By Susan Benton
Chris Hastings and his wife Ide have such a passion for cooking, preserving food history, and sharing local ingredients on the plates at Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama, while celebrating all farmers and fisherman that bring them the best products. This 17 year collaboration between the couple has shifted the perception of Southern cuisine across the globe from fried to refined, with the James Beard Foundation taking note.
The recipe below is from Hot and Hot Fish Club, and I highly recommend using Conecuh Sausage in the dish. It is a family favorite! After Thanksgiving, plan to add your turkey to this recipe instead of the chicken.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Serves 10 to 12 (about 16 cups)
1 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup seeded and diced red bell pepper
1 cup seeded and diced poblano pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
7 cups Chicken Stock
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound Conecuh brand smoked sausage
1/2 pound andouille
1 pound sliced okra (fresh or frozen and thawed)
2 cups seeded and diced tomatoes
1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken, pulled into 2-inch pieces ( I use a rotisserie chicken)
1 cup chopped green onion tops
4 to 5 cups cooked rice, for serving
Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture darkens to a rich, reddish-brown color, 25- 30 minutes. (Be careful not to let the flour burn or the gumbo will taste burned. Throw it out and start over!)
Once the roux reaches the desired color, add the onion, celery, and peppers and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves and thyme and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, salt, pepper, and cayenne and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer the gumbo for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Tip: You can do this as prep- or – while the gumbo is simmering, slice the sausage lengthwise and then make crosswise cuts, forming 1/2-inch thick half-moons. Place the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is rendered and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry.
Add the cooked sausage, okra and tomatoes to the gumbo and simmer an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chicken and cook an additional 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt or pepper, if needed. Just before serving, remove and discard the bay leaves and stir in the green onions. Ladle the Gumbo into warmed soup bowls and top with cooked rice. Serve hot with a dash of Tabasco on the side.