We recently got back from a family vacation to Southern California. It was amazing. We had great times with extended family, beach times, and of course Disneyland times. When I was little I lived close enough to Disneyland to see the fireworks at night. Great childhood memories. So I absolutely love Disneyland and think it really is the happiest place on earth - at least to me - and also one of the best places to eat on earth. Oh Disneyland eats!! One of my very favorite things to eat is gumbo in New Orleans Square. There are a few different places to get gumbo and on this last trip we fulfilled one of my childhood dreams and ate at the Blue Bayou - the restaurant inside Pirates of the Caribbean - and got gumbo. Heavenly gumbo. I don't know what it is, but that gumbo was so good that as soon as we were leaving I wrote a note to myself on my phone to try and recreate it as soon as we got home.
So here it is. I looked all over the internet for a good copy cat recipe and in the end put together a couple of recipes and adapted them to make it as much like Disneyland gumbo as possible. I think it really turned out. My whole family loved it and oohed and aahed over how much it tasted like the gumbo we all had at the Blue Bayou. Well here is the recipe and I hope you love it as much as I do. BTW, this makes a big pot of gumbo. Enough for my family of 6 to freeze half for another dinner. If you have a smaller family or do not have a big stock pot to make it in, cut it in half. And don't let making the dark roux scare you, it is what makes this recipe authentic, thick, and flavorful.
Disneyland Chicken and Sausage Gumbo (Copy Cat Recipe)
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
10 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
12 oz package frozen okra (find in frozen section of most grocery stores)
1 complete bunch of celery, including leaves in center, chopped
10 oz package frozen chopped green peppers
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb andouille sausage (I used Johnsonville), cut into quarters lengthwise, then sliced
5-6 cups cooked chicken, cut into large cubes (I used rotisserie chicken)
6 oz can tomato paste
28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
28 oz can regular diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Gumbo File seasoning (I found this near the seafood counter - it's used in crab boils as well as gumbo)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 cup Ultra Gel (I used this to thicken it up even more, but you don't have to use this)
1 package Zataran's Dirty Rice mix, prepared with just water and oil (not ground beef)
Lets start out by making the roux. Now don't be afraid, but we are going to let this roux get pretty dark. In a large saucepan melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk. Cook on medium high heat, whisking, until the mixture begins to brown. Continue cooking and whisking until the roux becomes the color of dark caramel - you want it to look somewhere between dark caramel and chocolate. Once the roux is done add the 10 cups of chicken stock and whisk well until combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large stock pot add about 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Add the onions and saute until onions are soft. Add frozen okra and cook until okra begins to break down and is soft. Add celery, frozen green peppers, and garlic and cook until all the vegetables are soft. You may need to add another tablespoon of oil to keep the vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once tender add the roux/chicken stock mixture to the stock pot with vegetables. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer while you do the next step.
In a skillet (or you could clean out the saucepan you used for the roux) melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add your sliced andouille sausage and cook until just browned. Add to the stock pot.
Add chicken, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and all of the seasonings to the stock pot. Bring to a boil. Add the Ultra Gel if you are using it (if not leave it out and it will be fine). Turn down the heat and let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes. You need to babysit the gumbo and stir it around to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. When ready to serve, place soup in a bowl and top with about 1/4 cup prepared dirty rice. Enjoy!
Here's a picture of the heavenly gumbo I was trying to recreate. This is from the Royal Street Veranda counter service restaurant in a little corner of New Orleans Square (it has a big banner that says "Try Our Gumbo"). I might just get some sourdough bread bowls from Panera next time I make this gumbo to serve it like this. Doesn't it look good?!
At the Blue Bayou it's served as an appetizer in a bowl with rice on top like this:
And yes we did try the non-alcoholic mint juleps as well, but most of my kids thought it tasted like cough syrup and went for lemonade instead. If you ever get the chance, eating at the Blue Bayou is a neat experience. No matter what though, if you go to Disneyland try some gumbo from somewhere!