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Chicken & Sausage Gumbo


Gumbo is a soup with a hearty spicy nature and lots of body. When our son Drew was on the swim team in Louisiana, we would often make a huge kettle of the stuff starting with 6 stewing chickens. Then we would cook up at least ten pounds of rice to ladle the gumbo over, and sell it at swim meets as a fundraiser for the team. At $2.50 a bowl, it was a sell-out during the winter.

1 5 - 6 pound hen, cut into pieces
Salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, Tabasco
Vegetable oil for browning, 1 to 1 ½ Cups
½ Cup flour
2 onions, diced
8 ribs of celery, chopped
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon ground bay leaf
½ teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery seed
¼ teaspoon marjoram
1 gallon water
1 ½ pound sliced smoked sausage
1 Cup minced fresh parsley
1 pound okra, frozen is fine

Salt and pepper chicken, browning a large heavy pot in oil over medium heat. When well browned, remove chicken and set aside. Pour off all but ½ cup of the oil and add flour, browning well to make a dark roux. Reduce heat to low and add, onion, celery and green pepper. Sauté until soft, stirring regularly. Gradually add enough water to make a smooth sauce, stirring constantly. Add remaining water, chicken and other ingredients except the sausage, okra and parsley. Cook over medium heat for 1½ to 2 hours. Add sausage and okra in the last 45 minutes of cooking time. Remove and debone the chicken, discarding skin and bones. Return the chicken meat to the pot. Remove from heat, add the parsley and let stand for 15 minutes. Serve over rice.


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