Glenn Butcher

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Other Stuff/Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

This is a good, basic gumbo recipe from which you can go all sorts of ways with meats and seasonings. This is what my mom cooked for us growing up, and what I cooked for my friends in college. Enjoy!


  • 1/2 cup of flour.
  • 1/2 cup of oil. I currently use olive oil, but canola or corn oil also works.
  • 1 onion.
  • 1 very small bell pepper (okay, just cut up a big one).
  • Couple of stalks of celery (optional; I hate to buy a whole bunch just for this...)
  • Red-pepper-based seasoning. I use Tony Chachere's, but SeasonAll works also. You can also do your own thing here...
  • Smoked sausage. I use Hillshire Farms's brand out here in Kwaj, has a great taste in gumbo.
  • Your favorite chicken parts. I make mine white-meat-centric :-)
  • Coupla quartsa water.

A Couple of Words About Measurement

I don't. (Told you; a couple of words :-) First, you're going to make the roux with the flour and oil; the important thing is to use equal measures of each. You'll need about 1/2 cup of roux per quart of water, and that's just winging it. Then, you're going to cook what gumbo you need; use the amount of water to baseline that. Then, however much meat you think the water will hold and still make a broth; I tend to put more sausage because it's easier to portion. The vegetables can be as small or as large a proportion as you want; make sure you use more onions than the others. There; now every pot is an adventure...


Roux: Mix the flour and oil in a bowl you can heat to a high temperature. Now, you're going to repeatedly zap it in the microwave starting with 1:00 minute intervals until it starts to brown, then go to 30 seconds. Each time the zap is complete, stir the mixture well. You're going to want the mixture to brown to the color of an old penny, as my dad puts it. I like dark gumbos, so I usually go a little further. The roux will continue to darken after you finish torturing it in the microwave, so don't go too far. Alternatively, you can do the roux browning in a saucepan, but you'll have to stir constantly until you pull it off the fire. If it smokes (not steams, you'll smell the difference), throw it away and start over. That's why the microwave works so much better...

Stock: Bring the water to a boil, season it a bit, and throw in the chicken. Cook the chicken through and through, then take it out of the pot, debone the meat, and set it aside. Actually, you don't have to debone it; I grew up eating gumbo with whole chicken parts in it. Deboning makes it easier for the northerners :-) Also, sometimes I'll season the meat beforehand so it'll soak in, but you don't have to. Oh, and while the chicken is cooking, cut up the sausage into 1/2 inch pieces.

Vegetables: Dice up the onions, bell peppers, and celery. In a saucepan, take some of the oil off the top of the roux you cooked earlier, get it hot, and cook the vegetables in it until the onions are "clear." They don't really get crystal-clear, that's just how my mom describes cooked onions.

"System Integration": Bring the chicken water to a boil. Dump in the vegetables, then the meat. Finally, stir the roux into the boiling mixture, spoonful by spoonful, making sure it all dissolves. Turn the heat to a simmer, let it do that for about an hour or so. During the simmer, taste it and season it to your preference. Before serving, take a spoon and skim the excess oil off the top. Serve over rice, sprinkle a little gumbo file (ground sassafrass root) over the serving if you want. I usually dash a little Tabasco in mine, but not always, 'specially when the sausage is good!

As of: 11 June, 2002