Gombo Gumbo

It is very filling

Gumbo is a lot like chili, it’s a good way to use up a lot of leftover ingredients. Of course it is not nearly as thick as chili and I wouldn’t recommend using beans in gumbo. Any assortment of meat will work, but a spicier sausage is preferable. Of course you have to have shrimp and the bigger and fresher the better. Aside from that, I have used chicken, duck and sometimes another type of fish with equal success.

There are three different ways to thicken gumbo: Either make a roux, use file powder, or with fresh okra (or gombo in French.) I like to use a two-part approach, making a smaller amount of roux to reduce fat and adding okra toward the end to pull it together. The only other trick is to make your own shrimp and chicken stock which always improves the flavor of a soup.

Gumbo

  • 2 links sausage cut into chunks
  • 2 chicken leg quarters skinned and cut into chunks
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 2 dried ancho chilis
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 jalapeno diced small
  • 1 large onion diced medium
  • 2-3 ears corn
  • 3 ribs celery diced medium
  • 6 tomatoes diced medium
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups shrimp stock
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb okra sliced 1/2″ round
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour

Cook corn in boiling water until done, about 3 minutes. Cut kernels from cobs. Clean shrimp and make stock from the shells and the corn cobs. Soak ancho chilis in hot water until they soften. Remove the seeds and chop into small strips. Melt butter in a large stock pot. Add flour and cook the roux on low heat until it turns medium brown. Do not burn it. Add the onion, celery, jalapeno, and ancho. Saute over medium heat until onion softens. Add garlic, chicken and sausage and mix well. Add wine, half the thyme and deglaze pot. Add both stocks and leftover soaking chili water. Bring to a boil and then cook on medium low for 30 minutes. Add remaining thyme, corn and okra and cook until thickened about 20 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp and cook until done. Serve over rice with a thick piece of bread.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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77 Responses to Gombo Gumbo

  1. Carolyn Chan says:

    YUM ! Comfort food at its best.

  2. rutheh says:

    Your directions are clear….DO NOT BURN IT! I think that is great.

  3. ChgoJohn says:

    This looks good, Greg. Make that real good!

  4. A_Boleyn says:

    Burning the roux is not good so I’d avoid taking the risk of using butter as the fat to avoid that. Paul Prudhomme uses vegetable oil in his cookbook “Louisiana Kitchen” and brings it to a smoking hot heat before adding the flour for everything except his light brown roux. I don’t know that I’d be THAT authentic, especially if you want to make red-brown roux … or the black roux which he claims is the right colour roux for gumbo!!

    • Good tip. I think I could burn the oil just as easily though!

      • A_Boleyn says:

        LOL. I hear you. And the hot lava I picture in my mind when reading Prudhomme’s description doesn’t fill me with confidence.

        I’m the kind of person who burns herself by resting my right forearm on the edge of the sink where my Le Crueset was sitting while I pulled it off the stove to throw in some additional ingredients for my beef stew. And my left forearm has a thin 2 1/2 inch burn from the edge of the frying pan in which I was cooking chicken cutlets for donburi yesterday … the swiss cheese and spinach/cream cheese chicken roll-ups were safely baking in the oven. I would NOT survive in a working kitchen. 🙂

  5. This looks great, saving this recipe for chilly fall Sundays when all I want to do is make a big pot of something!

  6. Good looking gumbo Greg.

  7. Gumbo, Oh Gumbo. Where for art thou Gumbo… Love this recipe. I don’t think I need to say anymore because I can’t wait to make Gumbo in the colder months. The next time you make this, if you want :), try adding some andouille or kielbasa sausages. Also try chicken thighs with this as well. You definitely brought back memories

  8. That looks delicious and explains a word I had never understood until this post – the word is, of course, gumbo. I remember, in some movie or other, hearing Robert Mitchum mumble “The big money’s on the gumbo” which seems now to translate as “Order the soup”!

  9. rsmacaalay says:

    I love gumbo, my version uses okra as well. And for some Spanish twist I also add some chorizo.

  10. I have never eaten a gumbo before! Looks fabulous.
    Have a happy week.
    🙂 Mandy

  11. I’ve only eaten gumbo in New Orleans, and it was delicious but very very rich – this looks much fresher and lighter, and totally delicious.

  12. Looks incredible! I’ve never made gumbo – I shall have to add it to THE LIST!

  13. Sissi says:

    So this is the famous Gumbo! Finally I see how it looks and it does look great (all my American cookery books are old without photos…). Sometimes when I read your blog it’s like reading an American cuisine encyclopedia, but with full-size illustrations 🙂

  14. easybaked says:

    My dad loves gumbo so much- I might try this recipe out on him next time I’m home– beautiful (!!) picture by the way- makes me want to grab that spoon and try a bite 🙂

  15. You DID make enough to share, right? That looks amazing….

  16. I love gumbo. I even planned on making some chicken gumbo this week. I still have okra. This looks wonderful.

  17. Looks incredible! I will definitely be giving this one a try– my husband LOVES gumbo!

  18. Lea Ann says:

    It’s starting to be Gumbo season! Why do I only make it in the Fall?

  19. A bowl of that would be heaven right now. It looks perfect.

  20. Ha! I do the same thing with my approach, both a roux and gombo or okra! Love that we have that in common! Your recipe looks amazing! Something about gumbo says welcome to fall and football! Is that just me? Maybe so but seriously this looks great

  21. egg me on says:

    How awesome! That shrimp looks so great — wish I could just grab it out of your photo.

