Gumbo means okra. Like hummus, the soup has become synonymous with the one ingredient. Oh, but how we can dress up that one ingredient!
This is a traditional spicy chicken gumbo recipe, with fine
Linguica sausage, ham and, of course, okra. The real deal.
Like all true gumbo, it begins with the roux. The roux is what gives it that wonderful, rich color and flavor. Though not difficult, it is a 2-day process. You might want to check out the quick and easy, down and dirty Shrimp Gumbo recipe.
Often, a gumbo roux,
or thickener, is made with equal parts flour and oil, about a cup of each. A
dry roux, prepared with baked flour and no oil, is better for you and still authentically
Cajun. It takes more flour, but it keeps in the refrigerator for a long time.
1 ham shank
5 Serrano peppers, (2 whole, 3 diced)
2 cups flour
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
2 roma tomatoes, steamed, peeled and mashed
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Portuguese Linguica sausages, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 small red, yellow or orange bell peppers, chopped
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 pounds chicken meat, chunky-chopped
6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons paprika, preferably smoked
1 teaspoon each: oregano, salt, pepper, thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, optional
2 pounds fresh okra, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
Green onions, sliced, for garnish
(The night before): Place the ham shank in a crock pot with 2 inches of water and 2 Serrano peppers. Cook on low until the meat falls off the bone, 12 to 18 hours. Cool, skim any fat off and discard the peppers. Shred the meat and reserve the liquid.
Make the roux: Spread the flour out on a shallow baking dish. Bake at 350°, stirring often, until the flour is the color of milk chocolate, 30 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a large pot and whisk in the chicken broth, a little at a time, until smooth. Add the ham shank liquid and heat.
Meanwhile, brown the sausage with the garlic and tomatoes in a large skillet. Add the celery, onion, bell peppers, and Serrano peppers. Sauté them just until sweated, that is, until they brighten and form a sheen without browning. This concentrates the flavors.
Add the ham, chicken, sausage and vegetables, and spices to the (roux) pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the okra and cook just until done, about 20 minutes more.
Serve with rice and garnish with a sprinkling of green onions. The Chicken Gumbo recipe makes 10 to 12 hearty servings.
Thanks, Don, for perfecting the recipe for us.