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This incredible Gumbo recipe is bursting with the flavors of the bayou! It features a delicious base of spicy andouille sausage, tender chicken, and rich seafood, expertly seasoned with the revered holy trinity and the perfect blend of Cajun spices.
What Is Gumbo
Known for its bold flavors, gumbo is a soulful stew that represents the heart of Cajun and Creole cuisine. At its core, the dish is all about bringing together the different traditions and tastes of Louisiana – African, French, Spanish, and Native American—to craft an incredibly flavorful stew. Gumbo is like a warm and comforting hug from the South wrapped in lip-smacking flavors.
The key to this dish lies in creating the perfect roux and then gradually building flavor with aromatics, spices, and a variety of meats, including spicy andouille sausage, juicy chicken, and tender seafood. But, I won’t sugarcoat it; it’s not a 30-minute meal. However, if you are looking for a 30 minute one pot Gumbo recipe I do have one in my cookbook.
Why You’ll Love This Gumbo Recipe
- Easy Recipe! The step-by-step instructions are designed to be easy to follow. Whether you’re a kitchen novice or a seasoned chef, you can whip up a taste of Louisiana with very little effort.
- New Orleans Flavor! This gumbo stays true to its roots! The combination of andouille sausage, chicken, seafood, and medley of aromatics and spices creates an explosion of Cajun flavor.
- Feeds A Crowd! Whether you’re hosting a gathering of friends and family, planning a cozy family dinner, or simply looking to meal prep for the week, this gumbo recipe has your back.
- Andouille Sausage: Provides a bold, smoky, and slightly spicy flavor to the gumbo! In traditional recipes, andouille sausage is the most popular choice, but you can use any type of sausage.
- Chicken Thighs: Adds a layer of meaty goodness that soaks up the flavors of the herbs and spices.
- Shrimp: Infuses the gumbo with some delicious seafood flavor. You can use fresh or frozen shrimp.
- Lump Crab Meat: This type of premium crab meat elevates the dish.
- Vegetable Oil: Essential for creating the roux, a thickening agent that gives the gumbo its signature taste.
- All-Purpose Flour: Combined with the oil to form the roux.
- Holy Trinity: In Cajun and Creole cuisine it’s a mixture of onions, bell peppers, and celery that are sautéed together to create the flavor base for many dishes, including gumbo and jambalaya.
- Seasonings: Salt and black pepper enhance the taste of the overall dish.
- Garlic: Freshly minced pungent garlic adds depth to the dish.
- Herbs and Spices: You don’t need to add any store-bought cajun seasoning. A combination of paprika, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves come together to infuse the stew with layers of aromatic flavor.
- Chicken Broth: Forms the liquid base of the gumbo. I always use low-sodium broth to control the saltiness of the dish. Feel free to use vegetable broth if you prefer.
- Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies: Contributes a touch of acidity along with a zesty, slightly spicy kick.
- Green Onions: Also called scallions, green onions add a pop of color and mild onion flavor.
- Fresh Parsley: Brings freshness and herby goodness to the dish.
- Cooked Rice: The perfect base to complement the tasty broth.
- Filé Powder: This is an optional ingredient that is a traditional gumbo condiment. Made from dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree, it adds a unique earthy flavor.
Cooking up a pot of this famous Cajun stew can actually be quite fun! This beloved Southern classic is all about taking your time, layering flavors, and savoring the process.
The first step is to get a good sear on your proteins! In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Next, add the andouille sausage and chicken thighs, and brown them until they develop a crust. Then remove them from the heat and set them aside.
This is the heart of gumbo so be patient with this step! Whisk 1 cup of vegetable oil and 1 cup of flour together in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot.
Then stir the mixture constantly and cook it over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until it transforms into a dark brown chocolate color.
Now, it’s time to start building layers of flavor by adding the holy trinity! Add the chopped onions, bell peppers, and celery to the pot. Then season them with salt and black pepper and let them cook for about 5 minutes to soften. It’s important to stir often as the mixture cooks to prevent the roux from burning and to ensure the vegetables cook evenly.
Next, add the minced garlic, thyme, oregano, paprika, and bay leaves. Then cook the mixture for just one more minute until fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Once you’ve sauteed the veggies and spices, return the browned sausage and chicken to the pot. Then coat them well in the vegetable mixture and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
With the core of the stew prepped, slowly pour in the chicken broth, and then add the can of diced tomatoes. Next, bring the mixture to a simmer. Then, reduce the heat to low and let it cook covered for about 1 hour.
