Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage

A Cajun style shrimp gumbo with andouille sausage.

If you are not familiar with filé (fee-lay), it is a powder made from dried sassafras leaves. It is a powerful thickener, but must be added at the end of cooking or it will form slimy, ropey strands in the gumbo. Filé is available in many supermarkets (we found ours at Whole Foods), or online.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut oil, or other vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 quart shellfish* or chicken stock, plus 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 8-12 ounces smoked andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-5 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • File powder (optional)
  • Hot sauce (such as Tabasco) to taste

* Note that you can make your own shellfish stock with the shells from the shrimp. Put the shrimp shells and tail tips in a pot and cover with 2 quarts of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer uncovered for an hour. Strain and use in this recipe for the stock. Diluted bottle clam juice will also work as shellfish stock in this recipe.

Method

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1 First, make the roux. Heat the peanut oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven, on medium high heat, for a minute or two. Whisk in the flour and lower the heat to medium. Stir almost constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir.  Let the roux cook until it is the color of peanut butter, then lower the heat to medium low. Keep cooking and stirring (careful, you want the flour to cook, not burn!) until the roux is the color of an old penny, about 20-30 minutes total time.

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2 Mix in the "holy trinity" of green pepper, onion and celery and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the Cajun seasoning.

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3 In a separate pot, heat the stock and water until steamy. Slowly add the steamy stock and water to the bell pepper onion roux mixture, stirring constantly while you do so. Do not add cold stock to a hot roux; room temperature is fine, but adding ice cold stock to hot roux can break it, leaving a pool of oil on the top of your gumbo. Bring the gumbo to a simmer and add the Worcestershire sauce and salt to taste. Simmer gently for 30 minutes.

If you find that the roux has broken a bit and oil is pooling on the surface of the gumbo, whisk in about another 1/2 to 1 cup of water. This will often "fix" it.

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4 Stir in the andouille sausage and cook for 5 minutes (andouille sausage is already cooked, so you just need to heat it). Add the shrimp, return to a simmer and cook another 5 minutes, until the shrimp has just cooked through. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve with white rice, garnished with green onions. To eat, sprinkle with filé powder and hot sauce.

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Comments

  1. A. G. Wright

    We usually use chicken stock in even in seafood gumbo. The people from the coast that I have known say that anything that swims, crawls, hops, runs, fly or slithers can be put into a gumbo. So far I have stuck with swim, fly and run.
    I usually put some tomatoes and okra in. Other vegetables can be added if desired.
    If you can’t find Andouille, which I usually can’t, a good smoked sausage will work.
    As far as I can see the most important thing is that dark roux, because of allergies of one or another family member bell peppers, tomatoes and shrimp have all been left out of a gumbo at one time or another and taste was different but not ruined.

  2. Dee

    This looks soo good! Never tried Gumbo before, but I shall now!

  3. Burk

    Paul Prudhomme’s “Cajun napalm” roux method takes only about 5 minutes: use high heat and smoking hot oil, add the flour about a third at a time, whisk like crazy, remove from the heat and add your trinity the instant the roux turns the color you’re after.

    A little nerve-wracking the first time, but effective. Wear long sleeves.

    • Mali from ATX

      The 1st time I made roux Chef Paul’s way it was crazy smokey! But I swear by it. Just make sure everything is ready (mise en place) to add into the roux to stop the cooking process once you have the right color, which for us is dark chocolate.

  4. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    Wow that roux is like chocolate! I love it..

  5. Jeremy

    This is pretty much exactly how I do gumbo. If you live near the coast and can get quality head-on shrimp then the heads really make a good stock. I also brown off the sausage, a little more depth of flavor for the cost of a dirty pan.

  6. Michele Garcia

    Shirley O’Corriher had a bit of info about dark and light roux in her cookbook “Cookwise.” She says that the darker roux, though it is the flavor base for the dish, loses a lot of its thickening ability once it’s been cooked so long, because the starches in the flour have broken down into sugars and largely lost their gelatinization properties at that point. So in some kitchens a lighter roux will be added at the end for thickening purposes.
    My husband loves gumbo, and this recipe looks really good. I also like that there isn’t any okra, which even though I live in the South, I haven’t acquired a taste for. Looking forward to making this!

