Traditional Cajun Style Gumbo

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I don't remember the first time I ever ate gumbo, but I do know that I have loved it ever since. I will always order gumbo off a menu when it's an option. 

I don't live in the South, so my life is pretty much deprived of this hearty, soul filling stew. Thankfully, I was a lucky enough gal to marry into a gumbo loving family. My father-in-law actually makes a huge pot of gumbo every winter. My husband and I always find excuses to invite ourselves over on that day. While we actually make gumbo at our house too, one can never have enough! 

By: Anna from Blessed Beyond Crazy
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By: Anna from Blessed Beyond Crazy

From my personal experience, this is a spot-on recipe for traditional gumbo. It is made with a roux (flour and oil), contains lots of beautiful vegetables, a variety of meats, and a combination of spices that brings it all together, while served over a bowl of rice. 

This recipe makes a HUGE pot of gumbo! You could make a half recipe or make a whole recipe and freeze half. However, my family has no problem polishing off a whole pot. 
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Ingredients

For the Roux:
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup flour (for gluten free version use rice flour
Vegetables
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped finely (we prefer 1 red and 1 orange, but any color will work)
  • 2 onions, chopped finely
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped finely
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped very finely
  • 2 pounds frozen okra
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) stewed tomatoes 
Meat
  • 1 pound shrimp, tails removed
  • 1 pound polish sausage, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded 
  • 6 cans (14.5 oz) or 7 1/2 cups chicken broth or stock
Seasonings
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (more or less depending on taste. We like more than this, but keep it at 2 tsp. since our kids eat it) 
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
You will also need 2 cups of rice, cooked, to serve the gumbo over--measure 2 cups dry rice, then cook.
My completely cooked roux, right before I added the vegetables.
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My completely cooked roux, right before I added the vegetables.

Make the Roux

Do not let a roux intimidate you! This was my first time ever making a roux and it turned out flawlessly! 
I recommend using a  cast iron skillet. Cast iron heats up slower and maintains a more consistent temperature. It also doesn't seem to have "hot spots" that you may have noticed on some of your thin metal pans. The thick walls of a cast iron pan will keep the roux from burning as you heat it up.
I also think it is absolutely necessary to use a  sauce whisk! I use one of these every time I have to do a lot of stirring in a skillet. It keeps everything mixed well together without it burning. The bottom coil is a silicone coated wire that will not scratch your other nice pans!
  • Add 1/2 cup oil to your skillet and heat it for 1-2 minutes until hot. 
  • Add 1/2 cup flour (rice flour for gluten free). Whisk constantly! 
  • Continue whisking until the flour starts to turn brown, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to low.
  • Continue whisking until flour turns dark brown, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat. 
  • Add 1 finely chopped onion and 1 finely chopped bell pepper to the roux and set aside. 
Be very careful not to burn your roux. You do not need to whisk vigorously, but you do need to stir it constantly. 
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Making the Soup

In a  large stock pot (remember I said this made a lot!) add the following:
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • diced polish sausage
  • remaining onion and pepper
  • diced celery
  • can of tomatoes
  • bay leaves and seasonings
  • shredded chicken
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Occasionally stir. If chicken broth starts to reduce, add another can. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
*Hint* The celery will take the longest to become tender. 

Once vegetables are tender add remaining ingredients:
  • remaining chicken broth
  • okra
  • shrimp
  • green onion
  • roux
Bring back to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. 
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Cook the two cups of rice.
Serve gumbo over rice. 
This stew is so delicious and flavorful, but honestly letting it set and eating it the next day is even better! It is a great meal to make ahead of time. Plus it makes so much it would be perfect for a large group or lots of left overs. 

This is a perfect recipe for cooler weather. While I'm not excited about the weather, I am excited about soup season! 
Anna

To find more fun ideas, tips, recipes, decor ideas and DIY projects please visit our Blessed Beyond Crazy blog and social media via Pinterest, Twitter #blessedcrazy, Instagram #blessedbeyondcrazy, and Facebook.
If you are looking for an amazing dessert to serve with your gumbo, check out these Easy Mini Cast Iron Skillet Fruit Pies.
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If you are looking for an amazing dessert to serve with your gumbo, check out these Easy Mini Cast Iron Skillet Fruit Pies.
Click to see more fun ideas for serving Soup, Stews, and Chowders.
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Click to see more fun ideas for serving Soup, Stews, and Chowders.
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