Deshotels Family Cajun Gumbo

Deshotels Family Cajun Gumbo

Makes 20 to 24 servings. Recipe is by Melissa and James Deshotels. The Deshotelses’ three children call this the “First North Wind Gumbo,” since that’s usually when they make it for the first time in the fall. Since Melissa and James Deshotels both come from large families, they only know how to make this recipe for a crowd (but it can easily be halved.) When they make it at their home in Baton Rouge for their family of five, they freeze leftovers as individual servings. NOTE: Only freeze if using meat products that have not already been frozen.

Seasoning Mix:

2 tbls. salt

1 tbl. black pepper

1 tbl. cayenne pepper

Gumbo:

2 fryers, cut into serving portions (leave skin on)

7 quarts water, divided

16 ozs. (2 cups) dark roux, homemade or purchased

2 tbls. salt

5½ cups chopped yellow onion

2 large bell peppers, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

8 ozs. pure pork tasso (mild), cut into ¾-inch pieces

2 lbs. smoked pork sausage, cut into ½-inch slices

2 tbls. minced garlic

½ cup chopped green onions

Filé (optional)

Cooked white rice (preferably short grain)

1. Combine seasoning mix ingredients and rub into chicken pieces. Set aside.

2. In a large gumbo pot, add 6 quarts cold water, roux and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat until roux is fully dissolved, stirring to prevent roux from sticking to bottom of the pot.

3. Raise temperature to high and add onion, bell pepper, celery, tasso, sausage and seasoned chicken. Bring to a boil. Add remaining quart of water and garlic.

4. Continue a rolling boil for approximately one hour, or until chicken starts falling off the bone. Taste for seasoning.

5. Remove pot from heat. Remove chicken and cool enough to debone and remove skin. If necessary, skim any oil off top of gumbo. Add chicken back to pot and bring to a quick boil then remove from heat. Add green onions.

6. Serve in a bowl over rice and add optional filé. Garnish with additional chopped green onions.