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Gumbo Ya Ya

(recipe, James Villas)


This chicken-and-sausage gumbo recipe comes from Commander’s Palace in New Orleans.


  1. 1 chicken, 2 to 2½ pounds
  2. ½ cup vegetable oil
  3. ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  4. 2 medium onions, chopped
  5. ½ medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  6. 1 garlic clove, minced
  7. ½ lb. smoked sausage (such as kielbasa), thinly sliced
  8. ¼ lb. baked or boiled ham, cubed
  9. 2 bay leaves
  10. ½ tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
  11. ½ tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
  12. 1 tsp. salt
  13. Cayenne pepper, to taste
  14. 2 Tbsp. filé powder
  15. 3 cups boiled white rice


  1. Disjoint the chicken and place it in a large pot or kettle with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. Remove the chicken and, when cool enough to handle, skin, bone, and shred the meat. Strain the cooking broth into another large pot and reserve.
  3. In a large, heavy pot or casserole, heat the oil until very hot. Add the flour gradually, stirring constantly with a whisk, and cook the roux over moderate heat, still whisking constantly, until it is the color of milk chocolate, about 4 minutes, taking special care not to burn the roux.
  4. Add the onions, green pepper, garlic, sausage, and ham, mix thoroughly, and continue cooking, stirring, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of the reserved broth, the shredded chicken, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, salt, and cayenne pepper, and stir thoroughly.
  5. Add 2 more cups of the broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove the pot from the heat, add the filé powder, stir, and let stand 10 minutes.
  6. Distribute equal amounts of the rice in the bottom of 6 soup bowls or plates and ladle gumbo over the top. Serve piping hot.