To filé or not to filé? Okra in or okra out? Seafood or chicken and sausage? No matter how you answer these questions, someone will tell you why you are wrong and why your gumbo is not authentic. Case in point, you will notice this gluten free gumbo recipe does not contain shrimp. Why? Because I can't eat shellfish. However, a friend was quick to point out, "No shrimp - not gumbo!" He still ate two servings.
Instead of getting too picky, I like to think of gumbo as an adventure in a pot. You can play a little loose and free, adjusting seasonings and ingredients to suit your taste. The only thing I am adamant about is the color of the roux! It needs to be a deep, dark, chocolate colored roux that provides great depth of flavor. I say, without that dark roux, you are really just making soup.
2 hours, 30 minutes
Note - Making a dark roux can take 25-45 minutes depending on how low you keep the temperature. I always start this first in a separate pot so it can cook while I work on other parts of the recipe. This makes the whole process a little faster. Just don't forget to check in often and give it a good stir.
Combine the 1/2 cup oil and the Cheatin' Wheat Gluten Free Flour in a large pot. It will have a paste-like consistency. Cook over medium low heat, stirring very frequently, for 25 to 45 minutes. Cook the roux until it is the color of chocolate and smells a little like burnt popcorn. You will notice the consistency of the roux gets thinner as it cooks.
Meanwhile, in a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the chicken, skin side down, to the fat remaining in the pot. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned. Remove the chicken and set aside leaving the fat in the pot.
Turn the heat to low and add the onions, celery and bell peppers. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until soft.
Add all the spices, except the filé, and garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
Add the stock, bay leaves and chicken thighs. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally. Let the mixture simmer until the roux is ready. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface.
When the thighs are cooked, remove and let cool until they are easy to handle. Pick the chicken, discarding the skin and bones. Chop the chicken meat and add it back to the pot along with the reserved sausage.
When the roux is ready, it is time to combine it with the simmering liquid. Do not worry where you are in the cooking process, you can combine these two at any time. Add one ladle of liquid at a time to the hot roux, whisking thoroughly between each addition. The first addition will hiss, bubble and thicken up into a very stiff paste. It will look like you did something wrong. Keep adding small quantities of liquid, whisking constantly, until you have a very smooth, very thin paste that is free of lumps. (It is ok if bits of chicken, sausage or vegetable get added with the liquid.) Once it is thinned out, add the this mixture to simmering pot and stir to combine. Bring back to a simmer, add filé powder and taste to adjust seasoning.