Bar none, one of the highlights of being at good ol' Disneyland a week ago was the Chicken & Shrimp Gumbo from The Blue Bayou restaurant. As soon as we took the first (expensive) bite, we had died and gone to heaven. The flavors were so intense, a little spicy, filled with meat, and then a layer of creaminess all at the same time. OH BOY, it was a MUST re-create when I got home. To let you know just how good it was, I made this recreation of the soup the first day home from our trip. Somehow I thought amongst the piles of laundry and unpacking we would throw a last minute President's Day party and celebrate with this soup (what was I thinking?). We had a lot of fun though and the reviews were amazing! I even remembering hearing a few of my brother-in-laws say this was the best soup they have ever had--that's not too shabby!
Since we only have a few more days of our 'spice and salt' preparedness efforts, I thought this soup would be fun to blog about since it uses some new flavors/spices. One spice (if you can find it) is Gumbo File. I couldn't find it, but if you can, add 1 t. of it to the soup for a real authentic flavor. The other dominating spices in this soup are Cajun Seasoning and Creole Seasoning. If you don't have either one of these spices in your spice pantry, I suggest you get a couple. They are versatile and delicious in so many dishes--pastas, on potato wedges, in Cajun burgers, in hasbrowns, in meatloaf, etc. Give these two spices and try, you may find they are one of your new favorites!
On to the recipe...this makes a HUGE pot of soup. You can freeze the extras for later, or just 1/2 the recipe. I know it seems like a lot of ingredients and steps, but it actually comes together very quickly. I began making this soup at 5:34 and we began eating at 6:10--not too bad for a huge pot of soup!
Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo
4 T. olive oil
16 oz. pkg. frozen okra (surprisingly it is easy to find in the frozen section)
2 white or yellow onions, diced small
1 complete pkg./stalks celery, diced small
16 oz. pkg. smoked spicy sausage (I used Hillshire Farms--if you can find andouille sausage, use 1 lb. of that), sliced into rounds
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into small pieces
5 cloves garlic, minced
10 c. chicken broth/stock (I used 10 c. water & chicken base--about 2 T.)
2 t. salt (or more to taste)
1 1/2 T. Cajun seasoning (plus more for the rice & to season the shrimp & chicken) 1 T. Creole seasoning
1 t. Gumbo File (if you can find it-if not, leave it out)
4 cans diced tomatoes
2 T. fresh parsley (for garnish)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 lb. raw, deveined and tail removed shrimp
3/4 c. butter
3/4 c. flour
4 c. cooked rice
Fresh Parsley, chopped
2 T. lime juice
In a medium sized pan, begin making the dirty rice by adding 2 c. water and 2 c. rice to a pot. Season water/rice with 2 T. fresh parsley, about 1 t. cajun seasoning, and 2 T. lime juice. Cook as normal and keep warm until ready to serve soup.
In another medium sized pan, make the brown roux by adding the butter and flour to the pan. Cook on medium/high heat until the butter and flour mixture begins to brown. Continue cooking the roux until the roux becomes the color of a dark caramel (to be real authentic you continue cooking the roux until it is dark like chocolate--somewhere between caramel color and chocolate will be fine). Once the roux is done, add the chicken broth to the roux and mix well until combined. Set aside.
In a LARGE soup pot, add 2 T. of the oil with the onions. Saute until onions begin to be tender and soft. Add the frozen okra and continue to saute until okra begins to break down and become soft and slimy looking. Add the celery and green peppers to the onion/okra mixture (you may need a little more olive oil if the veggies are sticking too badly). Continue to saute until all of the vegetables are soft. Once they are tender, add the chicken stock to the large pot of vegetables and simmer while you are cooking the chicken and shrimp.
In the pot that the chicken stock/roux was in, add a little more olive oil and get the pan up to medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and saute until they are nearly cooked through. Season the chicken heavily with Cajun Seasoning. When the chicken is done, add it to the large pot. To the same pot that the chicken was cooked in, add the sausage rounds and warm until golden brown. Add the cooked sausage to the pot. Bring the small pan once again to medium/high heat and add another 2 T. of oil. When the oil is hot, add the raw shrimp that has been cleaned, tails removed, and de-veined to the pan. Saute in the oil until the shrimp begins to be opaque and pink. Season shrimp as well with Cajun Seasoning. When the shrimp is cooked, add that to the large soup pot.
Now that everything is in the large soup pot. add the diced tomatoes (if you don't like chunks you can puree the tomatoes first), and then add all of the seasonings. Let the soup simmer on low/medium until it begins to thicken and the meat is completely cooked (about 10-15 minutes).
When ready to serve, place about 1/4-1/2 c. of dirty rice in a bowl. Ladel 1-2 c. of soup on top of the rice. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
I served this soup with our homemade Red Lobster Garlic Cheese Biscuits (recipe coming soon!) Enjoy!!