HomeCultureChef Isaac Toups’ Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

Chef Isaac Toups’ Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

 This is Gumbo 101: the first gumbo you learn in the Cajun kitchen. It’s surely the most popular gumbo on the planet. No matter how much you might be tempted to, do not skim the little oil slick of chicken fat off the top of your gumbo. Taste that! That’s what rice is for, to soak all that flavor up. My gumbo comes out rich, and God, it’s delicious.” – Chasing the Gator: Isaac Toups & The New Cajun Cooking

Get Toups’ gumbo recipe just in time for the season.

Photo by Denny Culbert.

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken
3 tsp. kosher salt, divided
2 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
10 cloves garlic, crushed
4 bay leaves
1 (12-oz.) bottle amber-style beer
5 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. Louisiana Liquid Snake Hot Sauce
1 lb. andouille sausage thighs crushed (or your favorite smoked sausage), cut into bite-size pieces
Rice for serving
Sliced green onions for garnish
1 tsp. Smokey Green Hot Sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken thighs with 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, skin side up, and roast for 20 minutes or until the skin is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside. Don’t throw that fat away, it’s going in the gumbo later.

In a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, make a dark roux using the oil and flour, about 45 minutes. Once the roux is the color of milk chocolate, add the trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery, and stir once every 5 seconds for about a minute until the vegetables begin to soften and caramelize. The roux is rocking hot, so these vegetables are going to cook really quickly. Don’t walk away! After a minute, add the garlic and bay leaves and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring frequently.

Deglaze the pot with the beer, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon until all the browned bits are released. Stir constantly until it returns to a simmer. Add the stock and continue stirring until it returns to a simmer. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper and the cayenne. Add the reserved chicken thighs (skin, bones, everything) and their fat and the sausage. Bring back to a bare simmer, being careful not to let it boil and not to let the roux scorch, reduce the heat to the lowest setting on your stove, and cover. Simmer for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, scraping the bottom each time. Your gumbo should begin to thicken, but not like gravy. If it starts getting too thick before the 3 hours are up and you have to hit it with a little water to thin it, do so.

Do not skim that fat off the top.

Serve with rice. I put the gumbo down in each bowl first and then put the rice on top. Garnish with sliced green onions. If you want to bump up the heat, add another dash of Louisiana Liquid Snake.

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