Cooking With Beer: Double Bock Louisiana Gumbo
The perfect beer-based gumbo for summer.
Written by J. Travis Smith
Recipe by Chris Williams
Photography by JTS
There are “beer recipes” that use a splash of beer, and then there are recipes that call for an entire bottle. This is the latter. This gumbo is designed around a Double Bock — we chose Tröegs Troegenator — but any beer that is similarly thick, malty, and packing in the tastes of caramel, chocolate, and stone fruit will do just fine.
While any gumbo made by a self-respecting southerner will contain the “holy trinity” of chopped bell peppers, onions and celery, the thickening agent is more flexible. Some use okra, other use filé powder, others use roux, and the rest use a combination of the three. This recipe calls for a long-cooked and fussed over roux, requiring more patience than your traditional recipe but ultimately paying off in a dark, deeply flavored gumbo that can be served as an appetizer or for a full meal.
Double Bock Gumbo
Serves: 4 | Cook time: 3 hours
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 jalapeño, deseeded and diced
4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed (amount depends personal affinity for garlic)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
5 bay leaves
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 ounces smoked andouille sausage links, sliced into coins
1 pound whole shrimp
1 quart chicken stock (preferably homemade)
2 tablespoons cajun seasoning* (more to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces of Tröegs Troegenator Double Bock
Louisiana-style hot sauce (like Crystal’s)
Sliced scallion, green parts only, for garnish
1 cup prepared white rice
*Cajun Spice Blend
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Note: The key to success with this recipe is the patience and undivided attention you must give to the roux making process. It takes about 40 minutes to get the desired color without burning. Therefore, if you’re whipping this up alone, prepping the other ingredients in advance is essential.
1. Preheat a large stainless steel skillet over high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil to the hot pan, and lay in the chicken. Sear chicken on one side until it loosens from the surface of the pan (about 2 minutes), having formed a fond, then flip. Repeat on the other side. Reduce heat to medium low and add sausage coins. Sauté with the chicken until the sausage has rendered some fat, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 3 ounces of the beer, scraping the bottom and sides with a wooden spatula to loosen the delicious fond. Set the meat and reserved juices aside.
2. Peel and devein the shrimp, then set aside. Add the shells into a two quart saucepan with a few drops of grapeseed oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Sauté shells until fragrant and pink. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer over medium high heat for five minutes. Cover, remove pan from heat, and steep shells while you make the roux.
3. Preheat a dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup grapeseed oil. To test that the oil is up to temperature, a pinch of flour should lightly sizzle when dropped in. Once you’re there, add the 1/2 cup flour and whisk to combine. Switch to a wooden spatula, stir over medium-low heat and get comfortable. Stir constantly for about 40 minutes until the roux looks shiny and dark brown, like melted chocolate.
4. Add onion, celery, green pepper and jalapeño with a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Stir until onions are translucent. Add garlic, thyme, cajun seasoning, and bay leaves. Stir to combine then quickly add remaining beer. Whisk to combine, increased heat and simmer for about five minutes to cook out alcohol (the boozy smell will go away.)
5. Through a fine-mesh sieve, strain shells from chicken stock. Add stock to dutch oven and stir to combine. Add meat and reserved juices. Add a few dashes of your favorite Louisiana style hot sauce, to taste. Bring to a boil, then drop heat to low. Mixture should not simmer, but bubble very softly for about 2 hours. With 5 minutes left, add in shrimp and stir.
6. Taste and season as needed with cajun blend, salt, pepper, or hot sauce. Fish out bay leaves and bowl it up with a dollop of white rice, sliced scallions, and a dusting of cajun seasoning.
Have a beer-based recipe? Submit it to our Managing Editor at travis [at] hopculture.com.