This week, for the first time in we can't remember how long, a true cold front will push our temps into the 50s. And you know what that means, right?
Get out your big black pots, it's gumbo weather!
For some, only a hearty mix of seafood will satisfy those cravings. For others, chicken and sausage is how you gumbo.
We searched our files and came up with five great gumbo recipes, finishing up with the world famous Gumbo Z’Herbes from the late Leah Chase.
Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
Makes 8 servings. Recipe from Dale Curry's cookbook "Gumbo."
3 pounds small-to-medium shrimp in shells with heads OR 1½ pounds peeled and deveined frozen shrimp, thawed
1 pound fresh okra, cut into ¼-inch pieces OR frozen cut okra, thawed
1 tablespoon plus ½ cup vegetable oil, divided
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 quarts shrimp stock or water
1½ teaspoons Creole seasoning
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Cooked long-grain white rice, for serving
1. If using fresh shrimp, remove heads, peel and devein them, placing the shells and heads in a medium pot. Add enough water to cover the shells by at least 2 inches and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. When slightly cooled, strain the stock into a large measuring cup and discard the shells.
2. If using fresh okra, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium-to-large skillet. Over medium heat, cook the okra, stirring occasionally, until the stringy liquid disappears.
3. Heat remaining oil in a large, heavy pot over high heat. Add flour and stir constantly until roux begins to brown. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until roux is the color of milk chocolate. Add onions and white parts of the green onions and cook, stirring, until onions begin to caramelize. Add bell pepper and celery and cook until wilted. Add garlic and cook a minute more.
4. Add tomatoes and gradually stir in stock or water. Add all seasonings except parsley, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Add shrimp and simmer until shrimp turn pink, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add green onion tops and parsley and remove bay leaves. Serve in bowls over hot rice with hot French bread.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Makes 4 servings. Recipe is by Isaac Toups from his cookbook “Chasing the Gator: Isaac Toups and the New Cajun Cooking.”
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
½ cup grapeseed oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
10 cloves garlic, crushed
4 bay leaves
1 (12-ounce) bottle amber-style beer
5 cups chicken stock
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound andouille sausage (or your favorite smoked sausage), cut into bite-size pieces (½-inch half-moons)
Rice, for serving
Sliced green onions, for garnish
Hot sauce/paste, optional
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken thighs with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Place on rimmed baking sheet, skin side up, and roast for 20 minutes, or until the skin is lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside, reserving fat to add to gumbo later.
2. In heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, make a dark roux, using oil and flour. Stir for about 45 minutes until roux is the color of milk chocolate; add the trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery, and stir once every 5 seconds for about a minute until vegetables begin to soften and caramelize.
3. After a minute, add garlic and bay leaves and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
4. Deglaze the pot with the beer, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon until all the browned bits are released. Stir constantly until mixture returns to a simmer.
5. Add stock and continue stirring until it returns to a simmer.
6. Add remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper and cayenne. Add reserved chicken thighs and fat, along with the sausage.
7. Bring back to a bare simmer, being careful not to let it boil and not to let the roux scorch. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and cover. Simmer for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, scraping the bottom each time.
Toups notes: “Your gumbo should begin to thicken, but not like gravy. If it starts getting too thick before the 3 hours are up and you have to hit it with a little water to thin it, do so.” Do not skim that fat off the top.
8. Serve with rice.
Shrimp and Okra Gumbo Bayou Teche
Makes 6-8 servings. Recipe is by chef John Folse from his cookbook "The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine."
1 cup vegetable oil
1½ cups flour
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced green bell pepper
¼ cup minced garlic
2½ quarts shellfish stock or water
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped thyme
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 cup diced Creole tomatoes
1 (16-oz.) pkg. frozen cut okra or 1 pound fresh okra, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Creole seasoning, to taste
3 pounds (35-count) shrimp, peeled and deveined, divided
1 cup sliced green onions
½ cup chopped parsley
Louisiana hot sauce, to taste
1. In a cast-iron Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until a Cajun brown roux is achieved.
2. Stir in onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted.
3. Add stock or water, one ladle at a time, until souplike consistency is achieved. Bring to a rolling boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to simmer then stir in bay leaves, thyme, basil, tomatoes and okra. Season lightly using salt, pepper and Creole seasoning.
4. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in half of the shrimp and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Additional stock may be used to reach desired consistency.
5. Add green onions and parsley. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
6. Remove bay leaves and gently fold in remaining shrimp.
7. Cook 3-5 minutes or until shrimp are pink and curled. Serve a generous portion in a soup bowl over steamed white rice with a dash of hot sauce. You may also want to sprinkle ½ teaspoon of filé powder or ground sassafras leaves over gumbo before serving.
Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
Makes 8 servings. Recipe is by Corinne Cook.
2 links Savoie's original pork sausage
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup chopped celery
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large chicken, cut into pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chopped green onion tops
1. Chop sausage into 2- to 3-inch lengths. Cook in 1 cup water for 15 minutes to soften the sausage and remove some of the fat. Drain and set aside to cool slightly, then cut into about ½-inch slices or bite-size pieces.
2. In large heavy pot over medium-high heat, make a dark brown roux using flour and oil. Stir constantly until it turns the color of cocoa powder.
3. Add celery, bell pepper and onions to roux. Cook until vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally, as needed.
4. Add the chicken pieces to the pot along with the garlic and about ½ gallon water. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.
5. Cover and cook for 30 minutes over low heat. Stir in the reserved sausage and put the top back on the pot and continue cooking for another hour or until chicken is tender.
6. Add chopped parsley and green onion tops about 5 minutes before serving, while the gumbo is still hot. Serve over cooked rice.
Leah Chase’s Gumbo Z’Herbes
Makes 8 to 10 servings. Recipe is by Leah Chase.
1 bunch mustard greens
1 bunch collard greens
1 bunch turnip greens
1 bunch watercress
1 bunch beet tops
1 bunch carrot tops
1 bunch spinach
½ head lettuce
½ head cabbage
2 onions, chopped, about 3 cups
4 cloves garlic, crushed, chopped
5 tablespoons flour
1 pound smoked sausage
1 pound smoked ham
1 pound brisket, cubed
1 pound stew meat
1 pound hot sausage (chaurice)
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon file powder
Steamed rice for serving
1. Clean greens under cold running water, making sure to pick out bad leaves and rinse away any grit. Chop greens coarsely and put in a 12-quart stockpot with onions and garlic. Cover with about 1½ gallons water. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook 30 minutes. Strain greens. Reserve greens and liquid.
2. Cut all meats except sausage into bite-size pieces, about 1 inch, and put in 12-quart stockpot with 2 cups reserved liquid. Steam over high heat 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cut sausage into bite-size pieces and place in a skillet over high heat to render, about 10 minutes. Remove sausage, keeping grease in the skillet. Set aside.
4. Blend greens in a food processor until pureed.
5. Heat skillet of sausage drippings over high heat and add flour. Cook roux until flour is cooked, about 5 minutes (does not have to brown). Pour roux over meat mixture in stockpot and stir to combine. Add pureed greens and 2 quarts reserved liquid. Simmer over low heat 20 minutes.
6. Add sausage, thyme and cayenne. Stir well. Season and simmer 40 minutes. Stir in file powder and remove from heat. Serve over steamed rice.