Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo
Posted on 22 June 2010
New Orleans is — hands down — my favorite city to visit. What’s not to love? There’s the history, the architecture, the music, and, most importantly, the food.
Come on, when you put that many cultures together in one place (Native American! French! Spanish! African! American!), something wonderfully mouth-watering has to emerge.
My friend Scott is from New Orleans and knows of my quest to make the perfect gumbo. He invited us over for his tantalizing, fall-off-the-bone-tender ribs (but that’s a story for another day) on the condition I make him my gumbo.
What? No. I had made gumbo only once before and it was middling. How could I bring gumbo to his house — especially after he talked it up to his friends — and produce the vaguely watery (but still tasty) mess that was my first attempt?
Except that once I read through his recipe, I knew that I would have to make some revisions. Like I couldn’t use chicken thighs because I don’t like dark meat. I’m not patient enough to cook chicken in batches. I couldn’t put the parsley and the green onions in the gumbo because…well, because it didn’t feel authentic (and I don’t like parsley). And I certainly wouldn’t use anything besides plain white rice because that’s the way it’s always been served to me in New Orleans.
And then, after all that (and 5 hours of cooking time), it was fantastic! Was it, as I had been told, all about the roux? Was it because I made it the day before and let the flavors develop overnight? I’m still flabbergasted.
And pleased as punch.
Lessons learned about roux:
- It’s not that hard.
- Don’t keep the flame so low that it takes over an hour for the roux to turn dark brown.
- Also, when they say stir constantly, they mean stir constantly. My arm was tired after waiting around for 45 minutes of intermittent stirring. Stirring regularly, Matt got it to the right color after 30.
- There are no black specks. It’s just your imagination. Your roux is not ruined.
- Don’t taste the roux out of curiosity. I assure you that it tastes like what it is: butter and flour. And that’s not good.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse