Food & dining

Recipe: Layer the flavors, darken the roux. Mardi Gras is served.

Chicken, shrimp, and sausage gumbo Hazel.
John Blanding/Globe Staff
Chicken, shrimp, and sausage gumbo Hazel.

This is a recipe that begs for cast iron for frying and making the roux. Use a 12-inch skillet if you have one. A Dutch oven also works. A spatter screen is nice if you worry about grease getting everywhere. When it comes time to incorporate the roux into the stock, I like to whisk initially and then switch to a wooden spoon after adding the vegetables.

A few other hints: Think of the recipe as having three major stages — prep, browning the meat/flavoring the oil, and making the roux. Preparation is key, as things move fast once the iron is hot. Chop the vegetables, slice the sausage, make the seasoning mix. The onion and green pepper get added in two installments, so I measure what I need for each into separate bowls.

Once that’s done, I like to get the stock heating in its pot on the back of the stove. Bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down as low as it will go and cover it. That way, it’ll be ready to quickly return to a boil when the time comes.

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While the stock is heating, I rub the chicken with the spice mix, arranging the pieces on a plate or sheet pan. Have two plates lined with paper towels ready, one for the chicken after it’s browned and one for the sausage.

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You can certainly use store-bought stock and make great gumbo. In his books, Paul Prudhomme — from whom this recipe is adapted — gently encouraged making your own. If you happen to have shrimp shells or lobster shells lying around, the seafood stock is easy. Stir the shells and a little oil over medium heat until they’re aromatic, then add water to cover, a bay leaf or two, a sprig of thyme if it’s handy, a quartered onion, a little tomato paste, and some peppercorns. Simmer for about 30 minutes, strain, and you’re done. Steven Wilmsen

Chicken, shrimp, and sausage gumbo Hazel

Serves 10-12

1tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
teaspoons salt
2teaspoons paprika
teaspoons thyme
teaspoons garlic powder
teaspoons black pepper
1teaspoon dry mustard
¾teaspoon white pepper
¾teaspoon ground cumin
½teaspoon onion powder
¼teaspoon cayenne pepper
1chicken (3-3½ pounds), cut into eight pieces (2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts)
½cup vegetable oil
1pound andouille sausage, cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
¾cup flour
3cups finely chopped onion
2cups finely chopped green pepper
1cup finely chopped celery
½cup chopped fresh parsley
4bay leaves
1quart seafood stock
1quart chicken stock
1pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

1. In a small bowl, combine thoroughly the parsley flakes, salt, paprika, thyme, garlic powder, black pepper, mustard, white pepper, cumin, onion powder, and cayenne.

2. Sprinkle chicken pieces all over with 1 tablespoon of this seasoning mix. Rub it in well with your hands.

3. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken, skin side down, starting with the larger pieces, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and drain on paper towels.

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4. Add the sausage to the oil in skillet and cook, turning once, until browned, about 4 minutes. Remove the sausage and drain on paper towels. Pour ¾ cups of the fat from the skillet into a heat-proof measuring cup and discard the rest.

5. Place the skillet over high heat until hot, about 30 seconds. Add the reserved fat and heat until hot, about 1 minute. Add the flour, ¼ cup at a time, stirring constantly with a whisk until all of the flour is absorbed and the mixture has become a light chocolate-colored roux. Quickly stir in 2 cups of the onion, 1 cup of the green pepper, and the celery. Add 2 tablespoons of the seasoning mix, the parsley, and the bay leaves and cook, stirring, until the roux is thick and dark chocolate-colored, about 3-4 minutes.

6. In a heavy, 8-quart pot over high heat, bring the seafood and chicken stocks to a boil. When the stock is boiling, add the roux in two installments, whisking until the roux has thoroughly dissolved into the stock. Bring the mixture back to a boil, whisking often to make sure the flour doesn’t separate and burn, about 10 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pot frequently with the whisk to be sure that the flour isn’t sticking.

7. Add the browned chicken and sausage, the remaining seasoning mix, and the remaining 1 cup each of onion and green pepper. Stir well, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the shrimp, cover, and let sit 10 minutes. Serve over steamed white rice. Adapted from “Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seasoned America,” by Paul Prudhomme

Steven Wilmsen can be reached at wilmsen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @swilmsen.