Cindy Samford, My darling little cajun friend from Louisiana (an employee of Cloudcroft Schools) gave this recipe to me over 10 years ago. The recipe makes enough for an army and can't be beat. She is so right when she states, "the hardest part is the roux". This is where patience comes in and I am not a patient person. Do serve this with Louisiana Hot Sauce on the side.
1 onion, large, chop coarse
1 large green bell pepper, diced
4 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil (not olive oil)
2/3 cup flour
2 qts. chicken broth
1 qt. water
2 lbs. boneless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb. smoked sausage (I used hot Louisiana sausage)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup creole seasoning (I use Slap Your Mama!)
2 ham steaks, cubed
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 lb. okra, sliced
1 lb. shrimp
File gumbo seasoning to taste
Prepare the vegetables first and set them aside. Now the hard part---THE ROUX.
Combine the oil and the flour in a cold heavy deep pot. Turn the heat to med-high and stir constantly. When the roux starts to turn brown turn the heat down to medium. Continue stirring continuously until the roux turns ALMOST a milk chocolate color. If you burn it, throw it out and start over again. Remove the roux from the heat and stir in the vegetables to coat and cool the roux.
Add chicken broth and water and return to medium-high heat. Add chicken, smoked sausage, salt, pepper, Creole seasoning, and thyme.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. After an hour, add the shrimp and okra and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Add file' seasoning. Serve with rice