altForget the cake — there’s one food that Rep. David Schweikert can’t live without on his birthday: gumbo.

The Arizona Republican loves a good gumbo, so much so that the classic Louisiana dish has become a birthday tradition for the congressman.

The lawmaker shared his love of the spice-filled stew with his colleagues, Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and David Dreier (R-Calif.), along with hundreds of other guests at his 50th birthday bash last weekend in his home state. Schweikert hit the half-century mark Saturday.

Schweikert’s press secretary, Rachel Semmel, tells us her boss’s adoptive parents were both from the South and he grew up chowing down on Cajun food.

The secret to a good, gut-warming gumbo, says Schweikert, is all in the roux (that’s the flour mixture used to thicken gumbo, for all you Cajun cooking novices).

At least one partygoer at Schweikert’s Cajun-themed fundraising celebration was well aware that the congressman goes gaga for gumbo. We hear this guest came dressed as a giant crawfish.

You can see for yourself if Schweikert makes a grand gumbo. The congressman shared his gumbo recipe with ITK below. 

Rep. Schweikert's Cajun Sausage and Chicken Gumbo


·         1/3 cup vegetable oil

·         1/3 cup flour

·         1 onion, diced

·         2 ribs celery diced

·         1 green bell pepper, diced

·         8 oz Andouille sausage, or other spicy, smoked sausage

·         3 cloves garlic, crushed fine

·         1 tsp salt

·         1 1/2 tbsp paprika

·         1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste

·         1/2 tsp black pepper

·         3 cups chicken broth, or as needed

>·         6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in 2-inch  

To make the "roux" - In a heavy Dutch oven or pot, cook the oil and flour over low heat, stirring, until it is a nutty, golden-brown color. This will take from 15-30 minutes. Depending on the cook, and version of the recipe, a Cajun roux can range from blond to very dark brown. This recipe suggests something in between for the best results. 

Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the roux and cook for another 10 minutes to soften the vegetables. Add the sausage and garlic; stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and turn heat up to med-low. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Add stock as needed, if it is getting to thick. 

Stir in the chicken and cook for 30 more minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and tender. Stir in the green onions, and add more stock to adjust to desired thickness. Cook for 2 minutes, and turn off heat. Taste for salt and spice, and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve with rice if desired.