Story by Susan Swagler and photos by Brit Huckabay
Conecuh Sausage and Chicken Gumbo
This recipe was developed by Executive Chef Rita Bernhardt at Satterfield’s Kitchen. Click here for the full story.
- 1 roasted chicken (about 5 pounds, picked off the bone)
- 1 pound Conecuh sausage
- 1 cup oil (drippings from sausage, bacon fat, canola oil)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups diced onions
- 1 cup diced green bell peppers
- 1 cup diced celery
- ¼ cup minced garlic
- 3 quarts of stock (chicken/beef/pork)
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Tabasco to taste
- 2 cups (dry) white rice, steamed
- Sliced green onions for garnish
- Roast the chicken, and set it aside to cool (reserve any cooking juices for your gumbo!). You can also use any game meat: rabbit or duck are tasty options. Alternatively, a rotisserie chicken from your favorite grocer is a wonderful substitute. Pick all the meat off the bone of whatever meat you decide to use, and set it aside.
- Slice the sausage lengthwise, and cut it into half-inch pieces. In a hot, lightly oiled pan, render the sausage until it is browned and crispy. Strain the grease from the sausage, remove from the pan, and set the sausage aside.
- Start the roux in a stockpot with at least a two-gallon capacity. Add the oil (I generally use a combination of the sausage drippings, any leftover bacon grease and canola oil), and warm it over medium heat. Add the flour, and whisk until the roux is the color of milk chocolate, about 45 minutes. This is a labor of love: Do not rush the process, and pay close attention! A dark-roux gumbo needs time to develop flavor, and there shouldn’t be any scorching at the bottom of the pot. When finished, the roux should taste bitter like coffee but not bitter from burning, and it should look smooth and not like sand.
- Add the onions, bell peppers, celery and garlic to the roux, and continue to cook it over medium heat for about three minutes while constantly stirring with a spoon.
- Slowly add the stock to the roux while whisking it. I usually make my own stock the day before with pork bones, but a high quality, all natural, no-salt-added chicken stock works well as a substitute. Add the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper to taste. Cook the mixture for about two hours on medium-low heat. Stir every few minutes.
- After a couple hours of cooking, the gumbo will have a smooth, light consistency and no longer have a chalky roux taste. It should not look like gravy; if it is too thick, add a little stock. Add more salt and pepper to taste and several dashes of Tabasco. Properly seasoning with salt is important. A good dark-roux gumbo should be almost too salty as the salt combats the bitterness of the roux.
- Serve the gumbo over a heaping spoonful of warm white rice. Add chopped green onions to garnish.
The recipe makes 1 gallon of gumbo, serves 12.