New Orleans is a melting pot for extravagant culture, exuberant energy, live music and it’s incredible food! I traveled there a few years back for work and I didn’t know it at the time but when I had my first taste of delicious gumbo, I was hooked! It immediately became my favorite dish from Louisiana. While I was there I had to try the various types of gumbo from each restaurant in The Big Easy!
I wanted to recreate a traditional gumbo dish to remember the flavors of New Orleans. A few days ago, my father-in-law handed me an amazing gift, a 15 year old cookbook from his visit to the Crescent City! I quickly skimmed through and found numerous recipes from some of the best restaurants in New Orleans at the time, like Commander’s Palace and Brennan’s. When I came across a recipe for chicken Andouille sausage gumbo, I knew that was the recipe I had to try first!
This chicken Andouille gumbo recipe is the perfect all in one meal, the flavors are layered with fresh vegetables, herbs and spices! The taste even gets better the next day, perfect for leftovers. I’m pretty sure I’ve had a bowl of gumbo every day the week I made it! We didn’t have fresh okra at my local market, however I was happy to find pre-cut frozen okra, which is a good alternative. I used Aidells Cajun andouille sausage, the smoky flavor and spices were a perfect infusion of flavor. I had a hard time finding Zatarains gumbo file in stores, so I ordered some from Amazon.
I can’t wait to make this recipe again and try a seafood in the gumbo next time! Make sure that when you make this recipe, turn on some New Orleans Jazz and “let the good times roll (laissez les bon temps rouler)” in the kitchen!
TIP #1: What is gumbo file powder? You will see this ingredient in many gumbo recipes from Louisiana. File powder is sassafras leaves that have been dried and ground into a fine powder. It is used to thicken gumbo just before serving.
TIP #2: Another thickening agent in gumbo is a roux. Roux is a classic French technique used as a thickening agent in soups, stews and sauces. The roux is a mixture of equal parts fat (animal or vegetable) and flour. There are different types of roux based on color as it cooks; white, blond, brown and dark brown. The dark brown roux made with butter and flour is used in this chicken and andouille sausage gumbo recipe to give richness and a deeper flavor.
- 2 pounds of chicken (breast and thigh recommended)
- 2 quarts of water
- 1 pound okra (cut and frozen, if fresh is not available)
- ½ cup water (to cook the okra)
- ½ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- ½ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups of diced yellow onion, ¼ inch by ¼ inch
- 1 ½ cups of diced bell pepper (green and red), ¼ inch by ¼ inch
- ⅓ cup diced celery, ¼ inch by ¼ inch
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups (16 ounces) diced canned tomatoes
- 12 ounces cooked Andouille sausage, sliced
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried cayenne or chili pepper, use less for lower spiciness
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon gumbo file
- In a medium sized pot, add chicken breast and thighs and cover with 2 quarts of water. Bring water to a boil, then simmer until fully cooked about 20 to 25 minutes. Strain the water and reserve. Remove the cooked chicken from the pot, and allow to cool. Once cooled, shred chicken into smaller pieces, cover and set aside.
- In a medium sized sauce pan, add the okra and ½ cup of water/ Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 7-9 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer the okra to a colander to drain the water and reserve the cooked okra.
- In a large pot, combine ½ cup unsalted butter and ½ cup flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently with a whisk to make a dark brown roux, about 15 minutes. Add onion, bell peppers, celery and garlic and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add cooked okra, tomatoes and sliced Andouille sausage. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add bay leaf, thyme, basil, pepper and salt. Add 4 cups of the reserved strained water from the cooked chicken, mix well and bring to a gently boil. You may add more depending on how thick you want the gumbo. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes with the pot loosely covered, stirring occasionally.
- Add cooked shredded chicken and simmer an additional 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, and slowly stir in the file. Do not reboil after adding in file as this tends to make the gumbo stringy. Serve over steamed rice.