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Cajun Gumbo

Cajun Gumbo
Susan Russo for NPR

Traditionally, New Orleans' gumbo is thickened with okra, file powder (a powder made from dried sassafras leaves) or roux (a paste of flour and fat). Because file powder isn't widely available, many gumbo recipes call for a mixture of okra and roux. This Cajun gumbo recipe is based on several gumbo recipes by Emeril Lagasse. Frozen, unthawed okra may be substituted.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 pound smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, divided

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped green bell peppers

1 pound okra, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

9 cups low-sodium chicken broth

4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 cups cooked white rice

Hot sauce

In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot, over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup vegetable oil and the flour. Cook, stirring slowly and constantly for 15 to 20 minutes, to make a medium brown roux. Set aside.

In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon, and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

Season the chicken with 1/2 tablespoon Creole seasoning. Add it to the pot and cook until well browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Add the onions, celery and peppers and cook, stirring until just wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add okra, and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until it releases its "slime." Add the reserved sausage, chicken, salt, cayenne and remaining 1/2 tablespoon Creole seasoning, and cook for 2 minutes. Stirring, slowly add the chicken broth, until well combined. Bring to a boil. Add the roux, a little at a time, whisking to incorporate. When all of the roux has been added, bring gumbo to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. When finished, stir in fresh parsley.

Spoon cooked rice into serving bowls and ladle gumbo on top. Serve with hot sauce.

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