My goal with this recipe -- besides creating a delicious soup that was shellfish-free -- was to strike a happy medium between slow-cooked flavor and the hours and hours in the kitchen gumbo recipes often require. Partially cooking bone-in chicken in chicken broth gives you much of the mouth feel and rich flavor of homemade stock with little effort. The roux -- the cooked flour-and-oil mixture that almost all gumbo recipes rely on -- takes about 15 minutes to make (less than many recipes). Otherwise, this recipe is simple and requires more time than effort. And it's worth it. Serve with white rice.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
- 2 lb. bone-in chicken legs or thighs (or a combination)
- 2 qt. chicken broth or stock
- 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 1/2 c flour
- 1 medium onion (about 1 c), diced
- 1 medium celery rib (about 1/2 c), diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper (green or red, about 1/2 c), diced
- 1 10-oz. bag frozen okra, thawed, or 1/2 lb. frozen okra, trimmed and halved
- salt and pepper
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 lb. (4 links) andouille sausage (or other spicy smoked sausage), cut into small discs
- In a saucepan, heat chicken and broth or stock over medium-high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to warm and simmer, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes. (This is an ideal time to chop the vegetables and thaw frozen okra, if using.)
- About 20 minutes before the stock is done simmering, make the roux by heating oil in the bottom of a large stockpot over medium heat until oil moves freely along the bottom of the pan. Add the flour gradually, stirring with a wooden spoon to remove any lumps. Lower heat slightly and cook roux, stirring constantly, for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mixture is nutty-smelling and copper-brown.
- Add onions, celery, garlic, pepper, and okra. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables are lightly browned and fragrant. Then lower heat to warm and let vegetables simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. While vegetables simmer, continue to next step.
- Remove chicken from broth with tongs and cut meat off bones and into bite-sized chunks. (Discard bones at this point.) Add chicken to vegetable-roux mixture and stir to coat with roux. Season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring, for another minute or two.
- Slowly add stock to vegetables and chicken, stirring as you go. Add cayenne (if using), bay leaves, and thyme. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. When soup reaches boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
- Add sausage and simmer for 30 minutes more. Taste soup and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately over white rice.
Gluten-free variation: To make this recipe gluten-free, use rice flour in place of all-purpose flour for the roux. The roux will still thicken adequately.