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Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Chef notes

The slow-cooked dark roux is the cornerstone of this wonderful one-pot dish. All of the ingredients build on the flavor of the roux as each adds another layer of divinely rich taste in this classic New Orleans dish.


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into quarter size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • cups flour
  • cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • cups chopped or thinly sliced smoked pork sausage, such as andouille
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups cooked rice or potato salad
  • 2 teaspoons file powder (optional)
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced



Put chicken pieces in a bowl. Mix chicken with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and celery salt. Set aside.


In a heavy-duty Dutch oven over medium heat, add the canola oil and flour and stir constantly until the roux turns a deep brown color, like milk chocolate. It is very important you stir constantly, or the roux will burn. The whole process should take about 20-30 minutes, so be patient and get a good color to your roux in order to achieve an authentic Cajun gumbo.


Add the seasoned chicken to the hot roux and stir for 3 more minutes.


Add the chopped onion, celery and green pepper to the roux and stir to blend well.


Add the chicken broth, diced sausage and bay leaves; bring all to a simmer. Once the liquid is simmering, reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes.


Remove gumbo from the heat and ladle into serving bowls.


Top each bowl with a large spoonful of white rice or potato salad and sprinkle a 1/4 teaspoon of file over the top, as well as a pinch of chopped scallions.