In New Orleans, gumbo is as ubiquitous as Sazeracs and jazz. This version, which Louisiana home cook Whitmire adapted from Cajun Delights, a down-home cookbook sold at a festival and given to her as a newlywed, is thickened by a dark roux and filled with smoky Cajun andouille sausage and chicken.
What to buy: Frozen okra can be found in most supermarkets; you can substitute fresh okra. Andouille is a smoked pork sausage that can be found in many gourmet markets or online at CajunGrocer.com. Look for Cajun seasoning in most supermarkets, or make your own.
- 1Remove the neck and giblets from the chicken’s cavity and discard. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water; pat dry with paper towels and cut into 10 to 12 bone-in pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, and each breast halved or cut into thirds).
- 2Place the chicken pieces in a large pot; cover with the broth, water, Cajun seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to medium low; simmer until the chicken is tender and just cooked, about 30 minutes.
- 3Transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a plate to cool. Strain the broth and skim off any excess fat. Reserve 4 cups for the gumbo. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and discard; set the chicken pieces aside.
For the gumbo base:
- 1Heat the oil in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until it is hot and shimmers, about 3 minutes. Slowly sprinkle the flour into the pot, stirring constantly with a wire whisk to prevent any lumps from forming. Cook, stirring constantly (and taking care to scrape out the corners of the pot), until the roux is dark brown (it should resemble melted chocolate), about 25 to 30 minutes.
- 2Add the onion and garlic and stir to coat the vegetables in the roux. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the bell pepper, celery, and bay leaf; cook until the vegetables soften slightly, about 4 minutes.
- 3Slowly stir in the reserved chicken broth, mixing well to incorporate; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then stir in the tomatoes, okra, reserved chicken meat, and andouille. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pan, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- 4Taste the gumbo to check the seasoning. If necessary, add more salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve over cooked white rice, topped with scallions and parsley.
Beverage pairing: August Kesseler Riesling ‘R’, Germany. Fresh and vibrant with racy acidity and a perfect touch of sweetness, this wine is a refreshing match for this smoky, rich dish.