I’ve never been to New Orleans. This cannot stand. I write about food, and I’ve never been to one of America’s greatest food cities. How can I let that happen? Where’s my travel agent?
*Stops, looks at credit card statement. Turns slightly pale. Slides statement to the bottom of the pile of bills.
Um…as I was saying, I like to do culinary travel in my own kitchen. New Orleans has a bunch of signature dishes – Jambalaya, etouffee, boudin, po-boys, red beans and rice…the list goes on. *Man…remind me, why haven’t I gone yet?
Gumbo is more than a dish. Gumbo is the perfect description of New Orleans. A collision of cultures mixing into the perfect pot of soup.
Now, I’m not from New Orleans. To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, I’m so far from New Orleans that I’ve wrapped around and am approaching from the other side. But, why let a little thing like that stop me from making their classic soup? *PS: No pressure cooker? No worries. Check out the variations section for a non-pressured version of the recipe.
1 pound smoked sausage, preferably andouille, sliced 1 inch thick
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon Cajun spice rub
1 large onion, minced
1 bell pepper, minced
1 large stalk celery, minced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 quarts chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 pound fresh or thawed frozen okra, sliced 1/4 inch thick (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Cooked white rice
(preferably long grain, cooked with a tablespoon of butter)
1/2 cup minced parsley leaves
Brown the sausage and chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the smoked sausage and cook until well browned on both sides, about 4 minutes. Remove the sausage to a bowl using a slotted spoon, leaving as much oil behind as possible. Add the chicken thighs to the pot and cook until well browned on both sides, about 6 minutes. Add to the bowl with the sausage, again leaving as much fat behind as possible.
Cook the roux: Add 1/4 cup vegetable oil, flour, and Cajun seasoning to the pressure cooker. Cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is the color of peanut butter, about 5 minutes.
Saute the aromatics: Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic to the roux. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and cook, stirring often, until the aromatics soften, about 5 minutes.
Cook the gumbo: Stir in the sausage, chicken thighs, and any juices in their bowl. Pour in the chicken broth and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to make sure the roux isn't sticking. Pour the can of diced tomatoes on top, lock the lid, and bring the pressure cooker to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes.
Season and serve the gumbo: Remove the lid from the pressure cooker (carefully, the escaping steam will be very hot). Stir the okra into the pot and simmer until the okra is tender, about 5 minutes for frozen, or 10 minutes for fresh. Taste the gumbo, and add salt and pepper as needed, and a splash of Tabasco sauce. (If you use homemade stock, without any added salt, this will take more salt than you think. A tablespoon of Kosher salt usually works for me, but I start with a half tablespoon and keep adding and tasting.) To serve: put a scoop of white rice in a bowl, ladle the gumbo on top, and sprinkle with parsley. Pass the Tabasco sauce at the table.
No pressure cooker? No problem. Cook the recipe in a sturdy dutch oven or large pot. For step 4, instead of pressure cooking, bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes. Continue with tasting and seasoning in step 5.
The traditional sausage for gumbo is andouille, but any smoked sausage will work. It won’t quite be the same thing…but it will be good.
I think I burnt my roux – if you look in the roux pictures, you can see little flecks of black. Remember, keep stirring, instead of posing peanut butter for pictures. Oh, wait, that’s a suggestion for me, not you. Never mind.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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