Comfort Food: Louisiana Gumbo

Ever since I was a little girl, I remember my grandmother making gumbo throughout the year for the family to enjoy. Every time she would make a large simmering pot, the house smelled amazing and the anticipation built until she yelled, "it's time to eat!" Sometimes, we never knew what was inside either, but it was always good.

Gumbo comes in variations based on what ingredients are available. Sometimes my grandmother used crab which was a luxury to us. I, however, was not a fan when gritty oysters were used and growing up I was too naive to appreciate them. Some people use okra, but I've learned it's an acquired taste not meant for everyone.

Until now, I never attempted to make gumbo because it always seemed complicated and intimidating. Have you seen the list of ingredients and don't let me started on the roux. I finally gave in because since I'm part Creole, it seems like I need to finally master this traditional dish.

Next time I make gumbo, I will include a step-by-step photo gallery for you to follow. I was too scared to stop and take photos during each step, fearing I'd burn or miss something. I'm a bit OCD when cooking.

In the end, making gumbo is easy but time-consuming. If I can do it, so can you. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup canola oil

  • 8 oz. Andouille sausage

  • 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs - cut up into cubes

  • ½ cup flour

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter

  • 1 medium green bell pepper diced

  • 1 medium onion diced

  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 sticks)

  • 4 cloves of minced garlic

  • 1 14oz. can tomatoes (diced)

  • 6 cups of chicken stock

  • 1 pound of crab legs

  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

  • ½ tablespoon smoked (or sweet) paprika

  • 1 chicken bouillon cube

  • 1-tablespoon thyme fresh or dried

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)

  • 2 green onions chopped

  • 1-tablespoon gumbo file

  • Optional: 10 cups cooked rice *varies based on serving size per person

Directions

  1. Lightly season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

  2. Over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pan, heat a tablespoon of oil and cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove. *Chicken will be pink inside

  3. Add the sausage and cook until browned, and then remove. Set aside.

  4. In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot combine room temperature butter, oil and flour until smooth.

  5. Using a wooden spoon, cook on medium heat, stirring continuously, for about 15-20 minutes or until it turns a rich dark brown color - just like chocolate. Keep stirring to avoid burning and remember not to walk away.

  6. When you have achieved your desired color, add the onions, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for 5 minutes –stirring frequently

  7. Then add the chicken, sausage, crab legs, creole seasoning, chicken bouillon or cubes, paprika, thyme and bay leaves. Stir everything together.

  8. Next, add the can tomatoes (plus juice) and 6 cups of chicken stock; bring to a boil and let it simmer for 1 hour.

  9. While simmering, skim the foam and any oil that rises to the surface.

  10. Add the shrimp, simmer for 5 more minutes.

  11. Stir in file powder and green onions.

  12. Adjust thickness soup and flavor with broth or water and salt.

Note: This recipe was adapted from Immaculate Bites.

Serves: 8-10       Prep Time:  30-45 mins.      Cook Time: 80 mins.     Total Time: 2 hours