One of the things that makes this recipe different is the use of frozen veggies.  I don’t normally take shortcuts like buying pre-chopped frozen veggies, but in this instance adding them still frozen to the pan allows the roux to cool, without having the added step of most gumbo recipes of actually giving the roux at least 20 minutes to cool before continuing on with the recipe.  Another shortcut you can do to save time and energy for this recipe is to substitute a shredded rotisserie chicken for the chicken breasts and eliminate the whole step of cooking the chicken. Serve the gumbo over your favorite rice and top with fresh parsley or green onions.

To make this #dinnerdoneby9am I fully cook the gumbo in the morning, refrigerate all day and re-heat just prior to serving.

-4 large chicken breasts
-black pepper
-1/2 c plus 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
-1 pack andioulle sausage, sliced
-1 c flour
-32 oz frozen seasoning blend vegetables (onion, peppers, celery mixed)
-4 cups beef stock
-4 cups chicken stock
-2 cups water
-1 tsp dried thyme
-4-5 small bay leaves
-1/2 tsp cayenne
-4 Tbsp (or more) hot sauce
-16 oz frozen okra
-rice and parsley or green onions for serving.

Sprinkle chicken generously with pepper and set aside.
Heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium high heat in heavy pot. Add sausage pieces and cook, stirring frequently, untill browned. Remove with a slotted spoon into a large bowl. Add the chicken to the pot and cook, turning once or twice, for around 6 minutes, or until browned on both sides. Remove and place in the bowl with the sausage.

Before you begin the next step make sure you can complete it without interruptions and with focus – it will take about 10 minutes of your undivided attention. Also, make sure you have a LONG wooden spoon for stirring, and an oven mitt on the other hand for handling/stabilizing the pot around as necessary. Set your stovetop fan to high to draw off smoke. NOW…..

Add the remaining 1/2 c of oil to the pot and heat over medium heat. When hot, sprinkle the flour over the hot oil and start stirring. You will want to keep the mixture moving in the pan – try not to let it sit in one spot in the pan for more than a few seconds, or let it stick to the bottom – keep moving and scraping to avoid burning. Keep it moving until the mixture becomes a dark, chocolate brown color – you may think it’s burning but it’s not….. the darker the roux, the better! Just keep it moving in the pot and you’ll be fine!

When the roux is a dark chocolate color, quickly add the frozen seasoning blend and keep stirring. It will cool off the roux and cook the veggies. Stir frequently for about 7-8 minutes. Then, stir in the beef stock, chicken stock, and water. Add back in the chicken and sausage, then add in the thyme, bay leaves and cayenne. Cook, partially covered over medium/low heat for 20 min. Remove the chicken to a plate and let cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat. Shred the chicken and place back in the pot. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Add the okra and cook over low heat for another 20 minutes.

To serve, pour gumbo over a scoop of rice and top with fresh green onions and/ or parsley.