you can add even more cayenne to your Creole Seasoning and/or spice it up with hot sauce when it is done. Be aware that the spice builds as it cooks. However, once the gumbo is fully cooked, it begins to mellow. This gumbo may be even better on the second or third day.
- 1/3 cup Creole Seasoning, divided (see below)
- 5 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup onions, diced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 1/3 cup vegetable 0il
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 9 oz. andouille sausage, skin removed and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 6 Cups cold Chicken Stock
- 3 tablespoons garlic, chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- hot sauce to taste
- kosher salt to taste, if necessary
- 2 tablespoons fresh italian parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
- Creole Boiled Rice
- Fresh French Bread
CREOLE SEASONING (makes 1/3 cup)
- 5 tablespoons paprika
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less or none depending on your spice tolerance)
- 2 teaspoons granulated onion
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
Makes about 6 servings.
Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the Creole Seasoning. Coat the chicken thighs in oil and use the rest of the Creole Seasoning (2-3 tablespoons) to coat the chicken thigh.
Bake the chicken thighs in a 350-400 degree oven until brown (about 20-25 minutes). BTW, these chicken thighs are fabulous just like that. If you don’t have time for gumbo, but want a delicious baked chicken, you can just eat the chicken with the rice.
Mix the onion, celery, and bell pepper together. This mixture is called “The Holy Trinity”.
Heat the oil in a dutch oven or heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue to cook, stirring or whisking often until it is a milk chocolate color. This takes about 15-20 minutes. SAFETY TIP: Do not, under any circumstances, touch the roux. It looks innocent because it isn’t simmering or boiling, but it will burn you in a nanosecond. You’ve been warned.
Add the andouille sausage (I used chicken andouille today because I’m being all “healthy”), 1 tablespoon of the creole seasoning, and 1 1/2 cups of the Holy Trinity.
Cook, stirring often, for about ten minutes or until the vegetables soften.
Add the cold stock, the remaining 1/2 cup of The Trinity, the remaining 2 tablespoons of Creole Seasoning, garlic and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then down to a simmer. Add the baked thighs and let it simmer for 2+ hours, stirring occasionally.
About 10-15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, break up the chicken with the back of a spoon. Add the worcestershire sauce and 1/2 of the green onions. Add additional salt, if needed (My gumbo didn’t need it).
Serve with Creole Boiled Rice and/or Crusty French Bread.
Garnish with green onions, fresh Italian parsley and hot sauce (to taste).
Yum Yum Yummmm. I do love gumbo!