It can be made from any number of foods found in the kitchen, but the one I learned to cook has chicken and Andouille sausage as the main ingredients. You start by cutting the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and sprinkling them with a mixture of salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. After about thirty minutes of this dry marinade you coat them with flour and brown them in very hot lard. (ya, this isn't exactly health food)
After all the chicken has been cooked and set aside you add flour to the lard and make a roux. This is one of the most crucial parts of the whole recipe and it can not be rushed! Plan on staying at the stove stirring it constantly for about 45 minutes. Low heat and a watchful eye are paramount in this step. If you burn it, throw it out and start over again. I guarantee you will not disguise the flavor of a burnt roux. You'll know it's ready when your arm is about to fall off and it has a nice mahogany color to it. (the photo to the right is at about 30 minutes of cooking)
It's now time to add the onion, bell pepper and celery. These get cooked in the roux for about five minutes or until the onions are translucent. Next comes the chicken stock. Homemade is definitely the way to go here. Store bought (or canned) can be used, but the flavor isn't as good by any means and they also tend to have way too much salt in them.
After the stock comes to a boil,in goes the chicken and sliced sausages. After about 20 minutes another key ingredient is added, okra. Now if your nose just wrinkled up at the thought of eating okra, (like mine did the first time I saw the recipe) rest easy. With all the other flavors in the pot it just blends right in. Now I know it's not the flavor that most people find objectionable, it's the texture, but let me assure you that is not an issue either. In fact it is absolutely necessary for the soup. The physical characteristic of the okra is what thickens the soup perfectly.
From here the Gumbo is ready to enjoy. Put a small scoop of cooked white rice in a bowl, ladle some Gumbo over the top and garnish with a little chopped parsley and green onion.
Mmmmmm. . . . . Good!
The recipe I use is straight out of a cookbook I have titled, "Cajun-Creole Cooking" by Terry Thompson. If you want the actual recipe email me and let me know. I'll be happy to share it with you. I didn't want to post it because of respect for the copyright.
Oh, by the way, we had a green salad and some crab stuffed mushrooms to go with the Gumbo.