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This is a solid basic recipe to start with. I made shrimp stock, added smoked ham, fresh parsley, thyme, and paprika. I simmered the base for 2 hours. It’s always a hit!
I think I should have sautéed the andouille sausage before adding. The grease from it was overwhelming. I did add okra and clams along with the shrimp. Will be making it again, simply delicious!
I made this last night. I could not get the roux as dark as a penny. I am going to reheat today for dinner and put the shrimp in shortly before we eat. IT seems thick. Can I add more chicken broth?
You do not cook gumbo for an hour, it takes me at least three hours to cook gumbo because you need to cook the flour. I live in South Louisiana and have made hundreds of gumbos. I never use shrimp and andouille together. It is either shrimp and okra or chicken and andouille. It depends where you grew up.
Yes, even though overall excellent and inspirational, needs okra!
The recipe I have always used calls for file and okra. It also has andouille and shrimp. It has crawfish meat and instead I sub a pound of cooked B/S thighs and it is really good that way. I got the recipe out of the Bee so many years ago and it was from Ale Marys in Fell’s Point. I may have to try yours and just add okra because we would miss it. We also add the File per bowl and not to the pot. The recipe I use has crushed tomatoes and cayenne and bay leaves no Worcestershire. On the fence here as my kids are big on tradition and hate it when I try new recipes for Fat Tuesday!
I am from New Zealand and have not heard of File Powder. Is this for thickening?, and if so, can I use cornflour instead? If it is for taste, what is a good alternative? Very hard to find Andouille sausage too. Specialty stores recommend Chorizo or Kransky.
Don’t know about Kransky, but Chorizo is too greasy. Polish Kielbasa is best if you can’t find Andouille.
File is made from sassafras leaves. Both for taste and thickening. If you can’t find file, use sliced okra.
Growing up in South Louisiana, we all learned that the color of the roux depends on what type of protein you’re using. For instance, gumbo with crab meat (very light in color) gets a very, very dark roux the color of dark chocolate. Chicken gets a roux the color of milk chocolate. Etc. And gumbo made with okra doesn’t get a roux at all, since the okra is the thickener in this dish.
FYI – While I don’t have the exact recipe, many health-conscious cajuns make a roux by baking the flour in the oven with no oil (and no stirring) at all.
I’ve heard of baking it too but haven’t tried it.
I am chuckling! Remember decades ago when a good friend, who’d gone home to Lafayette [LA} for a visit, brought me bags of defrosting frozen crawfish. Can you imagine what a stir that would cause now with TSA? He taught me how to make Crawfish Etouffee….which involves roux. And he taught me to brown the roux almost to the point of (my) exhaustion. The crawfish came out so good, but I have never forgotten stirring and stirring and stirring…. and his enjoying the whole thing!
nice recipe! i’m glad it shows how easy making gumbo really is (for some reason most folks think it’s a daunting task). that roux just tests your patience. as far as the roux goes, the lighter the color, the more thickening it provides, but i think the darker color adds more flavor. i’ve made gumbo with blonde roux and don’t like it as much.
what i love most about gumbo is, like chili, it’s a “kitchen sink” stew in that you can pile in the ingredients (chicken, crab, crawfish, oysters, mussels, lobster, clams) as long as you have enough pots on hand! one note: i like to brown my andouille a bit which renders some of the fat out of it and lessens the greasiness in the finished product (i brown my chicken thighs in this rendered fat which adds even more flavor!).
My boyfriend and I would like to make gumbo sometime. Since I’m a HUGE fan of shrimp, is it possible that I can use frozen, but without the tail on? Thanks, Elise. :-)
This was my first time eating or making gumbo, and it was delicious ! Another successful recipe, thank you for this site Elise !!
I’m so glad you liked it Rose!
If you wanted to make this the night before, then reheat, when would you pause? Just before the shrimp? I fear rubbery overcooked shrimp.
Yep, I would probably wait and put the shrimp in at the end.
can scallops join the party and, if so, how and where to introduce them?
I love gumbo and make it once in a while. It is a lot of work, but once it is ready you have a huge pot. It freezes well. This is a great recipe
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.
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!
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
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.
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!
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!!!
Incredible gumbo recipe! We’ve been looking for a recipe like this for years!
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!
Music to my ears!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I made this on Monday and it turned out a little bitter. Any idea why?
Perhaps the roux got a little burnt?
Too much bell pepper can make gumbo bitter. I like BP but always dial it back for gumbo. Ruined some once.
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?
Gumbo is a stew/soup which you serve in a bowl over rice; Jambalaya is basically the Cajun version of Spanish Paella.
Gumbo is a thick soup served over rice that starts with a roux. Jambalaya is a one pot meal where the rice is cooked in the broth with the meats and other seasonings. All the liquid is absorbed by the rice, jambalaya is not soupy at all. There is usually no roux for jambalaya. Also, it does not always have tomato; it’s referred to as a “red jambalaya” when tomato-based and “brown jambalaya” when not.
Here’s a real quick and easy way to make roux and tastes just like the on-the-stove type.2/3 cup flour2/3 cup vegetable oil2 cups onions, chopped1 cup celery, chopped1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped4 garlic cloves, minced1/4 cup parsley, chopped1/2 cup green onion, tops included, chopped1/4 cup hot water, approximatelyDirections: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!
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?
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.
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!
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!
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!
We probably grew up in the same neighborhood – my mother’s family is from St. Landry Parish and knew the Prudhommes. In any case I agree but make mine duck and andouille with a chocolate roux.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.