Frank Davis Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 boneless chicken thighs, skinned and cut in halves
10 chicken wings, trimmed of fat and separated
3 teaspoons Frank Davis Pepper-Free Seasoning
2 pounds country smoked sausage, thick sliced
2 cups yellow onions, rough diced
1 cup celery, rough diced
1 small bell pepper, rough diced
2 cups button mushrooms, halved
5 pods garlic, minced
1/3 cup parsley, minced
8 cups canned chicken broth or dry chicken base + water
1 small can Rotel tomatoes with chilis
2 cans okra (or 2 cups frozen okra)
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sweet basil
1 cup basic roux, as needed to thicken
1/2 teaspoon restaurant-grind black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet
8 cups cooked long grain rice
Gumbo file for garnish

First, in a Dutch oven large enough to hold all the ingredients without overflowing, heat the olive oil to 'hot.'

While that's happening, thoroughly season the chicken thighs and wings with the pepper-free mixture.

Then a few pieces at a time, brown them all over (along with the smoked sausage slices) in the Dutch oven.

When everything is nice and golden, remove it all from the pot and set it aside for awhile.

Next drop in the onions, celery, bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic, and parsley and fry them still over high heat until all the ingredients are uniformly combined. This process should take about 5 minutes or so.

Then, while stirring continually, pour in the chicken stock, bring everything to a gentle boil, add the next four ingredients the Rotels, the okra, the bay leaves, and the basil and stir until the soupy mixture completely melds together.

At this point, whisk in the roux to thicken the broth ever so slightly.

Then drop in the chicken and the sausage pieces, season with the black pepper and the red pepper flakes, and color the stock with the Kitchen Bouquet.

All that's left, then, is to cover the pot, reduce the fire to 'low,' and slowly simmer the gumbo for about an hour to tenderize the sausage, finish off the chicken pieces, and enrichen the broth base.

Finally, when you're ready to eat, ladle it up piping hot over steamed rice and garnish with a generous sprinkling of file'. Even Boudreaux and Clotilde won't believe how good this is!


Chef's Notes:

1. If you select fresh or frozen okra, you might want to 'fry it down' (or bake it in the oven at 350 degrees) for a few minutes after you finish browning the chicken and sausage pieces to help cut the okra slime.

2. You might want to reduce the black and red pepper flakes a tad if you are pepper sensitive. Remember, there is a significant amount of heat in the chilis, which are already blended into the Rotel tomatoes.

3. Extra Kitchen Bouquet can be added toward the end of the cooking process to deepen the color of the gumbo if the roux wasn't dark enough to suit your taste.

4. To use the dry chicken base, just dissolve enough of the solid base into whatever amount of water you'll need for the recipe. Just make sure the resultant stock is rich and full bodied. And be careful when adding salt, too, because many of the dry chicken bases contain significant quantities of salt.