I’m sure your response was “Louisiana” or “the south.” That’s what my response used to be until about five years ago. Now, when I think of gumbo, I think of Chicago. SAY WHAT?? In the summer of 2005, I was newly married to my midwest hubby and I had just recently moved up to Chicago (Naperville to be exact) to start my new life with him. I was really starting to miss my southern cuisine and looked for BBQ everywhere. Well, I didn’t find much BBQ but I did find an awesome New Orleans cuisine restaurant, right in the heart of Naperville, Heaven on Seven. The owner and head chef of Heaven on Seven, Jimmy Bannos, knows his southern cuisine. He has studied New Orleans food and he has got it goin’ on.
Everything I ever ate at that restaurant was fantastic but the dish that always sent me through the roof was the chicken and sausage gumbo. Man was it delicious! Tastes like some slow-cookin’ love in a pot. So you can imagine our disappointment when we moved away from Chicago last summer and said good-bye to one of our most favorite restaurants.
So after scouring the internet for THE Heaven on Seven gumbo recipe, I finally found it! I spent the whole day in the kitchen yesterday, (gumbo making is not for the faint of heart), and made a big ol’ pot of deliciousness. One taste of the soup and my husband and I were back in Naperville! It tastes EXACTLY like the restaurants gumbo.
Let’s talk roux. People get scared of roux’s for some reason.
What is a roux?
A: A roux is a thickening agent (and sometimes an extra flavor component). Cooks use roux’s to thicken soups, stews, gravy, sauces, etc.
What ingredients go into a roux?
A: Basically, a roux is half flour, half fat. In this recipe, it’s half flour, half oil.
Why is a roux so intimidating?
A: Because it takes a while to come together and requires our undivided attention. When you make a roux, you have to stir it constantly. The moment you stop stirring is the moment it starts to burn and you have lost it. So, stir, stir, stir! And wear an oven mitt because occasionally a tiny bit of oil will splatter out and burn your hand and it will hurt like heck if your hand is not protected. I speak from experience.
What’s the difference between a light and a dark roux?
A: A light roux is light or white in color and used only as a thickener. It doesn’t add much flavor to the dish you are making because it isn’t cooked very long. Light roux is used mainly for a sauce or gravy. A dark roux (the kind you use for gumbo) is dark in color, ranging from a light caramel color to a dark chocolate color, depending on what the recipe calls for. A dark roux typically adds a nutty flavor to your food.
Here’s what your roux should look like for this gumbo:
Now that you know about a roux, you are totally prepared to make a delicious gumbo that will NOT disappoint. I promise!
|Chicken & Sausage Gumbo|
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 4 teaspoons plus ½ teaspoon Cajun or Creole Seasoning
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound andouille, cut into ¼-inch slices
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced green onion, white and green parts
- ½ cups diced red onion
- 2 cups seeded, diced green bell pepper
- 1 ½ cups diced celery
- 1 tablespoon seeded, minced jalapeno
- 1 tablespoon Roasted-Garlic Puree (see below)
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 small bay leaf
- 6 1/3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup Dark Roux (see below)
- ¼ teaspoon filé powder (optional but recommended)
- White rice
- Roasted-Garlic Puree
- 1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup extra virgin or regular olive oil
- Dark Roux
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- TO MAKE ROASTED-GARLIC PUREE:
- Preheat the oven to 300° F.
- Place the garlic in a small ovenproof container and pour in the oil. Use additional oil if needed to completely immerse all the garlic cloves. Cover the container with aluminum foil and roast for 1 hour, until garlic is soft and light golden brown.
- Strain the garlic and place in a blender along with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Puree to a smooth consistency, adding a small amount of oil if necessary. Pour into a container and cover the top of the puree with a thin layer of the oil. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
- Reserve the remaining garlic-infused oil in another container and refrigerate.
- TO MAKE DARK ROUX:
- Heat oil in a 4-quart dutch oven over high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes. Carefully whisk in the flour a little at a time until all the flour is incorporated. (The mixture will foam up as you add the flour, so add a small amount at a time.) Reduce the heat to medium and stir continuously, preferably with a flat-edged wooded spoon, for 22 to 25 minutes, until the roux is a dark brown. To prevent the roux from cooking any further, carefully pour it into a heat-proof bowl and cool for 45 minutes. Drain of any oil that separates from the roux.
- Store the roux in a covered container and refrigerate.
- TO MAKE GUMBO:
- Toss the chicken and 4 teaspoons of the Cajun seasoning together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
- In a large (7-quart) heavy Dutch oven, preferable enameled cast iron, heat the oil over high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the andouille and brown for 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the seasoned chicken and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the onions, bell pepper, celery, jalapeno, and garlic puree, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the basil, oregano, ground black and white peppers, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and remaining ½ teaspoon of Cajun seasoning; cook for 2 minutes more. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Whisk in the roux a little at a time and stir continuously for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the filé powder. Do not let the mixture boil once you have added the filé powder. Remove the bay leaf.
- Serve with cooked white rice.