Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Chicken & Smoked Sausage GumboThis is my favorite gumbo recipe! The flavors are complex with a good bit of heat, but not over the top.

The trick to the incredible depth of flavor is in cooking the roux. You can’t rush it, and need to bring it all the way to a milk chocolate color. We’re going to cook the veggies in it, so it will continue getting darker, with more complex flavors. Be careful to not burn it. Roux cooks much more quickly towards the end. It might take 15 minutes to go from “raw” to “coffee with cream,” another minute to go to “dark chocolate” and seconds to go to “burnt”.

Note that a lot of the flavor and heat comes from the Andoulli Sausage, and the sausage varies greatly by brand, so you may want to cook up a small piece first, taste it, and adjust the other seasonings accordingly.

This gets even better if stored overnight in the refrigerator, and will keep for hours in a crock-pot on “low” or “warm.”

This recipe originally appeared in “Louisiana Real and Rustic” by Emeril Lagasse with Marcelle Bienvenu, 1996, William Morrow & Co., New York, NY, and is used here with permission. I’ve made changes, but this is still mostly Chef Lagasse’s recipe, and it’s definitely his spice blend.

Many thanks to Emeril & Company for allowing me to post it.

1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Flour
2 Cups Chopped Onions
1 Cup Chopped Celery
1 Cup Chopped Bell Peppers
1 Lb. Andouille Sausage cut crosswise into 1/3-inch slices (I’ve used Johnsonville or D’Artagnan depending on availability)
1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
3 Bay leaves
4 – 6 Cups Water (to cover)
2 Lb. Chicken Thigh meat, cut into 1-inch chunks.
3-4 Tablespoon Rustic Rub (to coat chicken, to taste).
2 Tablespoon Chopped Parsley
1/2 Cup Chopped Green Onions
Cooked White Rice (Medium or Long Grain)
  • Preheat oven to 400° F
  • Combine the oil and flour in a large heavy-bottom pot and heat over medium-high heat.
  • Stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, make a roux, the color of milk-chocolate.
  • Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and continue to stir until soft, or until the roux looks like dark chocolate, whichever comes first.
  • Add the sausage, salt, cayenne
  • Continue to stir for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add water to cover and stir until the roux mixture and water are well combined, then add the bay leaves.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  • Season the chicken well on all sides with the rub;  Don’t be stingy! Cover all the sides of the chicken chunks. Add to the pot and bring to a simmer
  • Place in oven and simmer slowly until the liquid is thickened and reduced, generally around 1-2 hours.
  • This should have the consistency of a soup, with lots of chunks of meat in it. If it’s too much like “stew” add more water.

If serving immediately:

  • Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes. Then skim off all the fat from the surface.
  • Remove all the bay leaves. Count them! Make sure you remove the same number you put in. They’re sharp even when cooked, and you don’t want to feed any to your guests.

If serving the next day:

  • Place pot in the sink, cover and run cold water around the outside until the gumbo cools down to room temperature.
  • Remove all the bay leaves. Count them! Make sure you remove the same number you put in. They’re sharp even when cooked, and you don’t want to feed any to your guests.
  • Refrigerate overnight and skim off the fat.

Before serving:

  • Reheat if it was refrigerated.
  • Garnish with parsley and green onions.
  • Serve in deep bowls over white rice (I use Tamaki Gold), but any medium grain white rice should be good.


  • The roux is very hot. Be careful to not splash any on you.
  • If you want to save time, buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs. If you want to save money, buy them whole and bone them yourself.
  • The spice mix keeps well for at least 4-6 months in the freezer. Don’t be afraid to make a big batch and save the extra.
  • Asian grocery stores like Ahn’s in Syracuse have large packets of many of the spices for a lot less money than the grocery store, as does Sam’s Club