New Orleans and gumbo for some are almost synonymous. That is something chef Meiko Johnson, aka Chef Mimi J, knows all about. Now she is sharing her recipe and the inspiration behind her special gumbo.
“I’m proud of my gumbo recipe. It’s a debatable thing in the Creole community. It’s a hot topic but me being the explorational cook, I have a lot of different recipes; oxtail gumbo, quail gumbo, the traditional chicken and sausage with seafood gumbo, but I guess the stable gumbo would be the gumbo with the chicken, sausage, shrimp and crab.”
This recipe is designed as a quick and easy gumbo that can even be made during the week. From start to finish the total cook and prep time should be no longer than 2 hours. The key thing to make this gumbo taste like it took 5 hours to cook is a good roux and flavor boosters. The key to making it in under two hours is teamwork.
1 whole cooked roasted chicken
2 32-ounce cartons chicken broth (flavor booster)
2 quarts water
4 bay leaves
1 satchel of crab boil (flavor booster)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup bacon drippings
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup butter
1 pound quality sausage, sliced
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend (add more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes
2 pounds dressed blue crabs
3 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoon gumbo file powder (flavor booster)
- Take the meat off the chicken and set it aside but keep your larger bone. Place the chicken broth, water, the reserved bones from the chicken, bay leaves, thyme and the crab boil in a large stock pot and allow to boil on high while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Make a roux by whisking the flour and 3/4 cups of bacon drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, constantly whisking until it turns a rich mahogany brown color. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch it carefully and whisk constantly or the roux will burn. If you see it getting too hot or cooking too fast remove the lift of the pan for a while continuing to whisk. Remove from heat, add a pinch of salt and pepper; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.
- While you are working on the roux, have your gumbo partner do the following steps. Chop the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic. Place the butter in a heated pot and allow it to melt. Place your veggies in the pot and cook until softened. Place the sliced sausage in a heated skillet and allow it to brown on each side. Once the sausage and veggies are done add them to your roux along with half a cup of the soup liquid and mix well.
- Remove the chicken bones from the stock pot. Mix in hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, and stewed tomatoes; stir well. Add your roux mixture and allow the soup to simmer on low heat for 45 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix in crab, shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended, 15 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the cooked chicken meat and 3 teaspoons of file gumbo powder. Serve with rice and enjoy.
NOTES & TIPS
- This gumbo will taste even better after day two.
The recipe is courtesy Chef Meiko Johnson. Read the article, “From the Cubicle to the Kitchen: World Travels Fuel Meika Johnson’s Culinary Journey,” and follow her on Instagram and TikTok for more great recipe ideas.