Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Ya-Ya

Gumbo is a type of thick, soupy chowder that is unique to New Orleans and the Creole and Cajun cooking styles of the area. Most gumbos, and Creole and Cajun foods in general, were not originally prepared by chefs, but were instead prepared by good home cooks who wanted to make people happy by serving foods that looked and tasted good. Each recipe is unique and was created with the individual magic of the person who prepared it.

Because every gumbo is unique, and many are family heirlooms passed down from generation to generation, one of the main rules in New Orleans is “not to mess with anybody’s mama’s gumbo recipe. Or if you do, lie about it because the process of preparing a gumbo can lead to arguments, duels and fanciful thinking.” (Kit Wohl, New Orleans Classic Gumbos and Soups)

The basic recipe for successfully making a good gumbo is to start with the Holy Trinity in New Orleans’ cooking, which is onions, green bell peppers, and celery. From there, the only other rules are to use what you have on hand and/or what’s in season, make a good flavorful stock and a roux, then add the meat, chicken or seafood for your flavor profile.” Cooks everywhere borrowed from all around, used what they had and made everything work together”. (Kit Wohl) As you all know, this is most definitely my way of thinking and cooking too.

Creole cooking has roots from many different cultures – Spanish, French, African and Caribbean. All these influences have been blended and crafted together for centuries to perfect what we now know and love as Creole cooking. Cajun cooking is very similar. The saying is that Creole is more upscale and Cajun is the cooking of the bayous and the lower ends of town.

Gumbos are held in the highest regard and are known as the foods of the kings; The Mardi Gras Kings that is.

As you can imagine, there is NO one type of gumbo and as mentioned above. EVERYONE seems to have their own recipe that is “the best”. The particular gumbo I made last night is known as Gumbo Ya-Ya, from the recipe of the famous Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Legend has it that the term “gumbo ya-ya” comes from a French dialect that was spoken in New Orleans during the 1800’s. Other theories say that the term “gumbo ya-ya” referred to all the women’s chatter in the kitchens while they were cooking the meals. Who knows? All I know is that it is delicious. πŸ™‚

Gumbo Ya-Ya

Following the Creole mantra, I did not have any red bell peppers, so I used what I had, which was an orange bell pepper. I also had just a little delicata squash left over, which I threw into the pot as well. I also added okra.

2 sticks butter

1 1/2 cups flour

1 red bell or orange bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

1 jalapeno, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1-1 1/2 cups okra, diced

8 cups chicken stock, or more as needed

1/2-3/4 lbs Andouille sausage, sliced

1/2-3/4 lbs chicken, cubed

1 TBSP Creole seasoning

salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp thyme

1 TBSP garlic


Once everything is ready and the mis en place is set, start by cooking the sausage enough to be able to slice. It will finish cooking later. Then make the roux. You can make any color roux you like. The color and cooking time affects the flavor of the gumbo. I cooked my roux to a nice caramel color, which gave the gumbo a nice nutty and warm, earthy taste. Depending on the color and consistency you are looking for, this could take up to about 45 minutes, stirring constantly.

When the roux is to the color and consistency you are looking for, add the vegetables, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the onions are translucent.

Mix everything together well. Cook the chicken and sausage until done in olive oil while the roux and vegetables are cooking.

When the chicken and sausage are completely cooked, combine them with the roux and vegetables and mix thoroughly. Then add the chicken stock and seasonings.

Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and adjust the seasonings as needed, and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming the fat off the top.

I served the gumbo with red beans and rice, and topped it all with fresh parsley and green onions. I served a cool, crisp chardonnay on the side, but you can serve it with whatever you like. Once again, there are NO RULES to this type of cooking! πŸ™‚

Laissez le bontemps roulez! Bon Appetit! Enjoy! Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

8 thoughts on “Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Ya-Ya”

  1. OMG! That looks delicious! You always made me hungry girl! I’m making a good comeback though! The mile swim yesterday was a hard one but I hold on the other events by 35-15 seconds slow than last years time! Today it’s day 2 and I’m going to be tired on day 3.

    Liked by 1 person

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