6 to 8-quart enameled cast iron pot or other large pot
1cupvegetable oilplus 1 tablespoon
1poundsmoked sausagesuch as andouille or kielbasa, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick pieces
4poundschicken thighsskin removed
1tablespooncreole seasoningrecipe below or other creole seasoning mix
1cupbrown rice flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1cupchopped bell peppers
9cupschicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
12ouncesshrimppre-coooked, thawed from frozen
1/2cupchopped green onions
2tablespoonschopped parsley leaves
cooked brown rice
In the large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage in the oil until well browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage to drain on paper towels, and set aside. Leave the fond (the brown bits) and drippings in the bottom of the pan.
Sprinkle the seasoning on the chicken and place it meat side down in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and allow it to cool. Keep it in the refrigerator for later.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup of oil to the hot pan and warm it up over medium heat. Whisk in the flour a little at a time. Cook, stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, to make a dark brown roux the color of chocolate. Don't be tempted to shorten the time or increase the heat. A good dark roux takes time, and it makes all the difference in your gumbo.
Add the chopped onions, celery, and bell peppers and stir. Cook until wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Return the drained sausage to the pot and add the salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock while stirring. Bring the gumbo to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook uncovered for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
Return the chicken to the pot and simmer uncovered for 1-1/2 hours. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface.
Remove the pot from the heat. Pick out the chicken thighs and place them on a cutting board and let them cool slightly. Pull the chicken meat from the bones and shred it. Discard the bones. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Add the shrimp and cook about 5 minutes. Return the shredded meat to the pot and stir in the green onions, parsley, and filé powder.
To serve, spoon rice into the bottom of soup bowls and ladle the gumbo on top. Add hot sauce as desired.