Low Fat Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 pound hot smoked link sausage, cut into ¼ inch slices
5 skinned and boned chicken breasts
1 large onion, chopped
½ bell pepper, chopped
3 to 4 stalks celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups hot water
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Hot cooked rice

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Put the flour on a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with sides, and bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir well. Return to oven for 15 additional minutes. Remove from oven and stir well. Repeat in 10 minute intervals until desired color is achieved (about the color of roasted cashews). Watch carefully to prevent flour from burning. Remove from oven and set aside.

Trim fat from chicken. Cut each chicken breast into ½-inch strips, and then each strip into 1-inch pieces. Place in a 10-inch, non-stick skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from pan with a slotted spoon; discard any accumulated juices. Set chicken aside.

Cook sausage in a 5½-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally until browned and fully cooked, about 30 minutes. Drain sausage on paper towel; cool slightly. Press each cooked sausage piece between paper towels to remove as much fat as possible; set aside.

Pour fat from Dutch oven; wipe pan with paper towel to remove any remaining fat, leaving behind the browned bits. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic to Dutch oven; cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Gradually sift browned flour into the vegetable mixture; stir until the vegetables are coated. Cook for two minutes more. Add chicken broth and water; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened. Add chicken, sausage, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and remaining seasonings; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for one hour, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf; correct seasonings.

Serve gumbo over hot rice. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.