  7. Mary

    Start Making my seafood gumbo using shrimp heads & shells, crab shells and bits,pieces of snapper. they go in stockpot with water& a few peppercorns to simmer for a bit for fish stock. Use a bit of lard and a bit of saved bacon fat with flour to make roux in cast iron stew pot. Once the roux is a deep tan color and the flavor stewed out of the shellfish you just put it together–fresh shrimp, sweet crab meat, snapper, the trinity, okra, salt, pepper, hot sauce to taste. Sorry I don’t measure anything.

  8. sheila

    very timely!! since my son just said to me the other day “mom you need a gumbo recipe!” Why yes son I do…and now I do! : D Thanks Elise this looks like just what the kiddo ordered.

  9. Kathleen

    Perfect. There are as many recipes for gumbo as there are stew. Generally you make it the same way your mama made it and she made it the way her mama made it. We add cayenne about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp just to tingle the top of your tongue. And of course there’s always Louisiana Hot Sauce on the table.
    Laissez le Bon temp rouller. Big parade tonight.

  10. Clark

    This is pretty much how I make it. I brown the sausage and remove, leaving the fat in the pan, to make the roux a little more flavorful. I also add a can of tomatoes, not too much though. Using shrimp stock is a must. I also put in some okra, again, not too much. Use fresh okra and slice with a very sharp knife, otherwise it makes your gumbo slimey. Also, add some Bay leaves!

  11. Laura

    Excellent tip about heating the stock prior to adding to the roux. Delicious basic gumbo recipe. Loved it! The secret is not to overcook the shrimp. I like to throw a jalapeno or two in mine, but I know that’s not traditional.

  12. Amy | Minimally Invasive

    Oh, yes, gumbo would be the perfect antidote to last night’s snowstorm! You know, I don’t remember a time I couldn’t make a roux, though I’m sure I got curious at a young age because my grandma was always making one. Gumbo, stew, sauce piquant, even spaghetti sauce…they all started with a nice, dark roux in a heavy pot. Yum!

  13. Fran Pyeatt

    As a Louisiana native, I have made many pots of gumbo and eaten even more, none having worcestershire sauce in it. Mind you, I love worcestershire sauce in oh so many dishes, but I don’t think it belongs in gumbo. My dad’s side of the family made gumbo with tomatoes and okra, my mom’s side with file. I like both, but usually make the file gumbo. I think I better buy some shrimp today – you’ve wetted my appetite!

  14. Pat in Mississippi

    I prefer a really dark roux for seafood gumbo and a couple of years ago learned that it can be made in the oven. Mix your oil & flour in a cast iron skillet and put it in a preheated 350 oven. Stir with a whisk every 15 minutes until it’s the color you want. Works like a charm. It can also be made in the microwave but I haven’t tried that yet.

  15. Kim

    Hmm , good, even in San Francisco we appreciate a finger lickin good gumbo, and I am lookin so forward to makin this .

  16. Terry

    I use butter instead of oil for my roux and some locals will tell you it’s not gumbo without okra. I eat it all the same. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

  17. Kelly

    Elise, it makes me want a steaming bowl of gumbo right now! Thanks so much for the penny color tip — I hadn’t heard that one before. And thanks also for the link love — much appreciated!

  18. FoodJunkie

    It is interesting that another popular food blogger is adamant that you add cold liquid to a roux, a little at a time, to prevent lumps. Those rouxs are not so dark however so is that maybe the difference? Or is this one of those things that has a right way and a wrong but only rarely makes a real difference? Regardless this gumbo looks awesome.

  19. MikeG

    Elise, this was great. Two comments: I needed one cup of flour with the half cup of olive oil?? Also, I like to sauté the shrimp shells with garlic and celery greens before adding water for the stock- it brings out a richer flavor. And I added some okra at the end which I cooked on high heat as is called for in the okra and tomato recipe you once posted.

  20. Kristine

    I am a regular here and am enjoying cooking up some gumbo for Fat Tuesday.

    Thought you’d like to know that the word “cup” is missing after the 2 in the section describing how to make the shellfish stock.

    Thanks for all the wonderful and inspiring recipes. I found your site years ago when I named my first daughter, now a teenager, Elise.

