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A rich chicken broth and roux set the foundation for this authentic gumbo from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.
"In Louisiana, everyone has his or her own preference when it comes to gumbo thickness," says Emeril. "This one is about middle of the road, which is the way I prefer it — not too brothy and not too thick. It is easy to adjust the thickness by using less broth for a thicker gumbo and/or adding more for a thinner consistency."
Adapted from Essential Emeril: Favorite Recipes and Hard-Won Wisdom From My Life In the Kitchen by Emeril Lagasse. Copyright © 2015 by Emeril Lagasse. Used with permission by Oxmoor House. All rights reserved.
If making the Rich Chicken Stock, reserve the shredded chicken meat and broth as the recipe instructs. If using it the same day, let the broth cool before starting the gumbo.
Make a roux the color of milk chocolate: Combine the oil and flour in a heavy-bottomed pot, like a cast iron or enameled cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Stir constantly over medium-high heat with a wooden spoon. Once the roux begins to color slightly, turn the heat down now to medium or medium-low. Continue to stir, being even more vigilant about stirring and paying attention to what is going on in the pot. If at any point the roux is browning too fast, turn the heat down further. Cook, stirring continuously, until the roux is the color of milk chocolate. (The best way to keep a roux from getting any darker is to have the vegetables and sausage prepped for the next step and to add them immediately; this will immediately drop the temperature of the roux.)
Immediately add the onions, celery, garlic, bell pepper, cayenne, and sausage, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. If the broth has cooled by this time, add it to the roux mixture along with the salt, black pepper, and bay leaf, and bring to a gentle simmer. Continue to simmer, skimming any foam or excess oil that comes to the top, until the sauce is flavorful and thickened to the desired consistency, and any trace of floury taste is gone, about 2 hours.
Add the chicken, green onions, and parsley to the gumbo and continue to simmer about 30 minutes longer. Don’t stir too much or the chicken will fall apart into shreds. Adjust the thickness, if necessary, by adding water or more broth. Adjust the seasoning with salt and cayenne as needed.
Serve the gumbo in shallow bowls over hot white rice. Have the hot sauce and filé at the table for guests to use to their liking.