I am often asked, “What do you prefer to do with leftover smoked meat?” I recently learned for a great idea for using the leftovers in a gumbo — a heavily seasoned soup or stew that combines several varieties of meat or seafood with a sauce or gravy.
Traditionally, gumbo features sausage and other meats like chicken, duck and pork. Generally it does not contain beef. Some versions have seafood. Most use okra as a one of the ingredients because it also acts as a thickening agent. Most all cooks agree the roux (flour + fat combination) is a basis for good gumbo.
I got the hankering for my recipe because I had sausage and left-over smoked chicken…but not all of the other more traditional ingredients. So I improvised. And you can too!
Welcome to the Cookout!
- 2-3 cups, any leftover roasted and smoked meat (smoked chicken is best)
- 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup yellow bell, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeds removed and minced
- 1 cup okra chopped
- 2 celery ribs, sliced
- 2 quarts hot water (or chicken stock)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, or improvise with other spices
- your favorite hot sauce
- Filé powder (optional)
- cooked rice (firm is better) warm
- Cook sausage in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until browned - remove from pot and set aside, reserving drippings.
- Add enough oil to drippings in Dutch oven to measure 1/2 cup. Add flour, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 20 to 25 minutes, or until roux is chocolate colored. This step is critical - and can't be rushed.
- Stir in onion, bell pepper, okra and celery.
- Cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until tender.
- Gradually add 2 quarts hot water (or stock), and bring mixture to a boil; add chicken, garlic, and next 5 ingredients. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour.
- Add sausage to gumbo; cook 30 minutes. Stir in green onions; cook for 30 more minutes.
- Add chicken to gumbo, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves.
- If you wish to make seafood gumbo, add peeled and cleaned shrimp, scallops, etc. near the final 5 minutes, and just before serving, to ensure it doesn't over cook.
- Remove gumbo from heat. Sprinkle with filé powder, if desired. Serve over hot cooked rice with hot sauce on the side.
Roux is a critical element of this dish - be sure to practice making it, as it's really the only part of the cooking that requires your focused attention.