Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chicken, Andouille, and Oyster Filé Gumbo

An oyster filé gumbo, made with the Trinity, oysters, a chicken and spicy andouille sausage.

Chicken, Andouille, and Oyster Filé Gumbo

My father-in-law has been buying full sacks of Gulf oysters the past few weeks and we have been the lucky recipients of several pints, stuffed with delicious, salty, freshly shucked oysters and plenty of liquor. Dad also makes this wonderful oyster gumbo and he usually sends a quart of that over too. I know. My in-laws are wonderful people, I love them to death, and yes. I am spoiled rotten.

Dad's gumbo is more of a filé gumbo because he doesn't use okra in his gumbo, though I've seen some recipes that do. His oyster gumbo is also made with a pale roux, always spicy andouille sausage, plenty of cayenne and no tomatoes.

Gumbo Filé (pronounced fee-lay) is used to both season and thicken gumbo, particularly when okra is not used. It is ground from dried leaves of a sassafras tree and is offered as a condiment at the table, or added only at the end of the cooking process, but should never be boiled. The flavor is somewhere around the taste of a cross between savory and thyme.

To me a gumbo with oysters really calls out for andouille, but if you don't want the fire you can certainly substitute a good basic, smoked sausage, or even some nice smoked ham. You will definitely lose that highly sought after seasoning from the andouille that really just fits right in with oyster gumbo, so I'd suggest bumping up some of the other seasonings. Remember though, that it's real easy to go overboard with the Cajun seasoning or cayenne, so always add a little, taste and adjust. You can always add more, but you just can't take it away.

As always, gumbo is a dish that only improves with advance preparation, so make it ahead of time whenever possible. The flavors really need time to settle and mellow and it's always better the next day. Prepare, let cool and skim any accumulated oil off the top before storing.

You might be surprised to know that some form of seafood gumbo, and very often oyster, graces the Christmas table for many of us down here in the Deep South. Here's how to make this one.

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Recipe: Chicken, Andouille, and Oyster Filé Gumbo

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Cook time: 2 hours 30 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 1 (4 to 6 pound) hen or whole fryer, cut up
  • Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper and Cajun seasoning, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable or canola oil
  • 6 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups of chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 quarts of room temperature water
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 pound of andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pint of fresh oysters, with their liquor
  • 1/4 cup of sliced green onion
  • 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
  • Salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning, to taste
  • Couple dashes of hot sauce
  • Filé, for the table
  • Hot, cooked rice

Season the chicken all over with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning; set aside. Chop up all of the vegetables; set aside. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven and brown chicken on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Prepare the roux by stirring in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, over medium high heat, until mixture is a golden color, about 15 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and cook, stirring regularly, about 5 minutes or until tender; add the garlic and cook another minute.

Slowly stir in the water, stirring constantly until fully incorporated. Add the bay leaves, thyme and return the chicken to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a medium simmer and cook on a very low boil for 1 hour. Add the sausage, return to a boil, reduce to a medium simmer and cook another hour to 1-1/2 hours, or until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone and liquid has reduced

Scoop any bones out of the pot and discard, add the oysters with all the liquor, and the green onion and parsley, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the oysters begin to curl around the edges, about 3 or 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve over hot, cooked rice with hot French bread and filé offered at the table.

Cook's Notes: Gumbo is a dish that only improves with advance preparation, so make it ahead of time if possible. The flavors really need time to settle and mellow. It's always better the next day. Prepare, let cool and skim any accumulated oil off the top before storing. If you prepare this with duck, roast the duck, reserve the fat that accumulates and use that for your roux, taking it to a chocolate color. This is a great place to use leftover chicken or turkey from the holiday. Simply skip the first part of the recipe, letting the gumbo base simmer for 30 minutes, pick up with the sausage and simply add the chicken in just before the oysters, to warm it through a few minutes.


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©Deep South Dish
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Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

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Posted by on December 12, 2012
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