This is a meal for cooking on a Saturday when you can leave a pot on the hob slowly bubbling for a few hours. Gumbo is simply a stew from the southern states of America. It is a great way of using up any meat you have, whether that be chicken, crayfish or alligator. For a Scottish twist I like to use ham hough, chicken and langoustines. It is debated whether Gumbo should be roux thickened or orka thickened. I prefer roux thickened purely because orka is not the most available in Scotland.
The roux is one of the hardest parts of this recipe. It’s not often you make an oil based roux. You need to continuously whisk the roux or it will burn. Start on a low heat and increase to a medium heat if you dare. You are aiming for a milk chocolate colour but if you only get to a dark blonde don’t worry, the taste of the final gumbo will still be great. It will take 15-30 minutes but it’s worth it.
Here is the colour of roux I aim for
Time: 3 hours
1.2L of chicken stock
85g plain flour
125ml of rapeseed oil
200g Smoked ham hough
4 chicken thighs (skin on)
6 langoustines or large prawns (optional)
2 green peppers
2 ribs of celery
3 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of allspice
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper
1. Dice the onion, celery and one pepper. Have chicken stock ready.
2. Remove the meat of the ham hough and debone the chicken thighs. Remove the skin from the chicken for later. Dice the meat into bite sized pieces.
3. In a large thick bottomed pot add the oil and the flour and cook on a low to medium heat until the colour of milk chocolate. Whisk continually whilst doing this, or it will burn and you have to start again. This can take 30 minutes.
4. Once milk chocolate brown add the diced vegetables and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
5. After this add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the bay leaves and the other spices.
6. Add the chicken thighs and ham. Simmer gently, covered, for 2 hours adding more stock as required.
7. 15 minutes before serving place the chicken skin on a baking sheet and place under a grill on high for 5-10 minutes until crisp.
8. Before serving add the shellfish, if adding, for 5 minutes into the gumbo.
9. Salt and pepper. Serve with white rice and chicken skin on top.