Gumbo is the quintessential New Orleans dish. Every New Orleanian has their own style or version. It is incredibly personal and yet universally loved.
Technique tip: Take the time to caramelize the onions and peppers in the hot roux. This is what gives the gumbo it's deep, rich flavor.
Swap option: Just about anything can go in a gumbo, from oysters to wild duck and even boar.
In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil or fat to 350°F. Carefully add the chicken thighs to the pot and fry for five minutes or until golden brown. Flip the thighs and brown for an additional 4 minutes. Carefully remove the thighs from the pot and reserve.2.
Whisk in the flour to the already hot fat, being careful of the rising steam. Continue stirring the roux with the wooden spoon until it reaches a dark brown. Add the onions, peppers, celery, garlic, ginger and diced smoked sausage. Continue to stir the mixture over medium-high heat for another five minutes.3.
Stir in the rich chicken stock and add the black pepper, bay leaves, lemongrass and reserved chicken thighs.4.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes, skimming and discarding any skin that forms on the top. Once the chicken thighs are tender, carefully remove them from the pot, allow them to cool slightly, and then remove any bones and cartilage.5.
To finish, add the picked chicken meat back into the pot and season the gumbo to taste with salt, Worcestershire and hot sauce.6.
To serve, heat the oil in a cast iron pan and fry the andouille sausage and okra until golden brown. Add the roasted chicken thigh slices to the pan to re-warm. Add the fried garnish from the pan to the pot of gumbo right before serving. Serve with warmed rice and sliced scallions on the side.