    • Elise

      Hi Kristine! Thanks for pointing out that omission. It’s actually 2 quarts of water. Please give my hellos to your daughter Elise!

      • Candace

        I plan to make this but am somewhat of a beginner and am now confused. Do you simmer the 2 quarts of water until it’s reduced down to 1 quart when making your own? And if you make your own stock, why would you use 1 quart stock and 1 cup water….why not 1 quart plus 1 cup stock? By adding 1 cup of water, aren’t you just reducing the depth of the good stock you just made?

        • Elise

          Great questions. Yes you simmer (or boil) the 2 quarts down to 1 quart. If you make your own stock, you can just simmer it down to 5 cups instead. That would be the equivalent of taking 1 quart of stock and adding a cup of water. Why the extra cup of water? The soup needs the liquid, and usually we store stock in quart sized containers. You don’t need to open another container (homemade or store bought) of stock to get to the 5 cups, just add a cup of water.

  21. Tim

    You are correct. Learning to make a roux is a rite of passage for all Cajuns, boys especially. (And BBQ, and boiling and… what can I say — we cook.)
    I’ve never used measuring cups making a Gumbo. So — flour to oil? Enough of each so that, as it thickens, a spatula moving across the bottom of the pot has the roux “fill in” behind it just about as it reaches the far side of the pot. Early on one can adjust it.
    The “best”, though is chicken and andouille. Mais, Cher, now dat’s good, good!

  22. Alex

    My wife can’t eat bell peppers, so I used three chopped jalapeños instead for the trinity. Delicious and gave the gumbo quite a kick!

  23. Kate

    Light or dark, “wet” or “dry”
    My sweetheart’s family is from Louisiana and while it’s true that “first, you make a roux” is the beginning of nearly all their traditional recipes, his aunt says she now often makes a “dry” roux, as traditional but less often used. Perhaps for making lighter meals or just for a different flavor, you cook flour (stirring constantly!) all by itself until it browns. It has a nutty flavor and still thickens the gumbo or soup. I’m not sure you can get it quite as dark as your pictures. Bon appétit!

  24. Stephen

    Here’s a real quick and easy way to make roux and tastes just like the on-the-stove type.
    2/3 cup flour
    2/3 cup vegetable oil
    2 cups onions, chopped
    1 cup celery, chopped
    1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1/4 cup parsley, chopped
    1/2 cup green onion, tops included, chopped
    1/4 cup hot water, approximately
    Directions:
    1 Mix oil and flour together in a 4 cup glass container (I use a Pyrex 4-cup).
    2 Microwave uncovered on high for 6-7 minutes.
    3 Stir at 6 minutes with a wooden spoon–roux will be a light brown at this time and will need to cook 30 seconds to 1 minute longer to reach the dark brown color so important in making Louisiana gumbos and stews.
    4 The roux will be VERY HOT, but usually the handle on your measuring cup will stay cool enough to touch.
    5 When the roux has reached a very dark brown (think a coffee grounds dark brown), remove from microwave and CAREFULLY (remember–the roux is very hot!); add the onion, celery, and bell pepper, a little at a time.
    6 Stir and return to microwave.
    7 Sauté on high for 2 minutes.
    8 You should now have about 3 3/4 cup of roux.
    9 If any oil has risen to the top, you can pour this off.
    10 Slowly, add enough hot water to bring the roux to the 4 cup mark.
    11 Stir and you will have a smooth, dark roux in only 12 minutes!
    12 Roux freezes very well and you are ready at any time to put together a delicious gumbo or stew!

  25. Patricia

    Here in CT we are still digging out from our weekend blizzard and this dish sounds perfectly heavenly!! I ahve all the ingredients and am happy to be cooking in the kitchen instead of shoveling snow (and now ice).
    Can anyone tell me the difference between Gumbo and Jambalya? I have tried looking at several sites and as far as I can tell they both use the trinity and (frequently) have similar protein sources (shrimp, sausage, chicken). Does jambalya always have tomato and rice?

    • Nancy Long

      Gumbo is a stew/soup which you serve in a bowl over rice; Jambalaya is basically the Cajun version of Spanish Paella.

  26. Rocky Mountain Woman

    love me a little gumbo! great idea for Mardi Gras…

  27. sonya

    I made this on Monday and it turned out a little bitter. Any idea why?

