Gumbo is a type of stew that originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th century. It consists primarily of a some sort of stock, meat or shellfish, a roux, and the “Holy Trinity” onions, celery, bell peppers, and onions. What if you could make this delicious dish without all of the fuss and the oil that traditionally accompanies the roux? Well you can with this Low-Fuss Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo!
Since the oil serves as a mechanism to brown the flour in a roux, I decided to skip the oil, and brown the flour in the oven. This is why I refer to this gumbo as “low-fuss”. In this case, “low-fuss” is relative to the gumbo made with a traditional roux that takes constant stirring over an extended period of time. Not so with browning the flour in the oven!
I used the following ingredients for the Low-Fuss Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo: flour, smoked sausage, chicken, Cajun seasoning, the holy trinity (onions, celery and bell pepper), garlic, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. For the chicken, I used both thighs and breasts. For the Cajun seasoning, I used Emeril’s Essence.
I spread the flour on a rimed baking sheet, and cooked it in a 375° F oven for a total of 50 minutes. I checked the flour after 15 minutes. Then, I checked it after another 15 minutes, then 10 minutes and finally 10 minutes more minutes to ensure that it wasn’t burning.
While the flour was cooking, I set about cooking the gumbo ingredients. First, though, I tossed the chicken with the Cajun seasoning, and set it aside.
Then, I started the cooking by adding the smoked sausage to a Dutch oven set over medium heat. It took about 20 minutes to thoroughly cook the sausage. As the pieces became done, I transferred them to a paper towel lined plate, and pressed any excess fat from them with another piece of paper towel.
I poured off the accumulated fat from the Dutch oven. Then, I wiped any excess fat with a paper towel before returning it to the medium heat and adding the chicken. I cooked the chicken, stirring occasionally, until it was cooked. This took about 5 minutes.
I removed the chicken from the Dutch oven and added the holy trinity – onion, celery and bell pepper. I cooked the vegetables over medium heat, stirring occasionally until they started to become tender. This took about 8 minutes. Next, I added the minced garlic and gave the mixture a stir.
By this time, the flour had browned nicely, and was ready to be added to the vegetables. Normally, I sift in the browned flour, but decided to bypass the sifting and add it directly to the vegetables. I stirred the mixture to evenly distribute the browned flour, and let it cook for several minutes. Then, I added the chicken broth. At first, it looked like a mess, with a lot of visible lumps from the browned flour. Not to worry – I simply whisked the mixture and all was well. I brought the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until it had thickened somewhat. I knew that the flour lost its thickening ability as browns, so wasn’t too concerned that the mixture only thickened slightly. Anyway, I then added the cooked sausage and cooked chicken to the liquid and gave the mixture a stir. I added the Worcestershire sauce, the dried thyme, some salt and freshly ground black pepper. I reduced the heat to low, and simmered the gumbo uncovered for an hour.
After an hour, the vegetables were suitably soft, so I tasted the gumbo for seasoning correction. It was perfect, at least for my taste. I served the gumbo with rice and the French bread baguette. Yum!