Gumbo is one of those dishes that I think intimidates a lot of people. I’m not sure if it’s the roux, because it feels unnatural to cook flour and butter for so long, but it definitely used to intimidate me. Then, I realized just how easy it can be to make! And now, I LOVE IT!
I cook gumbo once every few months, but I definitely make it during carnival season. I lived in New Orleans for several years growing up. It’s where I met my husband. It’s where we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. It’s where we found out we were expecting our first daughter. I have so many fun childhood memories of Mardi Gras celebrations. The tradition, the camaraderie, the pomp and circumstance. It’s just so magical. I might even venture to say it’s even more magical than Christmas!
This dish always brings me back to those childhood memories and makes me feel connected to the city I love so much. I can’t wait to take my kids to Mardi Gras one day!
So, what goes into this delicious dish?
Unsalted Butter and All-purpose flour for the ROUX! You cannot have gumbo without a rich golden brown roux. I REPEAT. You CANNOT have gumbo without buttery, rich roux
ALL THE GARLIC - an absolute MUST in any Cajun or Creole cooking
Andouille sausage - I personally think this is imperative, but you can leave it out if you're making a pescetarian version!
Chicken thighs - I like to use thighs, but you can certainly use chicken breast as well. I just think the thighs add more flavor.
Cajun seasoning - I almost exclusively make my own these days, but there are a ton of store bought brands that are amazing.
Fire roasted diced tomatoes - I don't know how traditional this is, but I certainly think it adds some good flavor!
Okra - I've seen plenty of recipes without okra, but I just love the texture and flavor it adds. Plus, I take advantage of any chance I can get to ensure that there are some veggies in a meal.
Medium shrimp - I usually just buy frozen, wild caught, peeled and deveined shrimp! It saves SO MUCH TIME. And it really doesn't cost much more than buying them from the seafood counter. Plus, more often than not, it will be much fresher this way!
Brown or White Rice - You gotta have this to soak up all the yummy goodness from the gumbo!
How do we make this delicious gumbo?
For the Cajun seasoning: Stir together all ingredients and store in an airtight container, at room temperature for up to 6 months.
For the Gumbo:
First make a roux with the butter and flour. Melt butter over low heat, and slowly whisk in the flour. Whisking often, cook the flour and butter mixture until it reaches a dark caramel color. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Make the gumbo. In a large dutch oven, add grapeseed or avocado oil, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken and sausage, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through. Add the cajun seasoning, and stir to coat the chicken and sausage.
Slowly pour in the vegetable broth, tomatoes, okra and roux. Stir together until well combined, and bring to a low boil. Let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes, until it has thickened. Stir in shrimp, and let cook for 3-5 minutes, or until it is cooked through.
Serve the gumbo over rice and top with fresh chopped parsley.
As always ENJOY, and let me know what you think in the comments and over on Instagram @sugarandsalt_co!