one pot wonder – gumbo by Besh

In a week dedicated to paring down, cleaning up, and getting out from being under (and over) the weather, everything about a good bowl of soup sounded fittingly restorative. We could make use of pantry supplies while using up our frozen stock. Everything could be thrown into a single pot and mostly left on its own to bubble and blend.

In other words, we wanted a lot with little effort.

An aha occurred as we ccught a recent episode of Top Chef, currently set in New Orleans. Gumbo. Yes, there’s a bit of prep involved (okay, and a roux) but the result would be cheering and get us through resolutions and the polar vortex. And who better to ask for a recipe than Chef Blue Eyes, NOLA champion John Besh? His chicken and sausage gumbo promises Southern comfort in a bowl. Hit the pantry and make groceries stat, in time to enjoy while watching this afternoon’s playoff game. Who dat?

recipe after the jump…

Drew's Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo from My New Orleans
recipe type: entree / soup
cuisine: New Orleans
serves: 10-12
There are many different ways to make a gumbo, but this is a systematic method that helps me consistently achieve a dark deep gumbo every time. As for the fats in a roux, just about anything works. I love rendered duck fat, chicken fat or lard, but canola oil works nearly as well. Always serve hot with Louisiana rice and at times potato salad on the side.
  • 1 cups chicken fat or canola oil
  • 1 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 large onion, diced
  • 1 large hen cut into 12 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Creole Spices *
  • 2 pounds spicy smoked sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs thyme, picked
  • 5 quarts Basic Chicken Stock **
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ pound andouille sausage, diced large
  • 2 cups fresh sliced okra
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt, pepper, File’ powder and Tabasco to taste
  1. First you make a roux, by browning the flour in chicken fat over medium high heat in a heavy soup pot while stirring frequently. As the roux begins to brown lower heat to medium and continue to stir, until it is a deep mahogany brown.
  2. At this point add in the onions and continue to stir until they are a deep dark chocolate color; lower the heat to medium low.
  3. Season the hen parts and pieces with creole seasoning and add them to the hot roux.
  4. Once the hen has been seared add the sliced smoked sausage and stir for thirty seconds before adding the celery, bell peppers, tomato and garlic.
  5. Raise the heat to a medium high flame and stir for another 3 minutes or so before adding the thyme, stock and bay leaves.
  6. Bring the gumbo to a boil while stirring occationally and reduce the flame to medium low again and allow to simmer for 45 minutes while skimming the fats from the surface every 15 minutes or so.
  7. Add the andouille, okra and Worcestershire sauce, season to taste and simmer for an additional 45 minutes while continuing to skim the fats from the surface before serving.

* Creole Spice
2 tablespoons celery salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon course sea salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Blend all of these spices together and store covered in a dry place.

** Basic Chicken Stock
¼ cup canola oil
1 onion coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery coarsely chopped
1 carrot peeled and coarsely chopped
1 leek white part only coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic crushed
1 pound roasted chicken bones and carcass
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Heat the canola oil in a large pot over moderate heat. Cook the onions, celery, carrots, leeks, and garlic, stirring often, until they are soft but not brown, about 3 minutes.
Add the chicken bones and carcass, the bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, and 3 quarts water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the surface, until the stock has reduced by half, about 2 hours.
Strain through a fine sieve into a container with a cover. Allow the stock to cool, cover and refrigerate, then skim off the fat. Freeze the stock in small batches to use later.

seafood gumbo from Chef John Besh's Family Table program

seafood gumbo from Chef John Besh’s Family Table program

for this variation, follow the same steps as above but use the these ingredients:

Sefood Gumbo
Serves 10

1 cup canola oil
1 cup all purpose flour
2 large onion, diced
6 jumbo blue crabs cut into 4 pieces each
1 pound spicy smoked sausage links, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 sprig thyme, picked
5 quarts Basic Shellfish Stock ***
2 bay leaves
1 21/25 count shrimp
1 cup oysters, shucked
1 cup crab meat
1 cup green onions minced
1 cups fresh sliced okra2
Tablespoons Creole Spices *
Salt, pepper and Tabasco, Worcestershire sauces to taste

Basic Fish Stock (see Chicken Stock recipe above **)
Substitute 1 pound fish heads and bones for the chicken bones and carcass.

reprinted with permission, My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh, 2009 


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We host parties pairing culture with cocktails & canapés while collaborating with quality makers. goods • get togethers • getaways