In this gumbo made with chicken, shrimp, and tasso — spicy smoked pork that's a staple of south Louisiana cooking — the three ingredients complement one another because the distinctive flavor of tasso provides good balance, keeping the shrimp and chicken on an even playing field.
- 4 boneless chicken thighs (skin on), cut into 2-inch pieces, seasoned with 2 tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp paprika, and ½ tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 lb tasso,* diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 poblano peppers, diced
- 1 small jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 gallon (4 qts) chicken stock
- 1 lb peeled, cleaned Louisiana shrimp
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 3/4 cup flour (plus remaining flour from coating the chicken)
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp filé powder*
- 6 bay leaves
You will need a 2-gallon heavy-bottom pot.
Heat the vegetable oil in the pot over medium-high heat until a tiny pinch of flour gently sizzles on contact.
Coat the seasoned chicken with flour and fry in the oil until light golden brown, about 8 minutes, then place on a paper towel. It does not have to be cooked through at this point.
Add remaining flour from coating the chicken to the roux flour. To make the roux, start adding the flour to the oil a little at a time, whisking constantly. Once all the flour has been added, stir over medium heat until the roux is a deep honey brown, about 40 minutes.
Add the tasso, vegetables, and gumbo spices. Cook until the vegetables are slightly softened and the spices are mixed, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the stock and bring to a simmer, being sure to stir the bottom of the pot as the gumbo comes to a simmer so the roux doesn't stick. Simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes, while skimming all the fat that rises to the surface. It might be a lot, like five or six ladles full.
Add the chicken and raw shrimp and simmer for another 45 minutes, again skimming any fat that floats to the top. Taste (carefully). Some tasso is spicier than others — for more heat, add another 1/2 tsp cayenne and another tsp salt.
Serve now or the next day with some steamed rice and a side of creamy potato salad. I dip potato salad in the gumbo.