There is something inherently celebratory about gumbo. The expensive seafood, the precision of browning the roux to just the right pecan color, and the task of finely chopping the onion, pepper and celery all combine to make gumbo perfect for special occasions.
Here’s a version of Paul Prudhomme’s seafood and chicken gumbo that I lightened up a bit. Every batch I make comes with its own set of improvs, depending on what’s on hand, what’s in my pocketbook, and who’s eating it. This variation uses leftover crab and shrimp, chicken thighs, and some andouille sausage.
I made a quick chicken stock after browning the chicken thighs and rendering all the yummy fat from the skin to use in the roux. I served this batch to my kids, their friends and my neighbors. I loved watching them lap it up—indeed, it was a party.
—Jill Melton, Relish Editor