Monday, June 17, 2013

Shrimp, Chicken & Sausage Gumbo over Bulgur & Couscous

This is my husband's most favorite dish, if you asked him he would say it without hesitation or thinking. I learned how to make this dish when I lived in South Carolina. I spent about 5 years of my young adult life just waiting tables at a fabulous steakhouse and laying out on the beach on my days off, I miss it sometimes. The steakhouse had some Louisiana touches all throughout the menu, and seafood gumbo was a personal favorite of mine. The broth is thick, rich and spicy almost like a gravy and it coats every morsel of meat just beautifully. Usually its served over a bed of white rice but I like to mix it up and serve it over a whole grain like bulgur wheat, whole wheat couscous or even quinoa is wonderful, and I love the texture contrast!

I love to use a combination of meats because each one offers something different to the dish. Spicy, smoked andouille sausage is a classic in the dish and I would never leave this out. It is a smoked sausage, much like kielbasa but very spicy and very rich in flavor, you can substitute kielbasa if you cannot find the andouille. I also love to use shrimp because they are a "two for one" item in this dish. What I mean by that is, I use both the shrimp and the shell for the dish. I always get the shrimp with the shells on and then I make my own shrimp broth with them. This adds quite a bit of depth to the overall broth and I love how much money you save making your own broth! Plus shellfish broth is hard to come by, I only know of one place that sells it where I live. Lastly the chicken I like because it adds great meaty, chunkiness to the soup but again "two for one;" the bones of the chicken add to the flavor of the broth and season the soup even further. I find that anything that uses bones is going to be amazing and this dish is no exception! I do want to note; making soup is all about layering flavors and to do that it takes time, quite a bit of time. This soup takes about 3 hours to make so give yourself plenty of time when making it. Its so worth it!

This recipe serves 6-7 as a main dish.
Adapted from Emeril's version of chicken and andouille sausage gumbo.


4 Bone-in, skin on, pasture raised chicken thighs.
4 Pasture raised chicken legs or wings.
2 tsp Paul Prudhomme red fish magic blackening seasoning, any blackening seasoning or smoky grill seasoning will work.
1 lb large, wild caught, shell-on, shrimp, devein and wash, reserve shells.
1 Cup canola oil or tasteless high heat oil.
1 Cup unbleached, organic, all purpose flour
2 Organic onions, chopped.
4 Stalks organic celery, chopped.
1 Organic green bell pepper, seeded and chopped.
4 Cloves, organic garlic, chopped.
Sea salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste.
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 Links pasture raised, andouille sausage or other smoked sausage, chopped into round slices.
2 Bay leaves
10 Cups homemade shrimp stock, see recipe below, you can substitute chicken broth for this.*
1 Cup Trader Joe's 10 minute bulgur wheat
3/4 Cup whole wheat couscous
2 Cups organic chicken stock, or homemade if you have it.
Fresh organic chives, for snipping over the top.


Make sure your chicken parts are completely dry. Sprinkle the chicken parts with the blackening seasoning, salt and pepper. Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat and add in the oil. When the oil is hot, add in the chicken, slowly, skin side down. Cook for a few minutes on each side till they are deeply browned. Turn down the heat to medium and remove the chicken to a plate. Add in the flour and whisk till combined and soupy.

Cook the flour and oil for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally (you will smell when you need to stir, it gets a very nutty, burnt smell). You want a deep dark, chocolate colored roux. Once you have gotten this color add in the onions, celery, green bell pepper, garlic,salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, stir to coat everything. Cook for 10 minutes or until the veggies are soft.

Add in the sausage, bay leaf, chicken parts and stock. Scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the burnt on stuff, this is flavor. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for an hour and half, uncovered.

After an hour and half turn the heat off and remove the chicken pieces. With two forks pull the meat away from the bones and shred the meat. Add the meat back to the pot with the uncooked shrimp and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes, this will cook the shrimp, gently without overcooking them. Taste soup for seasoning, you may need to add salt.

While the soup is sitting bring the chicken stock and bulgur to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer, covered for 10 minutes, after 10 minutes add in the couscous and turn off the heat. Leave the pot covered for 4 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

To serve, make a bed of bulgur and couscous and ladle the soup over top. Top with chives and enjoy!

*Homemade Shrimp Stock

3 Quarts water, about 12 cups of water.
2 Organic carrots, cut in half, no need to peel.
2 Organic stalks celery, cut in half.
1 Onion, peeled, cut in half.
Reserved shrimp shells
1 tsp black peppercorns

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve liquid.
You need 10 Cups for the recipe, so if it boils down too much just add chicken stock or water to the recipe.

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