“Gumbo is a veritable art form in Louisiana. There are as many gumbo recipes as there are cooks.” Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine, p. 135
Of all the dishes in the realm of Louisiana cooking, gumbo is the most famous and likely the most popular. Although ingredients vary from one cook to the next, and from one part of the state to another, a steaming, fragrant bowl of gumbo is one of life’s cherished pleasures – as emblematic of Louisiana as chili is of Texas (Adapted from A Short History of Gumbo by Stanley Dry).
There are many different recipes for gumbo, but it can essentially be described as a thick, well-seasoned stew with different combinations of meat or seafood. Roux (a thickening agent for soups and sauces) is a must, and most varieties of gumbo include onions, bell pepper, celery, and parsley.
This recipe is a classic Gumbo Ya Ya with chicken and sausage. And although it isn’t a traditional ingredient in Gumbo Ya Ya, I like to add crawfish (a.k.a. crawdads)for an extra flavor boost. What makes this recipe unique is that nearly every step is executed using CVap equipment.
First we knocked out the rice (3 pounds long grain par-boiled + 3 ¾ quarts of water) by cooking it in a CVap Thermalizer on channel 6 (200 + 150) for one hour. The cooked rice was then held in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven at 150 + 0 until we were ready to serve.
We cooked a dozen bone-in chicken thighs in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven at 170 + 0 for 45 minutes to an hour. The bones were removed for the overnight stock, then we shredded the chicken meat and set it aside.
For the overnight stock, we combined the chicken thigh bones, celery, carrots, onion, fresh thyme, bay leaves, and whole black peppercorns in a stock pot and added water until everything was just covered. The stock was cooked overnight in a CVap Cook/Hold Oven at 180 + 0, strained in the morning, and then refrigerated. Then all we had to do was skim before adding it to the gumbo.
Recipe: Gumbo Ya Ya
- 4 onions, diced
- 4 green bell peppers, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, small dice
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 pounds andouille sausage, sliced
- 2 pounds chicken, shredded
- 2 pounds crawfish tails (optional)
- 5-10 bay leaves
- 4-5 thyme sprigs
- 1 gallon chicken stock
- 3 cups vegetable oil
- 5 cups flour
- ¾ cup green onion, chopped
- Sauté the onion, celery, and bell pepper, add garlic, and then remove from heat.
- Roux is one of the basic ingredients to a great soup or sauce. At the risk of boring the more seasoned cooks among you, I’ve included instructions for preparing a roux.
- Roux is made from equal parts fat and flour. In this case, vegetable oil and flour. Warm oil over medium-low heat, then add the flour.
- Stir constantly in a figure-eight pattern to evenly distribute. Watch the roux closely to prevent burning.
- Cook the roux over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it becomes a dark caramel color (see picture). Remember that roux must be watched carefully – you don’t want to have to start over!
- Mix all ingredients together (using only half of the roux) and add 3 quarts of stock, sausage, crawfish (optional), and chicken. Stir and place in a CVap Cook & Hold oven at 200 + 3. Stir every 45 minutes or so. Check the thickness – if it needs to thicken more, add more roux. If it is too thick, add more chicken stock. After 2-3 hours, stir in the chopped green onion. Serve over hot rice.
Try this heartwarming dish for yourself and Laissez les bons temps rouler!