There are a million gumbo recipes out there, but the key to making a good gumbo is to make a good roux, and then use good stock. It’s fun to make a big batch around lunchtime on a football Saturday or Sunday, and refill your bowl throughout the afternoon. The roux is a little time-intensive up-front, but it’s well worth the effort.
- 1.5 c flour + 1.5 c Oil (for a roux)
- 1 lb Okra, sliced and sautéed in a little butter on medium heat for 10 minutes
- 2 white/yellow onions, diced
- 2 bell peppers (mixed colors of your choice), diced
- 2-3 quarts shrimp stock (preferred) or chicken stock
- 1.5 lbs shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 1.5 lbs chicken (optional) cubed
- 1.5 lbs sliced cooked andouille sausagesalt/pepper to taste
- Cajun Seasoning – as much as you want….I keep a batch of home-made Essence on hand
- File powder (to taste – 2-4 tablespoons)
- Sliced green onions and chopped parsley to garnish
- Cooked white rice (I prefer sushi rice for this)
1. Make the Roux
Heat the oil to medium high, then stir in the flour. Keep the heat at medium high and stir constantly until it becomes a chocolatey brown color. Don’t let it get so hot that it sticks to the bottom of the pot – if that happens, you have to start over again.
2. Add the vegetables
Once the roux is a nice deep brown, add the chopped onions & peppers, and a good dash of Creole seasoning. Most traditional gumbo recipes call for chopped celery at this point, too, but I usually skip it. Stir in the veggies to coat with roux, and let cook 5 minutes or so. Enjoy the sound and smell!
3. Add the stock
Pour in 2+ quarts of stock and stir to incorporate. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium low. After 20 minutes or so, there should be some oil/fat that has risen to the top. Skim this off with a ladle.
4. Add the goodies
Now is when I like to add the sausage and okra. If you are going to use chicken as well, sauté it with some oil and Cajun seasoning. When it is cooked through, add it to the gumbo. Keep heat on low, and skim fat again after 20 minutes. At this point, you can reduce the heat to a minimum and keep it warm or go ahead and serve.
5. Cook shrimp and thicken
Add file powder and shrimp to the gumbo and stir. Increase heat to medium to just cook shrimp through, usually 5 minutes. You’ll want it to get a little thicker from the File Powder. Add more if necessary, but don’t over do it.
Put a scoop of rice in the middle of a large soup bowl. Ladle gumbo around the rice, including plenty of the good stuff. Sprinkle some green onions and parsley for garnish, along with more seasoning if you like. Pass around extra file powder, and hot sauce of your choice.