If you want to make Gumbo from scratch, this recipe will compete with the best on Bourbon street! Using a gumbo roux and okra for thickening, this hearty stew will give you a taste of the Big Easy!
I've been making gumbo from scratch since I first learned how to cook. For whatever reason, I have always been enamored by creole and cajun cuisine. Once I even planned a road trip down to New Orleans just to enjoy all of the great food, but the week before I left I got a notice from the IRS saying they adjusted my tax return by $1000. Needless to say, it wasn't in my favor.
Someday I will make it down to Bourbon street, but in the meantime, my kitchen can whip out food just as good as any restaurant in the Big Easy. I've been tweaking my Red Beans and Rice, Jamabalya, and Gumbo recipes for years. Oh, and not to mention, my homemade creole seasoning recipe.
Gumbo is a traditional Lousiana stew served with rice. To make a gumbo from scratch you need to understand how to thicken it properly. After all, who wants to eat a runny gumbo? Traditionally gumbo is thickened with file powder, okra, or a gumbo roux. Personally, I find it is easiest to thicken with okra or a roux. My recipe calls for both.
Okra is a great natural thickener because its slimy nature actually has powerful thickening properties, plus the chunky vegetable adds great texture and flavor to the stew.
To thicken a gumbo with a roux isn't difficult, however, it takes more attention as you don't want it to burn. Basically, a roux is a mixture of equal parts flour and fat that is cooked together prior to incorporating into a stew. The fat can be butter, oil, lard, or even bacon grease. It is used so frequently in cajun cooking it is often referred to as "Cajun Napalm".
A roux can be blond colored, or cooked until a deep brown. The more it is cooked, an increasingly nuttier flavor is imparted. However, if you wish to create a lightly colored roux you still need to make sure you heat it long enough to cook out the raw flour taste. I heat my roux for a minimum of 5 minutes every time.
Finally, it is very important you pay close attention to the roux as it cooks. You need to whisk continually so it doesn't burn. If the roux burns you need to dump it out and start the roux again or your Gumbo will have a bitter burnt taste.
Did you know you can buy Gumbo Roux? Personally I recommend making it, however, it is a nice shortcut if you are looking for one.
Gumbo from Scratch - Ingredients
To make a good Gumbo from scratch you need to know the Holy Trinity. No, not the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Though they are important too, I am actually referring to onions, celery, and peppers. This is a staple in cajun cuisine. You can't make traditional gumbo without it.
Next, you get to choose your protein. This Gumbo recipe calls for chicken, andouille sausage, and shrimp. However, you can use any combination of these with great results. I often make a chicken and sausage gumbo instead. If you aren't familiar with it, Andouille sausage is a popular smoked pork sausage in Louisiana, however, you can find it at grocery stores around the country. Like much of cajun cuisine, Andouille sausage has it roots in French cooking.
Gumbo from Scratch with a Gumbo Roux
- 3 large boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped
- 1 pound Andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch slices
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 bunch fresh Thyme
- 1 tablespoon Paprika
- 3, 14.5oz cans Beef Stock
- 1, 14 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 cups frozen sliced okra
- 4 green onions sliced, white and green parts
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley stems and leaves, coarsely chopped, plus chopped leaves for garnish
- ½ pound small shrimp optional, peeled, deveined
- Heat small amount of oil in heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch Oven. Add the sausage and cook until browned, then remove. Quickly brown chicken and remove.
- Add rest of oil and sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, to make the gumbo roux. Cook until brown (peanut butter colored), about 10 minutes (roux will appear chunky at first but it will thin out as it cooks). Adjust oil as needed to make roux. Let the roux cool (i.e. stop it from cooking further) by removing it from heat.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery (this should cool roux) and return to heat and cook for 10 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add stock, chicken, sausage, thyme, paprika, and bay leaves, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add tomatoes, and okra; cover and simmer for an additional 1 hour.
