Short Cut Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
It’s that time of year…the weather is cold and I’m in the mood to cook and hunker down inside. When the weather forecast predicts a cold snap in Texas, this Louisiana girl’s first thought is gumbo before chili! While I do love me some chili when it’s cold, gumbo is a tradition and a favorite in our family.
Realistically, I can’t (or don’t) always want to spend all afternoon cooking when I don’t have to. But I still love homecooked gumbo! So over the years, I’ve come up with some shortcuts that I find just as delicious and that allow me to make cooking a pot of gumbo less of a chore!!
I have two main secrets to this easy and quick version of chicken and sausage gumbo:
Use a premade roux.
My least favorite part of making gumbo from scratch is stirring the roux and babysitting it for 45 minutes so the flour browns to just the right shade of dark brown but doesn’t burn. Since roux is just flour browned in oil, I don’t feel like this shortcut cheats the flavor at all! I know I will take some grief from roux purists, but for me the ease is totally worth it. As an added bonus, my house doesn’t smell like roux, but just a delicious gumbo. Believe me, cooking a roux can really smell up the whole house for a while!
There are two kinds of premade roux…powdered roux and roux in a jar (which I prefer). This is a brand that I like that is usually available to me in grocery stores where I live:
A whole jar makes A LOT of gumbo – really two pots. It can be a bit of a challenge to get only some of it out of the jar because it separates into the flour and oil. It took me several frustrating attempts before I figured out I was wasting my time trying to mix it back together. You can simply pour off the oil and take out the amount of cooked flour you want with a fork. You’ll want to break it up with the fork in a bowl before you add it and whisk it into hot liquid very slowly to make sure it dissolves.
As I mentioned, you can also use a powdered roux like this:
The other huge timesaver is to use precooked rotisserie chicken. You can also throw any leftover chicken you have in, but this gumbo calls for quite a lot so you’ll probably need to buy chicken just for this recipe. My favorite to use in this gumbo are these packages sold at Costco:
Here are a couple of other time saving tips if you are trying to speed things along further:
Use precut vegetables for your trinity (onions, bell peppers, and celery). Grocery stores usually sell them in both their freezer section and in the produce section. (I personally prefer to chop my own so I can get the ratio I want and I have the option to use organic vegetables if possible.)
Since it is best to add hot liquid to the roux and cooked veggies to aid in dissolving the flour, I boil a pot of the water in my electric tea kettle to add until the roux is dissolved and then I use room temperature water for the remainder. So much faster!
I’ve included the basic steps that I use to put together gumbo in the recipe below with approximate measurements for ratios. I say approximate because I rarely measure everything exactly for this recipe and there is some leeway in the amount of spices and vegetables depending on the way you like it!
With the shortcuts, most of the hands-on prep time goes into cutting up the sausage. I slice it lengthwise into either halves or quarters first and then cut those into pieces about 1/2″ thick. Here I did halves:
I like to use “Slap Ya Mama” for my Cajun seasoning because I think it has a little less salt. I am always mindful of this because I add quite a bit of seasoning to get the flavor and spice level that I like and as I add, it keeps adding salt as well. It can get too salty for me by the time it has enough flavor!
We are in the “no okra” camp for our gumbo. People seem to fall into one or the other. I’m not opposed to file´ but I usually don’t have any on hand so I don’t typically use it in my gumbo.
I’d love to hear your time saving hacks if you have any different ones!
Bon Appetit Y’all!!
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Short Cut Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- 1 lb. Beef Smoked or Andouille Sausage, Cut into 1/2" halves or quarters
- 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped Onion
- 1/2 cup chopped Green Bell Pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped Celery
- 3 cloves minced Garlic
- 1/2 jar Roux, 1/2 jar = 1 cup
- 2 1/2-3 quarts Boiling Water, see notes in post or below, add to desired thickness
- 2- 2 1/2 lbs. Rotisserie Chicken Pieces (from Costco if available), cut or tear to desired size
- 3-4+ tbsp. Cajun Seasoning, Slap Ya Mama, Tony Cachere's, or your preferred cajun seasoning to taste
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Thyme
- 4 sliced Green Onions
- Hot Cooked Rice
- Brown the sausage in a Dutch oven. Remove and set aside on paper towels to drain.
- Boil water in either an electric tea kettle or a separate pot on the stovetop. (see tip in the post above or notes below)
- Add oil to the Dutch oven and heat to medium. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Saute until just tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add half a jar of roux to the vegetables and stir together.
- Gradually stir in boiling water to desired thickness. (see tip in the post above or notes below)
- Add chicken, cajun seasoning, bay leaves, Worcestershire, and thyme according to the recipe and to your taste.
- After the mixture heats on medium, turn it down to simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.
- Add the sausage and green onions and cook for 15 more minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves and serve over hot rice.