Chef Isaac Toups, of Toups Meatery, shows us in this video how to make a New Orleans style chicken and sausage gumbo. Isaac Toups Gumbo gives us insight into taking it slow and enjoying a beer while cooking. All this while crafting this amazingly savory stew.
The video starts off hilariously with Isaac insisting that you have a cooking beer on hand while cooking. As he says, cooking sober in general is a travesty! According to him cooking is all about enjoying yourself and it is something he takes to heart.
So lets get on to making this mouth-watering Isaac Toups Gumbo. Gumbo is a Cajun Stew which if you are a real Cajun, you won’t make until it is cold outside, cause who wants to eat a hot steaming pot of stew when it is hot outside?
This is the Gumbo that Isaac teaches to everybody because you can get chicken thighs and smoked sausage anywhere in the United States. Everybody has peppers, celery and onions, garlic, bay leaf, oil, chicken stock and of course beer. Basically if you cannot find these ingredients in the States you have to move!
Start by adding a pound of chicken thighs to a pan. Isaac uses boneless thighs but you can use bone in if you want, or even the whole chicken. Isaac likes the Chicken Thighs because according to him they have the most flavor and also has a lot of fat. Pour a little grape seed oil over the chicken followed by a bit of salt. Next add a lot of pepper, making sure you turn the chicken pieces over and season on both sides.
You want sear the chicken thighs so the broiler setting on your oven will be the best way to go about this. Cook it properly for eight minutes on each side so you can get a good hard sear on the chicken which will add a lot of depth and flavor to the Gumbo.
While the chicken is cooking we are going to start the roux, which is a mixture of oil or fat and flour, usually in equal parts. If this your first time making roux though you need to have your vegetables cut and ready to go first. Chop up the onions and bell peppers. Watch the video for some awesome tips from Isaac about how to tackle these two vegetables. Also dice up the celery and mince the garlic. Also dice up one Jalapeno Pepper by shaving it down the side without de-seeding it to badly.
Note that he kept all his onions, bell pepper and celery together but kept the garlic separate. That is because garlic has a low smoke point which means that it burns real easy. Back to the roux. Once the oil in the pot starts to smoke it is time to add the flour. Once you add your flour you should not walk away from it. Walk away and the roux will burn.
So it is half a cup of grape seed oil and half a cup of all purpose flour. Pour in the flour while stirring. You cannot over stir this, however you can under stir it and it will burn. Initially it is going to create a slurry which Isaac likes to call the white roux. In a couple of minutes you will have a blonde roux. If this is your first roux, take your time on a lower heat, taking up to 30 minutes.
Once the roux is the right color it is time to add the vegetables, excluding the garlic of course. Also add a pinch of salt to the mixture stirring it together and let it sweat a bit.
Time to check on the chicken. Remove the pan keeping the fat in there. Using the beer you deglaze the chicken (about 2 tablespoons of a nice amber beer). Back to the veggies. Now that it has calmed down a bit it is time to add the garlic.
When the onions are nice and translucent add about a cup of beer to the pot. Give everything a good stir for the next couple of minutes. Now we add the chicken stock, which will be about a quart of stock. Add it slowly while stirring. If you add it too fast and then stir it you get lumpy gravy.
At this point add the chicken in to the pot followed by the bay leaves, a teaspoon of fresh thyme and about half a tablespoon of salt. Also add 30 cracks of your black pepper. Chop up a pound of smoked sausage and add it to the pot. The stove heat should be on a good medium-high until the stew comes up to a simmer.
Once it is simmering cover the pot with a lid, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes. You cannot over-cook a gumbo. Isaac recommends that you have to let it cook for at least 3 hours for the roux to cook out and for it to develop all the flavors.
While the Isaac Toups Gumbo is cooking cook some white rice and slice up some green onion for garnish. Serve in a bowl with rice at the bottom and a generous helping of gumbo at the top, topping off with the green onion.