Recipe

Gumbo Ya-Ya

This is a take on the famous gumbo that was created by Chef Paul Prudhomme for Mr. B's restaurant in the French Quarter. The secret to making a flavorful stock is to use a big stewing hen, (which is just a big female chicken somewhat older than most fryers), but if you cannot find a hen, or would prefer to substitute two smaller chickens, that would work just as well. Just try to use at least 6 pounds of chicken so that the stock is very rich. Good stock makes good gumbo!

  • Prep Time: 2 hours (includes time for making broth)
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Gumbo Ya-Ya

Ingredients

  • 1 hen (about 6 pounds)
  • 16 cups water
  • 2 medium-size yellow onions, quartered
  • 2 ribs celery, each cut into 6 pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 pound andouille or other smoked sausage, finely chopped, plus 1 pound smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions or scallions (green part only)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions

  • Put the hen, water, quartered onions, celery pieces, bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of the salt, and 1 teaspoon of the cayenne in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, partially covered, until the hen is tender, about 2 hours. Remove the hen, strain the broth, allow it to cool and reserve.  Makes about 3 quarts.

  • In a large, heavy pot or a Dutch oven over medium heat, combine the oil and flour. Stirring slowly and constantly, make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the chopped onions, bell peppers, chopped celery, garlic, and chopped sausage. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are very soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cayenne.  Add the reserved broth and stir until the roux mixture and broth are well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours.

  • Meanwhile, remove the skin from the hen and pick the meat off the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Coarsely chop the chicken meat. Add the chicken and the sliced sausage to the gumbo. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before skimming off the fat that has risen to the surface.

  • Stir in the green onions and parsley and serve the gumbo in individual soup or gumbo bowls.