Cooking Classes


Chicken and Sausage Gumbo from the Daring Cooks

When I was in Tennessee last year, I bought a whole pantry full of southern ingredients.  I have hardly used them!  This is a great challenge.  I can finally use my gumbo filé.  I also used Tony Cacheres Creole seasoning mix rather than make my own.  I also cut the entire recipe in half!  It is a huge recipe and could easily feed a crowd for a party.

This is so delicious.  I know you will take one look at this recipe and say, "Nope. Too much work."

It is worth every hour.  If you keep homemade chicken stock and rendered duck fat in your freezer, there, it is half done!  I used what I had at hand.  There is no andouille sausage in my town so I used chorizo.  Smoked spicy sausage was substituted with double smoked pepperoni.  For the rice, I used basmati.  But you must remember that basmati is so delicate and cooks quickly.  Take the lid off after 12 minutes and let the moisture escape.

I used a large cast iron pan but you could easily use a cast iron casserole. 

The most fun was to make the roux.  I remember when I was a child that my mother would make gravy and start with a roux of fat and flour that she would cook until it was a nice colour.  This just takes that browning a little farther.

Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Minimally adapted from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh
Serves 6

1/2 cup rendered duck fat
1/2 cup flour
1/2 large onions, diced
1 chicken (3 ½ to 4 lbs.), cut into 10 pieces
1 tablespoon Basic Creole Spices (recipe follows), or store-bought Creole spice blend
1/2 pound spicy smoked sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons of homemade tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 quart homemade duck stock
1 bay leaf
6 ounces andouille sausage, chopped
1 cup sliced okra, ½ -inch thick slices (or frozen, if fresh is not available)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Filé powder, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
4-6 cups  cooked Basic Louisiana White Rice (recipe follows)

Season the chicken pieces with about 2 tablespoons of the Creole Spices while you prepare the vegetables.

Make sure all of your vegetables are cut, diced, chopped, minced and ready to go before beginning the roux. You must stand at the stove and stir the roux continuously to prevent it from burning.

In a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan, heat the duck fat over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil – it will start to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate, and continue whisking until the roux becomes deep brown in color, about 15 minutes.

Add the onions. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir the onions into the roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue stirring until the roux becomes a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken to the pot; raise the heat to moderate, and cook, turning the pieces until slightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the sliced smoked sausage and stir for about a minute.

Add the celery, bell peppers, tomato, and garlic, and continue stirring for about 3 minutes.

Add the thyme, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, skimming off the fat from the surface of the gumbo every so often.

Add the chopped andouille, okra, and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper, several dashes of filé powder, and Tabasco, all to taste.

Simmer for another 45 minutes, continuing to skim the fat from the surface of the gumbo. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls over rice. Pass more filé powder at the table if desired.

Basic Louisiana White Rice

Adapted from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh
Servings: About 4 cups

1 tablespoon chicken fat, extra-virgin olive oil, or butter
1 small onion, minced
1½ cups  Louisiana (or another long-grain white rice)
3 cups  Basic Chicken Stock
1 bay leaf
1-2 pinches salt

1. Put the fat, oil, or butter and the onions into a medium saucepan and sweat the onions over moderate heat until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Pour the rice into the pan and stir for 2 minutes.
3. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
4. Add the bay leaf and salt.
5. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from the heat, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.

Basic Creole Spices

From My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh
Makes ½ cup

2 tablespoons celery salt
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground allspice

Mix together all spices in a bowl. Transfer the spices to a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. Store up to six months.


  1. Love the pan! When you were here in TN, did you get to go buy the Lodge outlet? It's my favorite place to add to my already-way-to-big cast iron collection!

  2. The more years that I blog the longer my list gets of dishes I must try.

  3. Isn't it great when you can use up some beloved pantry ingredients? The gumbo looks fantastic, the deep color of the roux really make it look so rich and delicious!!

  4. Wonderful, Sarah! Absolutely mouthwatering, and it looks even yummier in that gorgeous cast iron pan. Amazing job on the challenge!

  5. Yum! Your gumbo looks good. Great job on this challenge.

  6. The duck fat in this gumbo recipe brought this already delicious recipe to a whole new level.

    This looks so delicious. A perfect meal especially if you are still feeling a chill in the air.


  7. Duck fat is stunning to make roux and the final gumbo looks fabulous well done on this challenge. The colour of the liquid is amazing so brown and thick lovely lovely lovely.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  8. Certainly mouthwatering! What a beautiful color and great photos. Nice job!

  9. Sarah - Thank you for participating in my challenge! That first photograph is just heavenly, so authentic and rich! It it's ok, I'll be using that photo, with a link to your post, in a special round-up I'm creating.

  10. Beautifully done! Looks so delicious, great job on this challenge!

  11. I just loved your post in the DC forums with that pan and the duck fat. Almost anything that starts out like that will taste wonderful when finished.

  12. Wow! This is an amazing recipe and the photos are wonderful. I remember my Aunt making that kind of gravy.

  13. This looks absolutely mouthwatering. Nice colour and texture! All the photos look stunning and thanks for step by step instructions. I have the same pan as yours, and it is perfect for cooking any kind of stew and even crepes. I love this recipe. Nice job!

  14. Your roux photos are lovely. Great work, Sarah!

  15. I've never made a gumbo, Sarah, but one thing I do know...the roux is the important thing here. This looks marvelous.
    Those old cast iron pans are the best!

  16. Your Gumbo looks wonderful!!

  17. I don't mind long ingredient lists, as long as the assembly is quick. I love food simmering for hours, too; it smells so nice! It looks like it was great.

  18. Looks fantastic!! I am so daring :)

  19. Hi Sarah, just love your blog!! Also love the fact that you use cast iron, for some things there are no substitutions and cast iron is one of them!! Most wonderful gravies, sauces and fried potatoes and onions!!



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