Gumbo and All that Jazz
PUBLISHED ON: 03.03.2023
Do you remember a moment when you enjoyed a meal prepared by a friend, and you knew it would not be a “one-off” dish? You would return to this dish repeatedly. You make it so often now, you have adapted your steps, and you can with ease walk through the ingredients and the preparation in your head. The recipe has become your “go to” on a Sunday afternoon or any occasion with a gathering of friends.
Preparing Gumbo is never random, it’s always planned, and it is a commitment to the process. You never eat gumbo alone. Invites go out on Saturday and dinner is on Sunday. You begin prepping on Saturday-gathering the ingredients, enjoying the soothing feeling that comes from chopping vegetables, browning meat, and making the dark roux. It’s inevitable this soul soothing process is happening with jazz music playing in the background, and an open can of beer on the counter. This is all good, in fact, it is fantastic.
Gumbo by its very nature is complicated but, it is soulful. A one pot meal whose history is steeped in West African and French roots. Versions of gumbo have been made for over 300 years, and it was always meant to be shared.
This is my son’s recipe. He makes this recipe often and the story above is my translation of conversations with him of the genesis of his gumbo recipe.
Bailey’s Gumbo Recipe
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Peanut Oil
4-5 celery stalks (include leaves), diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
12 ounces good quality Andouille Sausage, sliced into rounds
1 lb boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, seasoned with salt and pepper
8 cups No Sodium Chicken Stock
1/2 -1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
Salt and black pepper to taste
Gumbo Filé Powder (optional)
** Jasmine rice for serving
Make the Roux:
In a large heavy bottom stock pot or Dutch Oven, heat oil on medium heat until oil is shimmering (tip: the oil is hot enough when a tiny bit of flour bubbles and dissolves quickly). Gradually, add flour while continuously whisking (approximately 20 minutes) until the roux reaches a milk chocolate color, and the texture is similar to wet sand. You will want to add more flour if the roux appears runny, and more oil if the roux is too thick.
Add the onion, celery, and green bell pepper to the roux, and cook for approximately 5-7 minutes. Add chicken stock, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, and cayenne pepper (will need to adjust to taste). Let the chicken stock come to a boil then reduce to simmer (note: the gumbo may taste bitter at this stage). The gumbo will simmer 2-3 hours.
In a separate large skillet brown your chicken thighs on both sides. Set aside. Brown your sausage rounds, set aside. Add your chicken to the simmering stock halfway through the cooking time. Add your sausage rounds to the simmering stock 30 minutes before finishing.
Skimming Soup and adding spices– While your gumbo is simmering, you will want to skim the white foam and additional oil from the top (Note: After simmering and skimming for approximately 2 hours, the gumbo will reach a homogeneous color). During this time you will want to add your Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste. *Remember, to add each spice in small amounts, and bring to taste (Note: As the stock reduces the salt level will increase).
To Serve: Place a generous dollop of rice in the center of the bowl and ladle the gumbo around the rice. Top gumbo with green onions and a pinch gumbo filé powder.
Wine Pairing: 2021 Brokenwood, Semillon, Hunter Valley, Australia
Rich looking gumbo Velva
It looks beautiful. Love that wine!
Have never had a gumbo…it looks warming and yummy, but lots of work.
It sounds wonderful. I’ve never had or made gumbo!
Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
I have a gumbo recipe that I call “cheater’s gumbo”. One of these days I’d like to take the time to make the real deal. Your bowl of gumbo looks so rich, just like I had in New Orleans.
I’ll definitely try it. I’ll need to substitute a quality beef sausage instead of pork andouille. The color is spot on!!!
Wow what a recipe. Can’t wait until Winter to make this and I have drunk that exact Hunter Valley Semillon, beautiful. Love the whole process you described with creating Gumbo.
nope have never had gumbo, but all the flavours sound good.
Great to have such a master chef at home!
I’ve never tried making gumbo and this looks like a great recipe to try. YUM!
David Scott Allen
Funny coincidence, I’ve been working on my sausage and chicken combo recipe, as well! I pulled it together at the last minute, because the friends who were coming to dinner let me know that they didn’t eat shrimp! Our recipes are very similar, Velva, although I use okra instead of gumbo filé, and I also make my roux with butter. (I hear people screaming about that last one!) It’s such a comforting dish — love the heat! Yours looks wonderful.
[email protected] is How I cook
So many ways to make gumbo and your son’s sounds fabulous! I’m available for Sundays!
This looks and sounds so good, and perfect for this time of year when we’re still craving rib-sticking meals because the chill just won’t let up.
Sorry for my lack of commenting, we just returned home form a 40-day holiday in Europe and the UK.
love gumbo 🙂
I can see by the comments I’m not alone because I’ve never tasted gumbo! I’ve looked over the ingredients and the recipe process and it sounds like something both my husband and I would enjoy! I love that your son was part of making this post and delicious recipe. ♥
I really love the flavors in Gumbo. Haven’t made it myself but have tried at a friend’s house before I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance.
It looks hearty, rich, and delicious.
Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina
This is embarrassing to admit, Velva. But I’ve never had gumbo before since I always thought it had shrimp in it (and I’m allergic to shellfish). Well, that’s got to change now since your recipe doesn’t include shrimp. My son just moved to New Orleans and so this would be great to prepare alongside him when I visit!