A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to cook up a big pot of Louisiana Gumbo for a wine-industry get together we hosted a Montelena. And, since then, I’ve had quite a few people ask for the recipe. When people ask for the recipe, however, my gut instinct tells me that I shouldn’t give it out…Louisiana cooking, especially Gumbo, doesn’t have a recipe. You just use what you have around and it comes out different every time. But, for those who didn’t grow up eating gumbo and tailgating at LSU football games, cooking gumbo may not be natural. So, I’ll give the recipe thing a try. But, keep in mind, this is a ruff recipe and improvisation is welcome.
Gumbo pairs very well with Zinfandel–especially our 2007 and 2008 Estate Zinfandel!
Chicken breast and thighs (preferably with bone in)
Good smoked sausage or Cajun andouille
Seasonings (onion, bell pepper, jalapenos, garlic, celery, or whatever you have)
Chicken stock and/or water (bone-in chicken will make its own stock)
Okra (frozen okra works fine)
Filé (if you can find it; if not, that’s ok—Google Gumbo Filé)
Red pepper, black pepper and salt to taste
How to: In a large pan, brown your chicken and sausage in a little oil or butter (brown a few pieces at a time). Season chicken with salt and pepper as you go. After removing chicken and sausage, fry vegetable seasonings until tender. Combine chicken, sausage and seasonings in large pot and cover with chicken stock and/or water and cook over medium heat. Add bay leaves.
In a separate pot, combine equal parts flour and butter. Make the roux by stirring butter and flour mixture over medium heat (stir constantly!) until the roux is the color of a dirty penny.
Add roux to the pot (until color is dark brown) and cook the gumbo until chicken is tender (about 2 hours). Season with salt and pepper to taste and add okra about half way through. (If using bone-in chicken, remove whole piece after they are tender, let cool and remove bones).
Right before serving, add filé (do not boil filé).
Serve over rice with sweet potato or potato salad and garlic bread on the side (Louisianans love to triple starch).
Enjoy with a glass of Montelena Zinfandel!
Me serving gumbo at the industry night.