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for jimbosox: chicken gumbo

Hungry Celeste | Apr 7, 200812:29 PM

Ask and ye shall receive, Jimbo--here's my non-recipe for chicken gumbo. I make a fairly thin, homestyle gumbo that doesn't require a separate stock, and it mixes meat & seafood.

It's more of a general methodology than a precise how-to....you need dark meat chicken parts, or a whole chicken, cut up (3-4 pounds of chicken, with bones & skin), a pound of best-quality spicy smoked sausage, sliced lengwise then across into bite-sized pieces, two chopped onions, two chopped green peppers (or one red & one green), three stalks' worth of chopped celery, 4-6 chopped cloves of garlic, sliced bunch of green onions, chopped bunch of parsley, plus fresh thyme, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, a little lemon juice, and a pint of shucked oysters (optional, but damn good).

First, brown the sausage slices in a 7-quart, heavy-bottomed pot. Remove & reserve. If the sausage was lean, add a little extra bacon grease, generously S&P your chicken parts, then brown on all sides. Remove chicken & set aside. Don't wash the pot.

Next, you make a roux: heat 3/4 cup of oil in a cast iron skillet. You can use bacon grease, peanut oil, or even clarified butter. I like the smoky,porky notes of BG with chicken, so that's what I use. When it is good & hot, whisk in 3/4 cup of flour until completely combined with the hot oil, then switch to a spatula and stir constantly until the roux is your desired shade of brown...shoot for the color of a penny, or the outside of a pecan. Quickly scrape the roux into the pot and stir in the chopped onions. The liquid released by the onions will lower the temp of the roux & keep it from cooking any further. Once the onions are wilted & getting the slightest bit brown, add the garlic, celery and bell pepper. Continue cooking the veggies in the roux until they've released enough liquid to "clean" the fond off the bottom of the pot. Next, return the browned chicken parts & sausage to the pot and enough water to cover. Add the bay leaves, thyme (I just tie the stalks together rather than picking off individ leaves), a little salt, some cayenne and bring to a boil. Cook until the chicken easily separates from the bone, then remove the chicken to cool slightly while the pot continues to simmer. Debone the chicken, discarding skin & bones, tearing the chix into bite-sized pieces. Return chix to the pot, along with chopped parsley, chopped gr. onion, optional oysters, and 1-3 tsp of lemon juice, to taste. Taste for salt & pepper & adjust. Sometimes I add more garlic at the end, it just depends. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, uncovered. Serve over hot cooked rice. Tastes even better after a couple days in the fridge, and you can remove all of the fat from the top of the dish if you chill it before serving. Freezes well, too.

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