Should I call this Gumbo 6.0?
I say this because I’ve changed my recipe at least six times. Maybe more. Many years ago (before this blog) friends kept asking for my gumbo recipe and I didn’t actually have one – it was something I just threw together, so I finally wrote it down, only to continue to change it.
Now it’s been posted for a couple of years, and I just modified it again. All the versions are delicious. Feel free to modify as well. Add or omit ingredients until your heart desires.
Do I need to put okra in my gumbo?
No, I thought it was mandatory for years. I’ve read that the word Gumbo possibly means okra, but Pepé, my hubby and I just don’t like okra. I keep trying to like it, I have many friends who absolutely adore it, but I just can’t seem to get on that bus.
Well, and then there’s the fact that the definition boldly describes it as being a “gelatinous pod”… uh…‘nuff said.
How to thicken gumbo without okra?
A roux is not just for flavoring the gumbo, it is also used to thicken stews and sauces.
Gumbo Filé is another ingredient used to thicken this creole delight. It’s magical and made from ground, dried sassafras leaves. You can find it at your local grocery store, but if you can’t find it in the spice isle, check the seafood counter. They can’t decide where to put it.
If you live in St. Louis, Missouri, Creve Coeur Park has some wonderful sassafras trees. Pick some leaves (not sure if that’s actually legal), 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. I might want to find out if I’m allowed to do this first. 😉
Check out my new spoon!
This amazing flat bottomed spoon was whittled for me by a dear friend (thanks again Muskrat). The wood was salvaged from a barn that was built in the 1860’s. That old barn was on the historical registry before a tornado scattered it over fifty acres. It had survived the Civil war at a time a lot barns were burned to the ground. I’m very honored that he made it for me.
Scroll down below the recipe for step-by-step instructions.
Other Creole Recipes
Mincoff Café Spicy Blend No. 1 Handy for so many of my recipes and WITHOUT SALT.
Easy Chicken Stock aka “Bone Broth” made in a crockpot while you’re sleeping. Nice!
The Best Seafood & Chicken Gumbo
- Soup Pot or Dutch Oven
- 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or 1/2 butter and 1/2 of any high temp oil)
- 1 Cup Chopped Onion (about 1 small onion)
- 3/4 Cup Mixed Bell Peppers (green, red, yellow, orange or any mixture)
- 3/4 Cup Celery
- 2 large Garlic Cloves (fine chopped or minced)
- 2 Cups Chicken Stock (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 Cup Seafood Stock (can substitute 1 more cup of chicken stock or bottled clam juice)
- 1 3/4 Cups Water
- 14.5 Ounces Cut Up Tomatoes (in can/tin with juice)
- 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 8 Ounces Smoked Andouille Sausage (2 medium links cut into bite size pieces)
- 1 Cup Chicken Thighs (skinless & boneless cut into bite size pieces or more sausage)
- 1 Cup Sea Scallops (about 4-6 cut into 1/8ths) (cut thickness into half, then cut each half into quarters.)
- 1 Cup Large Shrimp (cut into 1/4ths or bite size pieces) (I use the Jumbo shrimp, but you can buy smaller ones and use 10 or more)
- 1 3/4 cups Mixed Frozen Vegetables (carrots, corn, green beans, peas, etc., just use what you like)
- 1 Cup Lima Beans (frozen) (or okra. Okra is not my thing, but many seem to love it)
- 1 Tablespoon Gumbo Filé (*see note below)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Sriracha Sauce (optional)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Spicy Blend No. 1 (or creole seasoning of choice)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rice for serving (white or brown) (spoon about 1/2 or more over each bowl of gumbo)
- 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.
- Once the roux is ready add the onions, peppers and celery and cook until tender.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes (don’t overcook garlic or it will be bitter).
- Stir in the andouille sausage and chicken and cook for a few minutes. *see note below if you're using pre-cooked chicken.
- Simmer for at least 1/2 hour or more. Do NOT boil, just simmer.
- Add all seafood in at the last five minutes. Serve with cooked rice.
**If using pre-cooked chicken, add at the same time as the seafood.
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, chop, chop.
You don’t have to use three different colored peppers, I just think it’s pretty and they each add their own flavors.
Add onions, peppers and celery and cook until tender.
Onions, bell peppers and celery or the “holy trinity” as it’s called, is a staple in creole cooking and especially gumbo.
Add and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes (don’t overcook garlic or it will be bitter).
While your veggies are cooking, start cutting up cut up your proteins and have them ready. Seafood will go in last after it has simmered a bit.
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 with cooked rice. I put the gumbo in the bowl first and then about 1/2 cup or more on top, but there’s really no right or wrong way to serve it.