  28. janet

    Made this today, it turned out awesome, although mine turned out a little thin, i would have liked a little more ‘umph’ to the liquid. I suppose I could have simmered with the lid off and that would have done it.

    Delicious!

  29. Don

    I found that boiled “bluefish” heads in bay leaf, celery, carrots and onions (salt and pepper, of course) makes the best fish stock there is. Use the amount of water you need to the strength that you want.

    Also, for heat, try using Chinese garlic chili but be careful…only a little at a time and give it time cause is not all at once but grows in time.

  30. Nancy Long

    I no longer use file powder in my gumbo as leftovers don’t warm well. I always use orkra and have never had a problem with it getting slimy.

  31. Matt

    Invariably, I don’t get my roux dark enough, so I end up with blonde roux gumbo. It’s not quite the same as other gumbo I have around here (New Orleans), but the gumbo always is good anyway.

    I’m tempted to try the oven-roux method next time I make gumbo.

    I’m also tempted to drive out to La Place to get Jacob’s Andouille.

  32. goober

    Lifelong-Louisianan: I find the gumbo gets better if you can simmer it for an hour or more before the final stages. Sip as you simmer, and you will taste the improvements. Don’t salt too much at this stage; the sausage added later adds more saltiness than you might think.

    I always add okra near the end and cook it about 30 minutes until very done.

    We sprinkle file’ on our bowls rather than mix into the gumbo pot. And, contrary to what some say, you can have both file’ and okra in the gumbo.

    Many enjoy a dollop of potato salad in the bowl. I often ask Louisianans about this. Most have never heard of it; others say their family always does it.

  33. Christine

    Love your recipe. Thanks so much for teaching me how to make the roux. Your penny color tip was spot on. Just as I was beginning the whole process, my 18 year old son was passing through the kitchen. I asked him if he could stir the pot while I cut up the trinity (which I should have done before I started the roux). He stirred and stirred, until he finally ask, “How much longer.” I told him 20 minutes and the look on his face was priceless. I got to spend twenty precious minutes talking with my teenage son, and he was just as proud as I was of the terrific Gumbo we produced. Also, my husband had just returned from a business trip to New Orleans and he said my (your) Gumbo was as good or better than all he was served in Louisianna. Thanks!

  34. Lauren

    Incredible gumbo recipe! We’ve been looking for a recipe like this for years!

  35. Jim Clendenen

    Long time ‘listener,’ first time ‘poster.’ Delicious gumbo, loved it. Adding the chicken broth and water must be done slower than I anticipated. I got it hot, but added too quickly. I didn’t break the roux, but here was a slight pooling of oil as you indicated could happen. Mistake on my part, but aside from the aesthetics, a very flavorful and delicious dish! Thank you!!!

  36. Jeanette Covender

    I made this using a seafood stock, and it was absolutely heavenly! The seafood stock seemed to give it the deep flavor that you can’t get from just a chicken stock. Thanks for much for this recipe!

  37. Peta

    Being in Australia I love looking at recipes from all over the world but it pains me how grams and kilos and non metric recipes tend to steer me away from the hassle of conversion this one was well worth it though please could you give metric measurements for those of us looking from the other hemisphere it woud greatly enhance your readership for sure! But thanks for some lovely recipes so far.

  38. Colby

    If you’re not from around the south, you can buy sausage from Cajun Grocer. I prefer a chicken and sausage gumbo over a seafood. I had to move to PA a few years back, but I still get some sausage shipped to me every few weeks.

    This one is my fav.
    http://www.cajungrocer.com/savoie-s-7-links-smoked-mixed-hot-1483.html

  39. Marguerite

    This is delicious! I wanted to use the Tasso ham I had purchased from Dartagnan, so I substituted it for the andouille, and sautéed it in a little oil before I made the roux and added it back at the end. I had reviewed many gumbo recipes and selected this one because it’s not fussy. Other than a lot of stirring the roux, it’s easy. So happy to have this in my repertoire!

  40. Aaron B

    This taste sooooo good. I made it for my family and they absolutely loved it. I had to improvise a little because I forgot to buy some of the things you listed, but even then, this is awesome. You lead me to a victory and a new household favorite.