Sunday cooking: Gumbo

October 8, 2011

Last week, I asked Twitter for a gumbo recipe and I got a bunch of responses and several very helpful people emailing me recipes. I think it’s safe to say that I looked at well over 30 different recipes. Eventually, I ended up going with this recipe from Paula Deen, with some of my own adaptations, because it had the exact ingredients I wanted to use, and very straightforward directions. I think if you follow Paula’s recipe, you can’t go wrong, but I did make some changes to suit it to my family’s tastes, so my recipe follows

Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo


  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breast, cubed
  • Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Tony Chachere Instant roux mix
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems and leaves, coarsely chopped, plus chopped leaves for garnish
  • 5 cups hot water
  • 2 Tbsp chicken base (combined with hot water, this creates chicken stock. You can substitute canned broth instead)
  • 1 (14-ounce can) petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound small raw shrimp, peeled and deveined


1. Season the chicken with Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning (no set amount, be generous, about 2 Tbsp)

2. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook cubed chicken until browned. Do not cook all the way through. Remove chicken from pot w/slotted spoon and reserve in bowl to side.

3. Add the sausage to oil and cook until browned, then remove to same bowl as chicken.

4. Sprinkle the flour and Tony Chachere Roux mix over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of margarine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let roux cool slightly. (Important note I learned in my reading: use margarine, not butter. Butter burns more easily and when you’re cooking something that needs to be cooked awhile, like roux, it’s easier if you don’t use butter.) Don’t panic if things seem to be sticking to the bottom of your dutch oven. This is totally normal. Once you add the butter, and then the hot water, most of this will integrate back into your dish for an amazing flavor!

5. Return the Dutch oven to low heat and melt 3 tbsp butter with the roux. Add the onion, garlic and green pepper and cook for 10 minutes.

6. Add Worcestershire sauce, ground pepper and cayenne pepper, and the 1/4 bunch parsley. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.

7. During this 10 minute cook period, heat the 5 cups of water in a tea kettle.

8. Slowly add 5 cups hot water and chicken paste, whisking constantly as you add..

9. Add the chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.

10. Add tomatoes (if you want to add okra, this would be the place to add it. My family doesn’t like it so I omitted). Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

11. Add shrimp and another 1/4 bunch chopped parsley. Simmer 1/2 hour.

12. Start rice when you add shrimp. At the end of half hour, dish rice into a bowl and serve gumbo over rice. Enjoy!

Notes: Paula’s original recipe called for celery (cooked celery = blech), okra (I omitted) and beef bouillon instead of chicken paste. Most gumbo recipes I saw used chicken stock, so I went with the chicken instead. And I always use paste, in place of broth/bouillon, because it’s easy and tasty.

I also added the Tony Chachere’s seasoning, roux and red pepper, so my version adds some spice and heat that hers otherwise wouldn’t have. If you wanted it more spicy, you could add more Chachere’s seasoning or red pepper. You could also use spicy sausage but the andouille sausage is pretty yummy. I chose to go with a moderate spice this time, as a baseline, and I was pretty happy with it.

I have to say, this gumbo was delicious!

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