Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Growing up on the rural outskirts of Ville Platte, Louisiana (the “Cajun Prairie”), LSU in Alexandria Chancellor Paul Coreil remembers how everyone raised yard chickens and made homemade smoked pork sausage. His late mother Juanita Smith would butcher a fresh chicken from the yard each time she made gumbo, before getting started on her roux.
This is his recipe.
Please buy local, Louisiana ingredients—Poultry is the state’s largest food industry
with a 2018 farm-gate value of $1 billion and commercial production in 31 parishes;
rice had a 2018 farm-gate value of $380 million, with commercial production in 32
“Every time I make this gumbo, I think of my life growing up in rural Evangeline Parish, smelling that delicious aroma all day,” Paul Coreil said. “To ‘stretch’ the gumbo and allow us to feed more people, mom would sometimes add boiled eggs. You never knew if more guests and extended family would show up!”
Coreil does not use celery and rarely actual recipes:
“All I need to know is how many people to feed; the only ingredient I measure is people.”
Each year, Ville Platte hosts a Smoked Meat Festival. Coreil and his wife Arlene have been judges for its cooking competition for several years.
“Delicious entries every time!”
Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1 pound smoked pork sausage or andouille, sliced (Coreil likes to use Teet’s Food Store in Ville Platte—they ship! Check to see if you need to peel the skin off of the andouille before you slice as it might be too chewy)
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into thirds
2 medium onions (or 1 large onion), finely diced
2 bell peppers (any color), finely diced
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
1 cup flour
1 cup vegetable oil
2 quarts stock or broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped (avoid most of the stems)
Prepare your meats and set aside in separate bowls. Prepare onion and bell pepper, mix, and set aside. Make a seasoning mix by combining everything from salt through oregano (if using) in a small bowl and set aside. Next, make the roux. (You’ll need a cast iron skillet and be fully dressed for this step; Coreil recommends using 1 cup of Kary’s Roux from a jar, made by one of his childhood friends in Ville Platte, if you don’t feel like making your own.) Whisk or stir the flour and oil over medium-to-high heat until the color of dark chocolate, being careful not to splash. (You must stir constantly.) Once the roux reaches the right color, immediately mix in the onion and bell pepper to cool the temperature down. Next, add the seasoning mix. Cook while stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften. Add stock or broth and bring to a simmer. Next, add sausage and simmer over low heat for up to one hour; adjust seasonings and perhaps add more stock or broth—Coreil prefers his gumbo more soupy than stewy. Next, add chicken and continue to simmer for 30 minutes (if you simmer it more than an hour or so, the chicken will begin to “thread” and fall apart). Finally, add green onions and parsley and simmer for 10 more minutes. Serve hot with a large spoonful of white Louisiana rice.
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