Here is a recipe for a great gumbo with a roux that practically makes itself. Seriously! You may remember my shrimp gumbo that – while delicious – required a one-hour stirring period for the roux. At the time I thought there was no way around that but it turns out I was dead wrong. Alton Brown has a genius method of making a roux in the oven! You whisk oil and flour together, then place the mix in a 350-degree oven for 1.5 to 2 hours and you get the same result as you do when sitting at the stovetop stirring, yawning and probably also burning yourself. Overall the recipe takes longer but it is much, much less work. Try it out, I bet you’ll love it! :)
- ½ cup peanut oil
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 2 Andouille sausages, sliced
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika*
- 3 green onions, sliced
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk peanut oil and flour in a Dutch oven until smooth.
- Put the Dutch oven in the, well, oven and let the roux bake in the uncovered pot until it has a chocolate color (1½ – 2 hours). Whisk the roux every 40 minutes.
- Let the roux cool down to almost room temperature.
- Transfer the roux into a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the canola oil in the Dutch oven until shimmering.
- Add sausage and chicken and brown on all sides. Transfer into a bowl and set aside.
- Add onion, bell pepper and celery to the oil you browned the meat in and saute on medium heat until they start to soften (about 8 minutes.)
- Add the garlic and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- Add the chicken broth, then stir in the roux and let the mix come to a boil, stirring continuously.
- Add the bay leaves, thyme, oregano and Hungarian paprika, put on the lid and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
- Add the chicken and the sausage and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Serve with rice and sprinkle on some green onions.
Food Photography and Styling: Because of the sausage this gumbo is a bit fatty and I wanted to be sure to bring that across by showing its shiny surface. To create some nice highlights on the surface I lit the set slightly from the back (with my Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 strobe and my Hensel Ultra IV Softbox – 35×58″ (90x150cm)). I used my Heath ceramics bowl because its blue color worked best with the brown food. I kept the white balance very cold simply because I liked it best that way. To finish the photo off I produced just a tiny hint of steam.
Lens: I took this photo with my 105mm f2.8 NIKKOR macro lens. You can find the current version of this lens through the following link (I use an older version that is no longer being sold): AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens.
Camera: I used my Nikon D600 to take this photo. You can find the current version of this camera through the following link: Nikon D610 DSLR Camera.