Chicken, Seafood, and Sausage Gumbo

You don't make a pot of gumbo for yourself--you make tomato soup or chicken noodle soup for yourself. According to Paul Prudhomme, gumbo is "a taste, a feeling, a party." And who would know better? A Sunday night dish you make for family and friends. There is something inherently celebratory about gumbo. The expensive seafood, the precision of browning the roux to just the right pecan color, and the task of finely chopping the onion, pepper, and celery all combine to make gumbo perfect for special occasions.

When I started making gumbo years ago, I went straight to Prudhomme's cookbook. Some 20 years later, I still see no reason to try any other recipe. Here’s a version of Paul Prudhomme’s seafood and chicken gumbo that I lightened up a bit. Every batch I make comes with its own set of improvisations, depending on what’s on hand, what’s in my pocketbook, and who’s eating it. This variation uses leftover crab and shrimp, chicken thighs, and some andouille sausage. I made a quick chicken stock after browning the chicken thighs and rendering all the yummy fat from the skin to use in the roux. I served this batch to my kids, their friends and my neighbors. I loved watching them lap it up—indeed, it was a party.
By / Photography By Mark Boughton | October 10, 2015

Preparation

The joy of gumbo is that it welcomes most any ingredient. You can use premade chicken broth, or make a quick stock with the chicken that you use for the gumbo (as I did here), or use half chicken and half shrimp stock. Serve over rice for a hearty one-dish meal.

  1. Combine ingredients for seasoning mix.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven. Add chicken. Saute until browned on both sides. Remove chicken from pan to a large saucepan. Add 8 cups water to cover chicken, and simmer 1 hour. Drain, reserve stock and bone chicken, reserving meat.
  3. Add sausage to reserved drippings in the Dutch oven, and sauté until browned and almost done. Remove sausage.
  4. Add flour ¼ cup at a time to Dutch oven drippings stirring until smooth. Cook roux until browned and a deep caramel color, about 5-6 minutes. Add onion, pepper, celery, parsley, and 2 tablespoons seasoning mix. Whisk well and cook 10 minutes.
  5. Add stock to dutch oven, whisking well and cook 20 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken, sausage, and seafood and cook 10 minutes

Ingredients

Seasoning Mix
  • 1 ½ teaspoons each salt, paprika, thyme leaves, garlic powder,
  • ¾ teaspoons each ground cumin, white pepper, and onion powder
Gumbo
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 chicken quarter (or 2 chicken thighs)
  • 8 cups water (or 8 cups chicken stock)
  • 8 ounces ground sausage
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 ½ cups chopped red or green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 pound crab meat and shrimp (total)
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