Good friend and Mobile, Alabama, native Steve Padgett shared his recipe for gumbo made totally from scratch.
With an idea to making gumbo, I bought one pound of Andouille sausage and a whole, prepared, free-range chicken from a local farmer. My grandmother Catherine prized fresh milk, eggs, and poultry from the farm. She’d have been proud of me for using a fresh chicken, but it added a lot of work.
On the first day, I roasted the chicken, picked the meat from the carcass, clarified the pan drippings, and saved them to a bowl. I also used made-from-scratch beef and chicken broth (made from boiling bones) that I keep on hand for adding to soups and stews.
On day two, I chopped vegetables and made the gumbo. As I retiree I enjoyed the effort involved in the preparation of this recipe. The result was the best gumbo I’ve ever made. It’s just a fact. When it comes to making good food, there’s no substitute for such intensive labor. It’s the way good cooks created the gumbo for which New Orleans is famous.
1 pound Andouille sausage
2-3 tablespoons clarified chicken fat
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped organic yellow onion
½ cup chopped organic green pepper
½ cup sliced organic celery
3 pints hot water
1 pint beef or chicken broth
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon hot sauce
4 cups cooked chicken
4 organic scallions, sliced
- In a Dutch oven over medium heat brown one-inch slices of Andouille sausage, stirring well. After five minutes, remove the sausage to a plate.
- Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of chicken fat in the Dutch oven and begin to make a roux with ¾ cup all-purpose flour [See elsewhere on site for directions on making a roux]. After 20 to 30 minutes of purposeful stirring, the roux should look like dark chocolate.
- Add the chopped onion, pepper, and celery, stirring constantly for five minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the hot water and broth a cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the mixture simmers.
- Add all the remaining ingredients—except the scallions—to the simmering gumbo and cook over low-medium heat for one hour.
- Add the scallions and simmer another 30 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves, salt to taste, and serve over hot cooked brown or wild rice. Serves eight.