As they planned their Louisiana-inspired Junebug Café (which now has locations in Portage Park, Near North Side, and West Town), Jacqueline and Chris Murphy had no shortage of source material: Jacqueline was well versed in the region’s flavors through her French Creole grandmother, June, while Chris’s parents own Oak Park’s Cajun-influenced Poor Phil’s Bar and Grill. But the couple’s culinary background is a starting point, not a rule. Take their gumbo, which nods to their families’ recipes but forgoes the customary okra and dials up the heat. Perhaps the most notable addition is simplicity: This version swaps slow-cooked flour and oil for a high-quality premade roux, shaving off time without sacrificing the dish’s signature deep, dark savoriness. It makes a big batch, so it’s perfect for your Mardi Gras fete (and it’s great for leftovers the next day).

Junebug Café’s Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Makes:12 servings
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:1 hour 15 minutes

12 cupsWater
¼ cupChopped garlic
1½ tsp.Cayenne pepper
1½ tsp.Black pepper
1½ tsp.Paprika
1½ tsp.Salt
2Bay leaves
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp.Chicken base paste (like Better Than Bouillon)
1 lb.Smoked sausage (like andouille or kielbasa), cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cupsChopped green bell pepper
2 cupsChopped onion
2 cupsChopped celery
1 lb.Cubed chicken breast
¾ cupDark roux (like Savoie’s, available on Amazon)
4 cupsCooked white rice

1. In a large stockpot, bring the first eight ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Adjust the heat to maintain a low boil. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to release oil, about 5 minutes. Carefully add sausage to the stockpot and return the skillet to the heat.

2. Add peppers, onions, and celery to the skillet. Gently sweat vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add vegetables to the stockpot.

3.Place chicken in the skillet and saute until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir chicken into the stockpot. Add roux to the stockpot, stirring to dissolve. Boil gently until vegetables are tender and gumbo has thickened, about 40 minutes. Serve over rice.