Chicken Gumbo with Andouille Sausage

Comfort FoodCreoleChicken

A classic spicy chicken and andouille sausage gumbo with okra.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Gumbo! (Don’t you just love the sound of that word?) Here’s a classic from Hank. Enjoy! ~Elise

Gumbo is one of my favorite stews in the world. There are Cajun versions, Creole versions, gumbo from Alabama and from Mississippi.

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I’ve tried dozens of gumbos in my travels in the Deep South, and none have been bad. Some better than others, but this is a stew made with lots of patience and lots of love.

A gumbo hinges on its thickeners. A roux of flour and fat is the primary one, and is in almost every gumbo I’ve ever eaten.

How dark you take the roux is your preference. Most Louisiana gumbo I’ve had relies on a roux that’s almost the color of dark chocolate. Beyond the roux, you usually have a choice of a second thickener—okra or filé powder, which is the leaf of the sassafras tree, powdered.

This version, using chicken thighs and andouille sausage, uses only a roux and okra.

Gumbo almost always has a variety of spices in it, and a store-bought Cajun or Creole spice blend will do just fine here. But in case you live in a place where you can’t get one, I’ve included a recipe for my spice blend below.

You have some leeway in making gumbo, as it is really just a melange of meats and veggies. Most gumbos use a lot of the “Holy trinity,” i.e., celery, green pepper and onion, but not too many other vegetables.

There is no reason you can’t make a vegetarian gumbo. As for meats, any will do. I often use a slew of game meats in my gumbo, but so long as you use more than one you’ll be fine. Chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp are a common trio. Beef, for some reason, is rare in gumbo.

Chicken Gumbo with Andouille Sausage Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 10-12

I include a recipe for my own Cajun spice blend, but you can use a commercial spice blend if you want.

A word on the andouille sausage: try your best to find it. We've found it in regular supermarkets, and it comes fresh or smoked. Either is good. It can be spicy, however, so if you are sensitive to spicy foods, lower the amount of cayenne in the recipe and use a mild Italian sausage.


  • 1/3 pound bacon, diced
  • 2-3 pounds chicken thighs, skin on
  • Salt
  • 1-2 pounds andouille sausage
  • 1/2 cup peanut or other vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 to 1 pound okra, sliced into discs
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Cajun spice mix

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano


1 Cook the bacon: Cook the diced bacon until crispy in a large stew pot set over medium heat. Remove the bacon and set aside; you'll add it back in when you serve your gumbo.

2 Brown the chicken in the bacon fat: Once the bacon is cooked, set the chicken thighs skin side down in the bacon fat to crisp. Salt the meat side, which will be facing up in the pot.

Cook the chicken, without moving, for at least 4-5 minutes before trying to turn the chicken over.

Brown the other side of the chicken thighs. Incidentally, you start with skin side down to render some fat, which you will need for the roux.

3 Brown the sausages: Remove the browned chicken thighs and set aside. Brown the sausages in the fat, remove and set aside.

4 Make the roux: If you want, measure how much fat is in the pot; it should be about 1/2 cup. Or, do what I do and add 1/2 cup peanut oil to the pot. Let this heat up a minute or two, then stir in 1 cup flour. Stir this almost constantly for the first few minutes, then every couple minutes or so thereafter.

Lower the heat to medium-low and cook this roux until it turns dark. How dark? I like my roux the color of coffee with just a tiny bit of cream.

You can go all the way to chocolate brown, but be careful! If you burn your roux you will need to start over and make it again. This whole process can take 30 minutes.

5 Heat chicken stock: While you are stirring and cooking the roux, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil in a separate pot.

6 Add onion, bell pepper, celery to roux, add garlic, then tomato paste: Add to the roux the onion, green pepper and celery and mix well. Let this cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, stir again and cook for another 2 minutes. Mix in the tomato paste.

7 Ladle hot stock into the gumbo, stir in some spice: Using a large ladle, add the hot chicken stock to the gumbo. It will sizzle and seize up as the roux absorbs the liquid.

Keep adding more stock, stirring all the time and scraping the bottom of the pot, to incorporate all the stock and all the roux.

You might not need all 2 quarts, but add enough to make the gumbo slightly more watery than you want it to be at the end—remember you are going to cook this down for several hours.

Stir in half the Cajun spice mix, taste the gumbo, and add more if you want.

8 Lower the heat, add the chicken, simmer: Lower the heat to medium-low and add back the chicken thighs. Now you can either eat the skin while it's still crispy, or toss it into the gumbo and chop it fine later. I tend to do half-and-half.

Simmer this gently, stirring from time to time, until the meat wants to fall off the bones of the chicken, about 90 minutes. Remove the chicken and let it cool a bit.

9 Add sausage, okra, chicken meat: While the chicken is cooling, cut the andouille sausage into thick discs and drop them in the gumbo.

Add the okra.

Pick the chicken meat from the bones and chop it roughly. Add it back to the gumbo.

At this point you can cook the gumbo for another hour, or up to several more hours, depending on how cooked down you want the final stew to be.

10 Add green onions, parsley, bacon to serve: When you are ready to eat, add the green onions, parsley and bacon and stir well. Serve over rice, or with good French bread.

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Vegetarian Gumbo - from 101 Cookbook

Crawfish Gumbo - from Steamy Kitchen

Wild Game Gumbo - from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Chicken Gumbo with Sausage

Hank Shaw

A former restaurant cook and journalist, Hank Shaw is the author of three wild game cookbooks as well as the James Beard Award-winning wild foods website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. His latest cookbook is Buck, Buck, Moose, a guide to working with venison. He hunts, fishes, forages and cooks near Sacramento, CA.

More from Hank

55 Comments / Reviews

No ImageChicken Gumbo with Andouille Sausage

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Carole

    I made this tonight. I added all of the chicken stock and water, but mine is super thick. Can I add more chicken stock and water mixture to the already made gumbo? We have enough for leftover, but it is SO thick!

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Dragonfly43

    Gumbo should be served with Filé powder at the end. I’m surprised it wasn’t mentioned.

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Debbie

    I make my own gumbo. One up flour and oil and I stir for 45 minutes till it is dark chocolate. I let it sit for a while. Then add 2 stalks celery, 1-2 bell peppers, one big onion and dice them up and put in pot for 3 min. and then add sliced andouille and stir then add 2 cups chicken broth bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. Oh add spices to the pot before broth. I use cayenne, chili powder, 2 bay leaves, salt, pepper garlic powder. Use the same spices for the chicken let sit while the sausage simmering. Add chicken simmer for two hours. Serve over rice with French bread or biscuits with some green onions. That’s it. Enjoy

  4. Simon

    Cooked this for my Louisianan wife and daughter and my daughter’s Indian boyfriend and they loved it! A great way to celebrate Mardi Gras!


  5. Michelle Johnson

    This was definitely a labour of love. The prep wasn’t bad except the roux. It was my first time attempting one. The first one I read the measuring cup wrong and it was like dough. 2nd attempt too much oil- never got thick. And finally my third attempt and 40 minutes of babying it on the stove it turned out decent. I gave up once it looked like coffee with cream. I wasn’t able to find okra (fresh or frozen). But it turned out just fine without it and my husband didn’t even notice. He said it was better than the gumbo at our local Cajun/New Orleans restaurant and possibly the best thing I’ve ever cooked for him. My old gumbo recipe is getting thrown out. This is the only gumbo I want to make from now on.


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