After your stew has simmered for an hour, stir in the shrimp, lump crab meat, green onions, and fresh parsley until well combined. Now, cook the gumbo covered for 5 more minutes or until the shrimp is no longer pink and done. Finally, give it a taste and add more salt and black pepper if necessary.
Once it’s ready, serve your masterpiece over cooked rice in your favorite soup bowl with a sprinkle of filé powder on top.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 2 rules of gumbo?
The two fundamental rules of making gumbo are nailing the roux and achieving a harmonious blend of flavors. First, you must continuously stir the roux while cooking it over medium heat until it reaches a dark brown color. It’s the base that gives gumbo its distinctive flavor and thickness. Secondly, gumbo is all about layering flavors and giving them time to meld.
What is jambalaya vs gumbo?
Both are dishes from Louisiana, but they do have distinct differences. Gumbo is a thick, hearty stew typically served over rice. On the other hand, jambalaya is more like a rice dish with everything cooked together.
What can I add to the dish?
While the core ingredients include roux, the holy trinity, meats, and seafood, you can add your personal touch. Okra is a traditional addition that not only contributes to the gumbo’s flavor but also helps thicken it. Some people prefer to include gumbo filé powder for a unique taste and added thickness. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different meats, such as duck or turkey, to create your own gumbo variation. Ultimately, the key is to balance flavors and textures.
- Don’t rush the roux. The dark roux is the foundation of your gumbo, so take your time making it. It’s important to stir it continuously over medium heat until it reaches a rich, dark brown color.
- Simmer slow and low. Let it simmer gently for at least an hour to develop flavor. You can’t rush this process.
- Double the recipe. Gumbo is an excellent candidate for batch cooking and freezing. Consider making a large pot and freezing it in portions for future enjoyment.
- Creative serving ideas. While traditional gumbo is served over rice, feel free to get creative with your accompaniments. Crusty bread, cornbread, or even a side of hush puppies can complement its flavors beautifully.
Make Ahead Instructions
Making gumbo ahead of time is easy and makes it taste even better! First, cook your roux, sausage, and chicken the day before you want to eat the gumbo. Then mix everything together, but leave out the shrimp and crab for now. Let it cool down, put it in a fridge-safe container, and keep it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, warm it up slowly on your stove. When it’s hot, add in the shrimp and crab, cooking until the shrimp turn pink – that’ll be about 5 minutes. Serve it on top of some fresh rice, and enjoy your delicious meal!
You can store leftover gumbo in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready, just gently reheat it on the stove in a saucepan or in the microwave on medium heat.
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- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 pound andouille sausage (sliced)
- 1 pound chicken thighs (boneless and skinless, cut in half)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large onions (chopped)
- 2 medium bell peppers (chopped)
- 2 stalks celery (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon thyme (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon oregano (chopped)
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
- 10 ounces diced tomatoes with green chillies (1 can)
- 1 pound raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 1 pound lump crab meat
- 1 cup green onions (chopped)
- ½ cup fresh parsley (chopped)
- cooked rice
- Filé powder (optional)
- In a large skillet, brown the andouille sausage and chicken over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Once browned, remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, combine the oil and flour to create a roux. Stir constantly for about 15-20 minutes until it turns a dark, rich brown color.
- Add onions, bell peppers, and celery to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Stir frequently until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, paprika, and bay leaves. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Stir in the browned sausage and chicken, ensuring that they're well coated with the vegetable mixture. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until the chicken and sausage are heated through.
- Slowly pour in the chicken stock while stirring. Add in the can of diced tomatoes with green chilies. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Add the shrimp, crab meat, green onions, and parsley. Stir well, then cover and cook for about 5 more minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve the gumbo over cooked rice, sprinkled with a bit of filé powder, if using.
- Roux Patience: Achieving the perfect roux color takes patience and constant stirring. Aim for a rich, dark brown but be cautious to avoid burning it.
- Quality Sausage: Opt for a high-quality andouille sausage for a genuine, smoky, and spicy flavor that’s crucial in gumbo.
- Seafood Timing: Add the shrimp and crab near the end of cooking to prevent them from becoming overcooked and rubbery.
- Spice Levels: Feel free to adjust the heat by selecting mild or hot diced tomatoes with green chilies according to your preference.
- Serving Tip: Gumbo flavors tend to deepen and meld beautifully when left to sit for a day or two, making it a wonderful dish to make ahead of time.
- Rice Reminder: Don’t forget to start cooking the rice when the gumbo is nearly ready, ensuring everything is hot and fresh at serving time.
- Garnishing: A sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley or green onions upon serving can add a fresh, vibrant note to contrast the rich and hearty gumbo.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.