Thursday, June 7, 2018

Smoked Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

I have just completed my 207th career Florida to New England transit delivering a Viking 54C from Panama City FL. to East Greenwich RI. One of my favorite stops is St. Simons Island, Ga. With Fernandina Harbor Marina a good 24 months from reopening, St. Simons is a close alternate. Morningstar Marina is convenient with cheerful dock staff.  But be sure to call ahead for reservations as this place fills up each night with transients.
At the head of the main dock is the Country Kitchen restaurant. The food here is outstanding. Under the charge of New Orleans trained Owner/Executive Chef Archie Prince, many low-country favorites of fin, feather and hoof are prepared for the hungry yachtsman. My personal favorite is the Chicken and Andouille Gumbo. Chef Archie provided me his recipe; which I have incorporated with my touch to condense it down from restaurant quantity to a more manageable amount for owner and crew.
As a New Orleans classic, chicken and sausage gumbo is perfect for owner and guests. This recipe calls for andouille sausage and pulled chicken. But if you can’t find andouille sausage, any kielbasa or smoked sausage will do. For the chicken, I go to my favorite BBQ joint as I like to add complexity with the smoky chicken. However, supermarket rotisserie works just as well.  Add a trio of ingredients typical of Cajun cuisine—bell peppers, celery, and onions—that when blended together form a flavorful and spicy backdrop to this signature dish. Perhaps the most delicious and simplest of gumbo combinations, it’s a full-bodied stew with a seasoned roux-based sauce. There’s no mystery to making a roux; you just have to pay attention and take it almost to the point of burning before its’ just right. Great as a left-over dish, just warm it up and eat as is, or serve it over white rice for a delicious quick meal.


2/3 c. butter, divided
1/2 lb. andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground sea salt  
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 c.  chicken broth
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 c. shredded chicken, smoked or rotisserie (about a pound)
1 tbsp. File gumbo powder (optional)
Garnish: white rice and sliced green onions


Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook sausage 6 minutes or until browned; remove sausage with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Add remaining butter to skillet. Gradually whisk in flour; whisking constantly, until flour is a milk chocolate color (about 25 minutes).

Stir in green bell pepper and next 5 ingredients; cook, stirring constantly, 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Gradually add broth, stirring until combined. Add tomatoes, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a light boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Return sausage to pan; simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Stir in chicken. Remove and discard bay leaves before serving. Garnish with a white rice, green onion and honey/jalapeno cornbread. Enjoy, JW