The roux is the most important building block to any great gumbo. Although this roux seems unconventional, it is much easier than standing at your stovetop and stirring for an hour.
¾ Cup White Flour
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Onion, Green Pepper and Celery Stick finely chopped
5 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Thyme
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
4 Cups chicken Broth
¼ Cup Asian Fish sauce
4 Bone in chicken thighs, skin on
8 oz. Andouille Sausage, halved and sliced into ½ inch slices
2 Cups frozen okra (optional)
2 Lbs. Extra Large Shrimp (you can use crawfish too or a bag of shrimp tail meat)
Salt and Pepper
For the Roux
Heat oven to 350°. Toast ¾ Cup flour in a Dutch oven on the stove top over medium heat, stirring until it starts to turn brown; about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the oil and stir until smooth. Cover and transfer to the oven and cook 45 minutes until a rich dark brown.
Remove roux from oven to the stovetop. In a food processor, whirl onion, green pepper and celery until finely chopped. Add to the roux and stir until vegetables are softened. Next add 1 TBSP flour, garlic, thyme, cayenne and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, cook 1 minute, then stir in broth and fish sauce. Add chicken to the gumbo and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from gumbo, let cool. Then debone chicken and cut into chunks and return to gumbo. Stir in sausage and okra and heat through, 5 minutes. Add shrimp, without tails and cook 5 minutes until shrimp is cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Add tabasco if you like. Serve over steamed rice.
If you wish to make the gumbo the day before serving, the flavor like any soup, will be even more developed. I would add the shrimp the day I plan on serving it so the shrimp won’t be tough.