For Mardi Gras tonight, why not try cooking up some spicy and delicious chicken and andouille sausage gumbo.  If you can find Nodine’s Andouille sausages, it is the chef’s choice for the best tasting andouille sausage I’ve ever used.

CHICKEN & ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE GUMBO
Gumbo is flexible, so feel free to improvise!

1 pound andouille sausage, cut into ¼ inch thick slice
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 boneless skinless thighs
¼-1/3 cup olive oil
¾ cup flour
1 chopped onion
½ chopped green pepper
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 garlic cloves minces
4 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
½ teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
½ cup sliced green onions
Hot cooked rice
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
File (optional)

Brown andouille sausage over medium heat, stirring until no longer pink.
Remove sausage, reserve drippings in pan. Set sausage aside. Cut chicken breasts and thighs into one inch pieces, and brown in hot drippings over medium heat. Remove chicken, reserve drippings.

Measure drippings and add enough olive oil to measure ½ cup. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Whisk in flour for 10-12 minutes, whisking constantly until roux is caramel colored. Add chopped onion, pepper, celery and garlic. Gradually stir in water and broth, bring to boil. Add chicken, creole seasoning, thyme, bay leaves, (optional hot sauce). Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sausage and green onions and cook 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves. Thicken if desired with file*. Serve over rice.

*Chef’s Note: Filé powder, also called gumbo filé, is a spicy herb made from the dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree, native to eastern North America and used in Creole cooking Sprinkled sparingly over gumbo as a seasoning and a thickening agent, it adds a distinctive, earthy flavor and texture

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