It doesn’t get more Louisiana than gumbo. While the original stew pot of gumbo derived from French and West African roots, it has become a staple dish across Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole cuisines.
As with many Louisiana dishes, first you make the roux to start off gumbo correctly. The roux is based in one part flour and one part vegetable oil. Once combined over high heat and bubbles form, you continually whisk to not let the mixture burn. As it gets darker, you can turn the fire down to have better control. My gumbo is a true Cajun gumbo, so my roux isn’t done until it reaches a dark, reddish-brown color, and has the consistency of milk chocolate. Creole gumbo incorporates tomatoes and will have a more red tint.
At this point it’s time add in your holy trinity of vegetables, red onion, celery, and bell pepper, to the roux, stirring them into the roux and letting the vegetables cook down until soft. The roux is the most important element of a gumbo, setting the flavor profile for the entire pot.
You’ll then add in your stock and cajun seasonings as you continue to layer the flavoring of the gumbo. I do half chicken stock and half seafood stock, as I feel it compliments all elements of the gumbo and brings out more fullness and depth of flavor. I stay at this stage for about an hour before adding in the proteins because I want the flavors to really marry well. Remember, you’re still building off your roux so you want to make sure the flavor is spot on before continuing.
Once the flavor is right, it’s time to add your andouille sausage and chopped chicken thighs. Andouille is a Louisiana smoked sausage made using pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine, and seasonings. If you can’t find this sausage in your neck of the woods, polska kielbasa is a great substitute.
You’re going let the gumbo simmer for another hour or so, again allowing all the flavors to marry well. The shrimp and blue crab should be the very last elements added to your gumbo while on a low simmer. These two seafoods cook very fast, and if added too soon, will disintegrate in the gumbo.
It’s a known fact that gumbo is always better the second day once it’s had a chance to stew and the flavors are melded together, so keep this in mind when planning to make a large pot of gumbo. For plating, add in a lot of the juice and you just need a 1/4 cup of rice on top.
Traditionally, gumbo is eaten in the cooler months, but I can honestly enjoy it year-round!
Cajun Seafood Gumbo
It doesn't get more Louisiana than gumbo. While the original stew pot of gumbo derived from French and West African roots, it has become a staple dish across Louisiana's Cajun and Creole cuisines.
- 3lbs chicken thighs, chopped
- 1lb andouille sausage (or Polish kielbasa), sliced
- 1 1/2lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 cups onions, chopped
- 2 cups bell peppers, chopped
- 2 cups celery, chopped
- 1 cup, green onions
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 1/2 cups seafood stock
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2tbs garlic, minced
- 2 1/2 cups cooked white rice
- Garlic powder, to taste
- Italian seasoning, to taste
- Cajun/Creole seasoning to taste
- Gumbo Filé
- Olive oil
- 4 bay leaves
- Coat all meat and seafood with olive oil and all seasonings. Place each one in a separate ziplock bag and place in refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Remove from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat oil in large, heavy pot over medium heat.
- Stir in flour and continue to whisk until the roux turns a reddish-brown color, careful to not let the roux burn. As it gets darker, turn down the heat on the burner down for more control over the roux.
- Remove from heat and quickly add in the holy trinity and green onions, and mix well with roux util vegetables are tender.
- Slowly add in both stocks, stirring continually until a thick paste forms.
- Bring mixture to boil and add in seasonings, bayleaves and minced garlic.
- Cover and let boil for 10 minutes; taste and adjust as needed.
- Add in chicken and sausage, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Add in shrimp and blue crab, cover and continue to simmer for another hour, stirring occasionally.
- Sprinkle in file and stir until gumbo reaches desired thickness; let simmer for another 20-30 minutes.
- Cook white rice according to package instructions.
- Serve over cooked rice and add additional filé to bowl.
- Let gumbo pot cool and freeze in divided portions for later consumption.