Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Serves 6

1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 pound smoked link sausage
2-3 pounds of chicken
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
5 ribs of celery, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper

Gumbo begins with a good roux - flour browned in oil. Traditionally, this is done by combining the flour and oil in a heavy pot and cooking over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is a deep brown. A quick and easy way to make roux is to put the oil and flour in a glass measuring cup and stir well. Microwave mixture on high for 2 minutes. Remove and stir well. Repeat process in 2 minute intervals until the mixture begins to brown, then reduce cooking time to 1 minute intervals. Continue until roux is deep brown and has a wonderful aroma. Stirring is very important to prevent a hot ball from forming in the center - it will burn quickly and ruin the roux.

Boil chicken. Remove skin and bones and tear into bit size pieces. Slice sausage into small pieces and brown. Set aside.

Put roux into large soup pot. Stir chopped vegetables into roux and cook over low heat until vegetables are wilted, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth, chicken and sausage. Stir. Season to taste. Simmer gumbo over low heat for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot long grain rice.

*Gumbo is best when allowed to sit for a couple of hours before serving - the flavors will all blend together.