Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo!

Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

Here it is, my very first Daring Cooks challenge: Gumbo!!

Even though they give us an entire month to cook up the new challenge, I procrastinated.  I procrastinated hard. 

So why did I put it off until the very last free night before ‘posting day’?
It wasn’t because it seemed like a lot of work, I enjoy that part.
It wasn’t because it was a brand new dish, because that is why I joined in the first place.
But it was rather because I was afraid that I just wouldn’t like it.

Weird, right?  I mean, I love veggies, chicken, sausage, and soup, so why wouldn’t I be all over this? I think it was because of a couple factors that struck me right at the beginning.

1. It said to chop up an entire chicken into 10 pieces. I have never attacked the whole chicken before, and the thought of little bone shards in my gumbo terrified me
2. They kept the skin on their chicken in the original recipe. Ugh, I could not come to terms with adding that much… well, that much grease to my dish
3. The chicken was placed in the gumbo with the bones attached to the meat. Bones in my soup? Weird, right? And kinda grody too

But I decided to suck it up. With the amazing reviews this recipe was getting from other participants, I knew I had to get over it and get cookin’!

Instead of attacking an entire chicken and making enough gumbo to feed the whole neighborhood, I decided to halve the recipe and just bought a few chicken legs, thighs, and breasts to throw into the gumbo. I cut all of the skin off of the thighs and legs (I just couldn’t add it with the skin!) and cut the chicken breasts in half to get more uniform pieces.  I then seasoned the chicken with my home-made Creole spice (side note: This stuff is fabulous! I plan on using it to BBQ throughout the summer) and threw any extra chicken in with some seasoning and froze it for later.

I added the legs and thighs as-is (well, skinless, but with the bones) as per the original instructions.  It actually worked out really well! The chicken becomes so tender that it falls right off of the bones!  Whew.

I made this on Monday night, but didn’t whip up any rice until Tuesday night.  As a result, my first bowl was rice-less and I can definitely see the need for rice in the dish.  Don’t get me wrong as it is wonderfully delicious by itself, but the addition of rice makes it a full and fantastic meal!

Would I make this again? Definitely!  It was extremely tasty, and very filling.  It reminded me of a stew or another fall/winter meal though, so I probably won’t try it again until the weather cools off.  We are finally breaking 20 degrees (Celsius) here, so BBQ and fresh salads just seem more appropriate :)

Here is the halved recipe, it made enough for about 6 - 8 full bowls!

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • about 2 lbs chicken  (thighs, legs, breast)
  • 1 tbsp Basic Creole Spices (recipe below if you want to make it yourself)
  • 1 lb smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • sprinkle of thyme (or 1 sprig), approx 1/4 tsp
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 ounces Mundare sausage, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • 3 cups of cooked rice (to serve it with)
  1. Prepare the Basic Creole Spices (if you want to make it yourself)
  2. Season the chicken with about 1 tbsp of the Creole spices and set aside
  3. Slice and dice everything before beginning to make the roux. You will have to watch the roux very carefully so it makes the dish much easier to make if everything is ready at the start
  4. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the flour, and whisk constantly until the roux is a nice deep brown (this took me about 15 minutes)
  6. Add the diced onions, and stir with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes over medium-low. 
  7. When the roux is a glossy dark brown, add the chicken and stir
  8. Stir the chicken and turn the pieces until they are beginning to brown on all sides
  9. Add the smoked sausage and stir for a couple of minutes
  10. Add the celery, bell peppers, tomato, and garlic and stir for about 5 minutes
  11. Sprinkle in the thyme, pour in the chicken stock, and add the bay leaf
  12. Bring the gumbo to a low boil, and then turn down the heat until it simmers
  13. Let the gumbo simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you left the skin on the chicken, you will want to skim the fat off every once in a while
  14. Add the Mundare sausage and the Worcestershire sauce.
  15. Add some salt, pepper, and tobasco to taste
  16. Stir, and then let simmer for 45 minutes again while still stirring occasionally. The gumbo will start to thicken up beautifully!
  17. Remove the bay leaf before serving, and serve over rice 
  18. Enjoy!

Basic Creole Spices
  • 2 tbsp celery salt
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  1. Whisk all of the spices together in a bowl
  2. Store in a airtight container or spice jar
  3. This will store well for about 6 months :)


  1. Your dish looks great! I'd be a little afraid of the whole chicken, too. I don't deal with carcasses, at this point (recently reformed vegetarian - I still don't cook much meat).

  2. Great job! Welcome to the Daring Cooks! Your gumbo looks great. I, too, was nervous that I wouldn't like it, but not for the same reasons. (Vegetarian household here, no worries about the chicken!) You were very brave, and your hard work paid off!!

  3. It seems like the hard work resulted in a wonderful recipe of gumbo, even with all your initial worries it looks amazing excellent work on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  4. This was my first challenge too. I made the seafood gumbo, which was delicious. Your photos are making me want to try the chicken and sausage version as well.

  5. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! :) I am so happy that this turned out, and that everyone else enjoyed theirs so much as well!
    mm the seafood looks amazing as well, i think i will have to try that one on our next cool day :)
    thank you everyone!
    and congratulations as well, yours all look AMAZING! yum :)

  6. Great job, your gumbo looks delicious. I love the colours in there!

  7. Great job!! Your first Daring Cooks Challenge was a smashing success! And don't forget, you can always change it up a little bit to suit your diet. For instance, I don't like fatty skin or bones in my soups, either, so I just substituted boneless skinless chicken breasts. And don't feel bad about being scared - there are plenty of us who are entirely intimidated often! But it is so much fun (and tasty!). You did a great job!!