As the title suggests, I learned this Chicken and Sausage Gumbo recipe from my dad. Like I so often do, I made a few tiny changes to the process just to suit my cooking preferences and my family's eating preferences, but it is still his recipe. This chicken and sausage gumbo is pure comfort food. And comfort cooking. Nothing else smells like gumbo; nothing else tastes like gumbo. It is rich, warm, steeped in tradition, and so flavorful and satisfying.
Snow Day Gumbo?
It might seem odd to associate gumbo with snow. A few years ago before a huge snowstorm blew through, I decided if I was going to be snowed in, I was going to make gumbo. Just because. So, I ran to the store with the rest of Northern Virginia, and came home with the necessary loot. The next day I made it, and my house smelled like my Dad's.
So now whenever a snow storm is in the forecast, I always add gumbo supplies to the list and it is such a wonderful tradition. It is just the kind of food I want to make and eat when it's icy cold outside. Making it now that my dad is gone is incredibly bittersweet and gives a whole new meaning to the term "cooking therapy." I didn't make gumbo for a very long time after he passed away, but once I finally ripped off that band aid I wished I had done it sooner (like so many things in life, right?). The process, the smells, it all made me feel like he was right there with me.
Tips for this Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Recipe
There are several steps to gumbo making, but they are simple. I highly recommend getting all your ingredients prepped, measured, and ready to go before you begin cooking. It makes the process so much more enjoyable and less stressful.
Feel free to use your favorite cajun seasoning rather than making your own, but I would caution that some are mostly salt and are VERY salty at that. Try to find one that has visible herbs, not just salt and powders. McCormick and Morton & Bassett both have good blends, but it isn't difficult to make your own, and this chicken and sausage gumbo recipe will be that much better if you go the extra step.
I prefer to use boneless thighs for this. Controversial, I know. But there is already so much flavor going on in gumbo that the extra flavor from the bones is a sacrifice I'm ok with. And it makes it easier to serve and eat. My dad never used boneless, but he didn't disown me for doing it so I'll take that as my badge of approval.
Do not walk away from your roux. Pour yourself some wine, turn on some music or a podcast, and stay there and stir. If you've made risotto you can make a roux. I promise.