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This Is Calistoga

This Week In The Kitchen: Chicken & Andouille Gumbo, Tank Garage Winery

With Mardis Gras on the horizon, Tank Garage Winery in Calistoga thought it was high time for a little Cajun flare. Tank suggests you enjoy this dish with the wine, Angels With Dirty Faces, a knockout pairing for this classic Cajun stew. The liveliness from the Sauvignon Blanc and the texture from the skin-fermented Viognier match perfectly with the bold flavors and spice from the Gumbo. We think you’ll agree this is a recipe worth repeating.

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, Tank Garage
Oil, as needed
1.5 lbs Andouille Sausage, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
2 medium Yellow Onions, small dice
6 ribs Celery, small dice
2 each Green Pepper, small dice
1 head Garlic, minced
1 cup dark brown ​Roux
​1 each Whole Chicken, shredded
4 quarts Chicken Stock
Bay Leaf
Thyme Sprig
Cajun Spice Blend, to taste
Salt, to taste
Filé Gumbo Powder (optional)

For the Chicken Stock:
1 Whole Chicken
1 Onion, halved
2 ribs Celery, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Peppercorns, whole

For the Roux:
1 cup Bacon Grease (can substitute butter or oil)
1 cup Flour

For the Cajun Spice Blend
Equal parts:
Salt
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Cayenne Pepper
Black Pepper
White Pepper
Thyme
Oregano
Smoked paprika
Note: This spice blend is great on everything and can be stored in an air-tight container for up to one year. 

Method

For the Chicken Stock (can be made 1-2 days ahead of time):
Step One – Place whole chicken, onion, celery, bay leaf and spices in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer for 1-2 hours. 

Step Two – Remove chicken and set aside to cool. Strain stock and reserve for future use. 

Step Three – Once the chicken has cooled, remove the meat from the bones and shred. Set aside for future use. 

For the Roux (can be made ahead of time):
Step One – Melt bacon grease in a cast iron or heavy-bottomed pan and whisk in flour to combine fully. The mixture should resemble wet sand. (Note: while you can absolutely substitute butter or oil, there is nothing that compares to the flavor the bacon drippings add to this stew. Save your bacon drippings for future use when you’re whipping up breakfast on the weekends. You’ll thank me later.)

Step Two – Over medium heat, use a high-temp spatula to stir your roux constantly until it resembles a deep chestnut or chocolate brown color. This will take approximately one hour. Pay close attention at all times, as a roux can burn very quickly. Alternatively, the roux can be cooked in a 350º oven by combining fat + flour in an oven-proof vessel for 4 hours, stirring occasionally, until the desired color is reached.

Step Three – Once the desired color is achieved, remove the roux from the pan immediately, as it will darken further as it cools. 

For the Gumbo
Step One – Add 1-2 Tbs of oil to a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to ripple, add Andouille sausage and cook until browned, approximately 5-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from the pan and set it aside for future use.

Step Two – Add onion, celery, green pepper and 2-3 Tbs of the Cajun spice blend to the pot and sweat over medium heat until onions are fully translucent and the remaining vegetables are tender. Be sure to use a spatula to scrape off any stuck-on bits from the sausage! Add garlic and stir until fragrant, approximately 2 more minutes. 

Step Three – Add roux and chicken stock to the pot and stir to combine, making sure there are no lumps of roux remaining. Season to taste and add the thyme and bay leaf. Bring mixture to a boil and lower heat to simmer for one hour, skimming any fat as it accumulates. 

Step Four – Add shredded chicken and sausage to the pot and stir to combine. Simmer for an additional hour. Season to taste. 

Step Five – Remove the Gumbo from heat and discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf.  Season to taste and serve over warm rice with a side of your favorite cornbread. Top with an optional sprinkle of filé gumbo powder and chopped green onions!

Note: Gumbo is one of the most customizable dishes you can make! Swap out proteins depending on what you have on hand. This stew can be made as thick or thin as you like it and spiced according to the amount of heat your palate can handle. This is a great dish to make ahead of time and the flavor will continue to develop. Store for one week in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Makes approximately 1 gallon of Gumbo.

Recipe by Grace Coyne