Maybe I should name this dish, “Gumbo 6.0” because I’ve changed the written recipe at least six times. I have no idea how many times I changed this gumbo before I wrote it down. I only wrote it down because many years ago (before the blog) friends kept asking for my gumbo recipe and I didn’t actually have one. It’s hard to write a recipe when you cook without measuring and cook by taste. Often I will pour a seasoning in my hand, guess at how much it is and then pour it into a measuring spoon or cup to see if I’m correct. It’s a long process, but I’m trying to write accurate recipes.
Is okra mandatory?
No, I thought it was mandatory for years. I read somewhere that Gumbo meant okra, but Pepé, my hubby and I just don’t like okra. We think that okra is the most disgusting excuse for a vegetable imaginable and have no idea why anyone would eat those slimy things. But, hey, who are we to judge? Well, when the definition has the term “gelatinous pods”… ‘nuff said.
Okra is not just a slimy vegetable, but is also used as a thickener, but I have other ways to thicken my gumbo such as a roux and gumbo filé … other than that, okra has no redeeming qualities and I’ll stand by that thought. However, if you like it, add it. If you don’t like one of the veggies in my recipe, change it.
What is this gumbo filé stuff?
Gumbo Filé is ground, dried sassafras leaves, magic, and is one of my preferred ways to thicken gumbo (along with a roux). If you happen to be graced with local Sassafras trees, you can make your own, but it easily purchased at your local grocery store in the spice isle. If you live in St. Louis, Missouri, Creve Coeur Park has some wonderful specimens nearby. Pick some leaves, dry them, grind them and then sift them through a sieve to remove any stems. Just to be clear, I have not done this yet, but I plan to some day.
A Good Gumbo Starts with a Roux
Make a roux by heating 1/4 cup oil in a pan on medium heat with 1/4 cup flour for about 20 minutes or until medium brown. Stir constantly or very often to prevent burning. If you do burn it, toss it and start over – you do not want to eat a burnt roux.
Chop, Stir, Repeat.
Chop your veggies, and all meat while you attend your roux.
Once your roux is done, add the onions and peppers and cook until tender. Add minced garlic after that and cook for about one minute more.
The Best Seafood & Chicken Gumbo
- 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or 1/2 butter and 1/2 of any oil)
- 1 Cup Chopped Onion (about 1 small onion)
- 3/4 Cup Mixed Bell Peppers green, red, yellow, orange or any mixture
- 2 large Garlic Cloves chopped
- 2 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1 Cup Seafood Stock (can substitute 1 more cup of chicken stock)
- 1 1/2 Cups Water
- 1 14.5 Ounce Can Cut Up Tomatoes with juice
- 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste + 3 Tablespoons Water
- 6-8 Ounces Smoked Andouille Sausage (2 links cut into bite size pieces)
- 1 Cup Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs (cut into bite size pieces)
- 2 1/2 cups Mixed Frozen Vegetables (carrots, corn, green beans, etc.)
- 1 Cup Lima Beans
- 1 Tablespoon Gumbo Filé *see note below
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Sriracha Sauce
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Spicy Blend No. 1 (or creole seasoning of choice)
- 1 Cup Large Sea Scallops (about 4-6 cut into 1/8ths)
- 1 Cup Large Shrimp (cut into 1/4ths or bite size pieces)(I use the largest shrimp, but you can buy smaller ones and use 10 or more)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Make a roux by heating 1/4 cup oil in a pan on medium heat with 1/4 cup flour for about 20 minutes or until medium brown. Stir constantly or very often to prevent burning.
- Add onions and peppers and cook until tender.
- Add and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes (don’t overcook garlic or it will be bitter).
- Add cut up andouille sausage and chicken and cook for a few minutes.
- Add chicken and seafood stock, water, tomatoes, tomato paste all remaining vegetables, spicy blend no. 1, Sriacha sauce, gumbo filé, salt, pepper and bay leaves.
- Simmer for at least 1/2 hour or more. Do NOT boil, just simmer.
- Add all seafood in at the last five minutes. Serve over cooked rice.