Getting Real With Belinda Hulin

Belinda’s Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

1 whole chicken and 4 chicken breast halves
10 cups water
4 bay leaves
6 cups strong chicken broth
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1⁄2 cups granulated flour
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt or to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon white pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1⁄2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 pound andouille or smoked sausage, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons file powder
1⁄2 cup sliced green onions
Tabasco sauce to taste

1.         In a large pot, combine chicken, chicken breasts, water, and 2 of the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer until chicken is done, about 35 minutes. Remove the chicken and chicken breasts and set aside to cool. Strain cooking liquid into a large soup pot or Dutch oven and add 4 cups chicken broth. Bring liquid to a boil.

2.         In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine oil and flour. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture turns a dark reddish brown. Remove from heat and add half the onions. Stir until onions begin to brown around the edges, about 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully add the roux to the boiling broth. Stir to blend and reduce heat to medium. Simmer 11⁄2 hours.

3.         Add salt, black pepper, cayenne, white pepper, thyme, and sage. Add sliced sausage and continue to simmer 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let the pot stand 10 minutes, untouched. Skim off the sausage fat that rises to the top of the gumbo.

4.         Turn the heat back to medium and stir in remaining onions, celery, green pepper, garlic, and half the parsley. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove chicken from the bones. Cut chicken meat into bite-size pieces and stir into the gumbo. Simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in file powder, remaining parsley, and green onions. Serve in bowls with steamed rice, and pass the Tabasco.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Source: Roux Memories: A Cajun-Creole Love Story with Recipes (Lyons Press, 2010) by Belinda Hulin