There is only one thing for a Louisiana girl to do when faced with record breaking low temperatures, sleet, snow and ice; and that is to make a big, simmering pot of chicken and sausage gumbo!
When in Crisis
Over the last 12 months, we seem to move from one crisis to the next. Here in the south, the global crisis and political unrest of last year were followed by a string of historic hurricanes. In northeast Louisiana, we are about 250 miles inland. And yet, we experienced Category 1 wind speeds during Hurricane Laura. The destruction was catastrophic. Supposedly the last time this happened was in the 1860’s. Now here we are in February, and the entire south is wrapped up with sub-freezing temperatures and every kind of wacky winter precipitation you can throw in the mix!
Let me just tell y’all. Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi are NOT equipped to handle this mess. But I continue to be impressed by the resilience of the people here in the south country. There are so many in our area willing to come together and lend a helping hand to those in need. I have seen it during every kind of crisis that comes our way. Hurricanes, floods, tornadoes…and this week, Snowpocolypse! I guarantee, as soon as we are able to leave the house (we don’t have snow plows down here) people will once again come together to help!
The Mission Field of Our Kitchen Tables
Time and again, the events of the last 12 months have forced us to stay home. I wonder what God is up to in all of this? I wonder if He is returning us to the mission field of our kitchen tables, serving the people that live inside our own four walls. It’s possible that a lot of us have never spent so much time with our families. We are so very fortunate. Since we homeschool, life has not altered drastically for us. And yet, I still have found that I have to create the intention to serve my family well during this time.
The fact becomes abundantly clear that we can’t control much in this life. But we can choose to create a safe, warm and comforting place for the people we love. In the face of the worst winter weather I have ever seen since moving here 22 years ago, I can cook a comforting meal for them. It doesn’t get much more comforting than chicken and sausage gumbo!
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo is the Cure for Historic Cold Temps!
Chicken and sausage gumbo is the perfect answer to this unprecedented cold. It’s spicy and full of warm flavors, and quite satisfying! We get an additional kick of heat from a generous splash of hot sauce. Gumbo has a really interesting history and making it is almost an art form in itself. Louisianan’s take gumbo pretty seriously. But if you ask 10 people how to make gumbo, you will get 10 different answers. I’m clearly not a purist. I’m gonna be perfectly honest with y’all. I don’t like okra unless it is heavily breaded and deep fat fried. You will not find okra in my recipe. I also don’t like file powder. The good thing about gumbo is that it is easily adaptable, so if you like okra and file, feel free to throw it in the soup pot!
Gumbo is the Perfect Vehicle for Leftovers
Historically, gumbo is just a pot full of whatever you have on hand. The most frugal way to make chicken and sausage gumbo, or any kind of gumbo, is to use up leftovers. There is generally a lot of meat involved. So the best thing to do is to keep leftovers from several meals in the freezer until you are ready to make your gumbo. I didn’t have leftovers in my freezer for this recipe, so I will show you how to make it from the start. In my version of chicken and sausage gumbo, I also include ground beef along with chicken breast and sausage from a local butcher.
Without a doubt, gumbo will always include what southerners call the trinity, which is celery, onion, and bell pepper. Yep, that’s how seriously the people of Louisiana take their gumbo! They also make a roux with some kind of fat and flour. I used butter and added flour, but I did not cook it until it was a deep brown color. Honestly, I have never done it that way, so my recipe looks more like gravy in the beginning. Another key element for me is the broth. Sierra shared a really easy way to make homemade stock in a crock pot. Everything tastes better, like it has been simmering on the stove all day, with homemade bone broth!
How to Serve Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Gumbo is always served over rice. It is so hardy and filling, you can just serve it up in a bowl for a complete meal. Of course you can add some crunchy french bread or buttery corn bread. It’s even better if you can cozy up to a fire with a couple of blankets and a good movie. I hope y’all enjoy this Louisiana classic! Let me know how you are keeping warm in this crazy winter weather in the comments! God bless from the frozen tundra of the south country! Haha!
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo:
- 3-4 Chicken Breasts
- 1-2 Packages Smoked Sausage
- Ground Beef
- 4 Green Onions, sliced thin
- 1 Large Onion, chopped
- 3 Stalks Celery, chopped
- 1 Bell Pepper, chopped
- 5-6 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
- 1 Stick of Butter
- 1/2 Cup Flour
- 1-2 Quarts of Chicken Broth
- 1 Quart of Water
- 2 Cups of Rice boiled in 4 Cups of Water
- 2-3 Bay Leaves
- 1 Teaspoon Thyme
- 1 Teaspoon Basil
- 1/4 Cup Parsley
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cajun Spice Blend
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
- 1 TBsp. Lemon Juice
- Hot Sauce to taste
First off, you need to get all your meats cooking. Place 4-5 Chicken Breasts in a 375* oven, seasoned with salt and pepper, until cooked through. In a separate pan, brown the ground beef with the chopped green onions, seasoned with salt and pepper. In a skillet, saute the smoked sausage. I like to cook the sausage to crisp it up and to drain off the fat. While all the meats are cooking, start chopping celery, onions and bell pepper and cook them until soft in your soup pot with some butter. Mince garlic cloves and add those to the veggies as well. Once the vegetables are soft, add the remainder of 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of flour. Mix together until you form a paste. At this point, you can continue cooking it for color, but I did not do that. Next, add the chicken broth 1 cup at a time, mixing constantly.
Continue to stir until fully incorporated and the liquid is thick and creamy. Add all the spices along with 1 can of petite diced tomatoes, and hot sauce to taste. Next, add all the meats to the soup pot. Try to drain off all the fat from the sausage and the ground beef, but keep those juices from the chicken breasts!
To make rice, simply place 2 cups of rice in a pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and immediately turn off the burner. Allow to cook from the residual heat with the lid on for 5-10 minutes, and you will have perfectly cooked rice. Serve your Chicken and Sausage Gumbo over the rice and garnish with sliced green onions and another splash of hot sauce. I hope you enjoy this warm and cozy Louisiana classic!