Updated: Jun 6
Gumbo is a staple of Louisiana Cajun culture. In one big black pot you get the perfect blending of ingredients, community, and tradition that speaks of a people that know how to welcome a good time. To many in the South this is a weekly meal, to others this might be the perfect bowl of warmth as the months grow chillier, and for some it makes for a festive Mardi Gras dinner.
Growing up about an hour the Louisiana border we found a lot of Cajun culture and experience floating around our small town. Our frequent trips to the neighboring state certainly added to our way of living and it is something that I've always cherished. Over time I inevitable picked up their love for life, color, jazz & zydeco music, dancing, good food, and togetherness. These are a people that know hospitality in their bones, not one that is manicured as we can sometimes do when we want to put our best foot forward when hosting a dinner, but a kind of welcomeness that treats you as if you are family.
If possible I want to extend as much of that Southern hospitality to you as I can through this family recipe, especially as we approach Mardi Gras. My dad's recipe is packed with flavor and spice, it will surely bring your gathering or simple dinner at home with family to life.
Settle in because we are going to be here for a while!
Did you know?
Gumbo is a roux based dark stew that incorporates what is popularly known as the Holy Trinity: onion, bell pepper, and celery, along with a protein of your choice.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Yields: 8-10 servings
Gumbo Making Tip:
*Low and Slow*
1 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 lb of Andouille sausage cut into one inch pieces
4 boneless skinned chicken breast, or thighs if you prefer
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 quarts water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Creole seasoning, to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Dash of hot sauce, to taste
5 green onions, chopped
1 tsp File powder, add more to taste, optional
White or brown rice, for serving
Additional green onion, for garnish
Note: Filé powder, sometimes referred to as gumbo filé, is a spicy herb made from the dried and ground leaves of sassafras tree. This is optional as some folks don't prefer the taste of this ingredient.
1. In a big pot, cook the sausage for about 5 minutes or until browned. Keep the drippings in the pan and set sausage aside.
2. Cook the chicken in the same pot with the sausage drippings until browned, not cooked through. Set the chicken aside and keep the drippings in the pot.
3. Now for the roux! Making a roux takes time and attention, so from personal experience, don't put this on and walk away. If you would like to use a store bought roux you can do that too. We make ours at home and this is how you do it.
There are a lot of different shades of roux that you can make, but the best roux for a gumbo is dark brown in color. Over medium low heat, add 1/2 cup vegetable oil to the pan of drippings and slowly sprinkle in the flour while stirring constantly. Cook and stir over the same heat setting for 35-40 minutes or until chocolate brown.
I found this roux cooking chart that I really like from "Tastes Better from Scratch" and I thought you might appreciate it too!
4. When your roux is finished stir in your Holy Trinity: 1 chopped onion, 1/2 chopped green bell pepper, and 2 chopped celery sticks. Cook until these ingredients are tender.
5. Add about 2 quarts water, bring to a boil while stirring your ingredients.
6. Add in the chicken, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning to taste, and 1/2 tsp dried thyme. Simmer on low for 1 hour.
7. Add in sausage, 5 chopped green onions, and 1 tsp file powder (optional) then simmer for another 45 minutes on low.
8. Remove from heat, serve with a scoop of rice, and garnish with chopped green onions.
Did you make this recipe? If so I would love to see it, drop a picture in the comment or send it to me on social media Facebook @HisGirlSunday or Instagram @steffani_hisgirlsunday.
For more resources on building Catholic tradition, check out the blog section of my website!