Celebrating Mardi Gras with Dutch oven chicken and sausage gumbo
With Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest just around the corner, there’s a pretty good chance New Orleans is on your mind this time of year.
Two years ago, Susan Ford started a bimonthly magazine dedicated to the food of her beloved state. Louisiana Kitchen & Culture magazine is now entering its third year, and if you don’t get to make it to Louisiana as often as you’d like, this colorful publication can help bide the time until your next trip.
Ford, who says she has subscribers in all 50 states but that Texas, not surprisingly, is home to her second-largest readership, packs the magazine with stories and photographs from all around the state, and almost every story has recipes from both home cooks and noted chefs. You can pick up individual copies at Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and Hastings, as well as some Texas grocery stores, and a subscription costs $25 for one year or $40 for two.
You can browse events taking place throughout the state and some of the recipes on the website, louisiana.kitchenandculture.com, but here’s a recipe from culinary media and photography director David Gallent for a chicken and sausage gumbo braised on low in a Dutch oven or slow cooker. To prepare it in shorter period of time, raise the heat in the oven to 375 degrees and cook for a little more than an hour.
Dutch Oven Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1 cup vegetable oil, divided
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
10 cups unsalted chicken broth, divided
1 (3-lb.) chicken, cut into pieces but with the bone in
Cajun seasoning of your choice
1 1/2 lb. Cajun sausage, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Hot cooked rice
Heat one-half cup oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat; evenly sprinkle with flour and whisk until the roux texture is of wet sand, adding additional oil in small amounts if needed. Cook roux, stirring constantly with a flat-edged wooden spatula, 10 minutes or until the color resembles peanut butter (do not burn).
Gradually whisk in nine cups chicken broth; vigorously whisking after each one-cup addition. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, while constantly scraping the bottom. Do not burn.
Skim away accumulated foam or fat; strain through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; set aside the gumbo base until needed. Wipe Dutch oven clean. (This step can be done ahead of time or prepared in larger batches because the gumbo base can be frozen.)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Set top rack in the middle position with enough overhead room for the Dutch oven to easily fit topped with its lid.
Lightly season chicken with Cajun seasoning. Heat a half-cup vegetable oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, evenly sear chicken until nicely browned; set aside until needed. Brown sausage in hot oil. Add onions and 1/3 cup water to deglaze; sauté 15 minutes, scraping bottom to loosen browned bits.
Add bell pepper, celery and garlic; sauté five minutes. Deglaze with remaining one cup chicken broth; simmer three minutes while stirring constantly. Return meat to the pot, add gumbo-base and gently stir. (Add up to one cup water, if needed, for meat to be completely covered with liquid.) Cover Dutch oven with lid and place in oven; bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 225 degrees and bake for eight hours.
Remove gumbo from oven but do not stir. Skim away any accumulated fat or oil on gumbo surface. Using tongs, remove chicken to a large bowl; set aside to cool slightly; shred, discarding bones. Add shredded meat to gumbo; stir well.
Place Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat to bring gumbo to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes or until gumbo is thick. Taste; adjust seasoning. Add green onions and stir well. Serve over hot cooked rice or potato salad. Makes about 3 quarts.
— David Gallent, Louisiana Kitchen & Culture Magazine