One-Pot Wonders

Chili Gumbo

January 28, 2012
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

This recipe had been percolating in my head, and then on my stove, since last May. Leo and I went to the Bayou Boogaloo in New Orleans, and the first night Cyril Neville and Tribe 13 played. They told a story about how after the storm they were displaced to Austin and lived here for three years. They were welcomed by the community and made to feel that they had a home here. After three years, it was time to leave their new friends and family and return to their home in New Orleans, but Austin had found a permanent place in their hearts. They said when they got back to NOLA they realized that Austin had put a little chili in their gumbo. Then they played the song -- recommended listening while cooking this -- Chili In The Gumbo!

This looks like a crazy long ingredient list, but it all comes together really easily one you mise en place. Don't feel overwhelmed! —aargersi

Test Kitchen Notes

This gumbo is fantastic. It wasn't quite as hot as I would have liked, but I like my chili and gumbo fire-breath hot, so I won't hold that against the recipe. Many parts of the dish were so well thought out -- from toasting the flour in large batches (genius) to macerating the dried chilis in the dark beer, and toasting cumin in the fat from andouille. These steps helped load the whole dish with incredible flavor. Will absolutely be keeping this one to make again. Wish I had doubled it! —Omeletta

  • Makes 1 large pot of chili gumbo
  • 1/2 cup toasted flour (see first step in directions)
  • 2 Dried Ancho chilis
  • 2 dried Guajillo chilis
  • 1 dark beer - I used an Abita Christmas Ale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 ounces Andouille sausage
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 pound coarsely ground sirloin (aka chili meat if you are in a Texas market)
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3 large cloves garlic - minced or pressed
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons red chili powder (just ground chilis - not with other stuff - this is what I use and it is incredible:
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • Cooked rice, limes and Louisiana hot sauce to serve
  • Salt and pepper
In This Recipe
  1. Toast the flour - we do this in big batches so it is always on hand. (It's great for roux, gravy, etoufee, or whatever you might need to thicken and make delicious.) Heat the oven to 350°F. Put a couple of cups of AP flour in a baking dish -- I use a 9" x 13" metal cake pan. Stir every 20 minutes until it gets nice and toasty -- about an hour to an hour and a half. Test by mixing a little with some oil -- it should turn a very deep chocolate brown. Store in in the pantry in a jar and you will be happy every time you pull it out!
  2. Remove the seeds and stems from the chilis and chop them up. Put them in a bowl and pour the beer in. Let them soak.
  3. Heat the olive oil in your chili pot. Cut up the andouille and brown it in the oil. Remove it. Toast the cumin in the remaining fat for a minute or so, then add in the chili meat and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. When it is browned, put it with the sausage. Put the onions in the pot and get them sweated, then add the celery, peppers and garlic. Cook all of that for a few minutes until it is just starting to soften, then add the vegetable oil and toasted flour. Stir that around for a minute or so, then add the chili powder and tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes. Follow your nose -- everything should smell rich and toasty and not at all raw. Add the chilis and beer, and put the meat and any juices back in the pot. Stir it all, then add the beef broth and vinegar. When that is all simmering away, stir in a tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning. Let it simmer a bit, taste, and see if you want more -- this is all a tasting game, as your chilis, seasoning, and personal preference will vary.
  4. Turn the heat to low and let your pot simmer for at least a half hour -- it gets better with time.
  5. When you are ready to serve, put rice in your bowl, then chili gumbo. Squeeze just a bit of lime and add a dash of Louisiana hot sauce -- those two things really give it a final fabulous kick. That's it! Enjoy!

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I work in databases by day, but creativity is my outlet. Food - imagining it, making it, sharing it. And art, I come from a family of artists and have been collaging in my garage studio. You can see my work on Etsy in my shop AbbiesGarage