- Remove bay leaf and bunch of thyme. Add the green onions, shrimp, and chopped parsley.
- Flavors intesify if refrigerated overnight.
- Serve over rice.
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The best recipe I've had yet. Outstanding!
I made this a while back, and loved it! Since then, I started the Atkins diet, which is basically a modified Keto diet. What would you guess the quantity of 1 serving is? A cup, maybe 2? I now serve it with riced cauliflower, instead of rice, and it’s still damn good. Also, does the Nutrition info include the shrimp, or does that need to be added? Thanks for a great reciepe!
I have been making your recipe now for 2 years and it is delicious! I use gluten free flour for a family member and it works great. Thanks very much.
CLESTE ST. AMANT
SORRY IM NOT SURE WHAT PART OF LOUISIANA THIS MESS IS FROM!!! DAMM SURE NOT NEW ORLEANS!!! OR OTHER CPARISHSES THAT I KNOW OF!! UGGGHHHHH!!!!
I'm going to try your recipe this up coming week, to have when we go camping, ill pre make it at home.
Question, I hate okra, hoe much gumbo feli should i use? For the thickening?
Thank you for sharing.
This recipe I getting very close to mine. I can't get fresh spices so I use dried. I know your recipe is a good one 😋
Should shrimp be raw or cooked when you add it?
Fox Valley Foodie
They should be raw
Baw, did you put tomatoes in the gumbo? That's sacrilegious! Roux looked amazing, though.
This was a great recipe and my gumbo turned out great. I was having an issue with my roux until this recipe. Thank you so much.!
This recipe is absolutely delicious! Easy simple and delicious. Please try this one because I am Cajun and this is better than I have ever tried before ! So much more natural flavor. Simply magnificent!
Fox Valley Foodie
That's what I like to hear! Thanks so much!
Totally too runny and lacks heat. Not authentic.
Please please please do not take this recipe as cajun! This is a recipe that is more New Orleans based. Do not believe ANY RECIPE that claims CAJUN based out of New Orleans. Trust recipes from Lafayette, Breaux Bridge, St. Martinville, Arnoudville, Port Barre, Ville Platte, Opelousas, Crowley. Pisses me off that television claims New Orleans as Cajun, can't be no further from the truth! Not saying they don't cook good food, just not Cajun!
Exactly. This recipe is wrong in so so many ways. My heart rate ran rapid just reading the ingredients. NOOOOO! Straight outta Lafayette, many generations. My grandmother would turn over in her grave if I ever made gumbo like this.
I agree, I’m from Rayne, and it totally different. But if people don’t know they just don’t want to know !
It’s good, and it better than they’ve ever experienced, so if they like it it, let them love it!
They are just missing out on Cajun Gumbo, it’s New Orleans Gumbo!
I am from New Orleans, and this recipe is the real deal!
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
Awwww! Wasn't that kind of the IRS to make the corrections and adjustments for you?? They are so kind-hearted always willing to help. NOT!!!!! I'm so sorry you didn't make it to NOLA. We do love our Cajun/Creole food, also. We'll have to try your recipe! Love spicy.
Oh my, I was going to make Gumbo on Fat Tuesday then I totally forgot. Thank you for this post, I'm going to try yours next week. The recipe I have I got from Emilio the chef . I can't remember his last name right now but he is on Food Network. I love cooking and have for many years , I thought about blogging about it but I'm so busy homeschooling my granddaughter and taking care of our horses that I can barley keep up. I followed you and signed up for your newsletter and I'm looking forward to scavenge ring your blog. It is a creative outlet for me too. By the way, I love your corny jokes! Blessings, Susan
Fox Valley Foodie
Haha, thanks for the comment! I hope you love the Gumbo as much as I do. I'll keep the corny jokes coming!
Thanks for the refreshing recipe, my family loved it! Best ever!
Hello. I'm making this gumbo today. I can't wait!!! Thank you for sharing the recipe. Many Blessings to you ❤️