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Paul Prudhomme’s Gumbo Hazel

July 10, 2010

The first time you make this, it’s labor intensive, but well worth the work and the mess. It gets easier every time you make it. Tweek it a bit, if you must (Jeanne uses boneless/skinless chicken cut into pieces rather than the cut up whole chicken.) Don’t be afraid – go for it! ~Kathy

Seasoning Mix:
1 tbsp. Plus 1 tsp. Dried parsley flakes
2 1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Paprika
1 1/2 tsp. Dried thyme leaves
1 1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
1 1/4 tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. Dry mustard
3/4 tsp. White pepper
3/4 tsp. Ground cumin
1/2 tsp. Onion powder

1 (3 to 3 1/2 lb) chicken, cut into 8 pieces, all visible fat removed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound Andouille sausage, cut diagonally into pieces about 2 inches long (you can also use Johnsonville Smoked Sausage)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chopped onion, in all
2 cups chopped green pepper, in all
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 bay leaves
2 quarts chicken stock (I use canned chicken broth)

Combine the seasoning thoroughly in a small bowl.

Sprinkle the chicken pieces all over with 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix and rub it in well with your hands.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken-skin side down, starting with the larger pieces, and cook turning once, just until golden brown on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes. Leave the thighs in longest, as they have the most fat to be rendered. Remove the chicken from the skillet and drain on paper towels.

Add the sausage to the oil in the skillet and cook, turning once, until browned, about 4 minutes. Remove the sausage and drain on paper towels. Pour 3/4 cup of fat from the skillet into a measuring cup and discard the rest.

Place the skillet over high heat until hot, about 30 seconds. Add the reserved fat and heat until hot, about 1 minute. Add the flour 1/4 cup at a time, whipping constantly with a wire whisk until all of the flour is absorbed and the mixture has become a light chocolate-colored roux. Quickly stir in 2 cups of the onions, 1 cup of the bell peppers, and the celery. Add 2 tablespoons of the seasoning mix, the parsley and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until the roux is thick and dark chocolate-colored, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a heavy 8-quart pot over high heat. When the stock is boiling, add the roux in 2 installments, whisking until the roux has thoroughly dissolved into the stock. Bring the mixture back to a hard boil, whisking often to ensure that the flour doesn’t separate and burn, about 9 to 11 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pot frequently with the whisk to be sure that the flour isn’t sticking. Add the browned chicken and sausage, the remaining seasoning mix, and the remaining 1 cup each onions and bell peppers. Stir well, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove chicken from the heat and take meat off of the bone, returning meat to the pot and discarding the bones. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.

Serve in shallow bowls over rice or potato salad. Makes 10 to 12 main-course servings.

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