  22. Amy says:

    I looove a good gumbo. Nice and spicy. This looks like a hearty one.

  23. Kristy says:

    Looks so hearty and delicious. I don’t know that I’ve ever eaten a gumbo before…

    • Have you done Louisiana yet? Oh that’d be a fun one!

      • A_Boleyn says:

        On my ‘one and only’ trip to New Orleans, I took in one of those cooking shows at the Riverwalk Marketplace and still remember watching them make jambalaya, pralines and bread pudding with a hard sauce … and then getting to eat it afterwards. 🙂 I bought a cookbook on the paddleboat and would love to share the recipes inside, Kristy.

      • I still need to make bread pudding! A friend of ours has a great recipe. Thanks for the reminder.

  24. JamieAnne says:

    It’s easy to almost burn a roux! 🙂 great recipe!

  25. Kelly says:

    Mmm… love shrimp gumbo. Hearty and delicious choice for fall and I’m diggin’ the ancho chilis.

  26. ceciliag says:

    Now this is great, because i really need to learn how to make Gumbo. though i have never even eaten it. But i am going to put some things on my shopping list and try to make yours. this is a very doable recipe.. thank you.. c

  27. nrhatch says:

    I might give the meat to someone else to eat . . . but I would definitely enjoy that Gombo Gumbo!

  28. martko1964 says:

    This looks incredible. I’m headed over for some. 🙂

  29. A_Boleyn says:

    They gave us the recipes of the 4 dishes we watched/ate, including jambalaya though since they were for 12-20 people, the first thing that I tried as soon as I got home was the pralines. Me and boiling sugar … another accident just waiting to happen. 🙂

  30. Yum! It’s finally cool enough to make gumbo. This looks great!

  31. Caroline says:

    This looks so hearty and delicious. I would happily take that bite in the photo right now. I have to say you’re pretty talented, holding the spoon with your right hand and taking the photo with your left. I haven’t mastered that skill yet. Unless you have a secret helper (cough cough Katherine)? haha

    • Ha, I don’t have Katherine help with that. She only touches the camera when she’s bored or trying to learn or when I’m doing a how-to post. Next time I’ll have her hold the spoon, I bet she’d be thrilled!

      • Caroline says:

        It’s a very important job! If I ever have someone help me, their patience doesn’t last very long, so I’m only able to snap a few shots, ha.

  32. ambrosiana says:

    The last time I had gumbo was when I went to New Orleans. That was so long ago! Your gumbo looks delicious!!!

    • All these mentions of New Orleans are making me want to hit the road. We’re only eight hours away.

      • A_Boleyn says:

        Can I come with you? I want some beignets and chicory coffee, madeleines, a table full of crawfish, some gator fritters … a stroll through the French Quarter, Hurricane in hand, to Preservation Hall for some jazz.

        And, I’ve been looking for a nice pair of marcasite earrings to go with my bracelet and broach if I that jewellry store is still in the French Quarter.

      • Ha, we don’t have TVs in the back seat, just a compact car, but I’m sure Katherine would love to have a fellow jewelry shopper!

  33. Charles says:

    Haha, awesome! I can’t believe you made it! I didn’t say, you know I had acquired some okra? I was going to make that deep fried delicacy you’d posted but felt like something a bit less oily in the end so I made a kind of chilli out of them… minced beef, tomatoes, cumin, okra, onion, served with rice. I love it – can’t believe I’d never had it before! Definitely something I’ll be getting again 🙂

  34. Erin Renee says:

    I may have to try this even though I’m supposed to be a vegetarian. I’ve always wanted to try REAL gumbo, though my vegetarian versions are tasty as well.

  35. A_Boleyn says:

    I’ve travelled to Raleigh, NC from south-western Ontario scrunched in the back straddling the hump between 2 large male university students … I can rough it for a trip to New Orleans and haunting antique/ jewellery stores. 🙂 And we could listen to this on the trip, which is as close as I can get to the topic.

    hxxp://www.sendspace.com/file/i9prs9
    (change the hxxp to http before entering the URL)

  36. ....RaeDi says:

    It looks delicious and would make a wonderful meal in a few weeks here! I hadn’t thought to cook the corn cobs in with for stock! I wonder what do the richie folks eat your way? ….RaeDi

  37. pursuitofhappieness says:

    Oh my, that picture is making my mouth water! Well done, sir!

  38. Eva Taylor says:

    I love gumbo, the only thing I don’t love…you guessed it, okra. But the roux is a fantastic way to thicken. Love the spiciness too…oh, do I love spicy! Thanks for sharing, and the photo looks great.

  39. Courtney says:

    We love us some gumbo at our house, but have never had it with okra. I’ll have to pass the idea on to Hubs. 🙂

  40. Karen says:

    I love gumbo. Whenever we are in New Orleans, one of my first stops for a meal is The Gumbo Shop. I make my gumbo with a roux and okra also and use andouille sausage. I like your idea of adding corn…I’ll do that next time.

    • A_Boleyn says:

      “one of my first stops for a meal is The Gumbo Shop”

      On Peter Street? For years I kept a matchbook I picked up there cause I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget the place I had first tasted gumbo and crawfish. 🙂 I finally ended up using the matches during a power outage that lasted 24 hrs to light the candles in my room.

  41. A_Boleyn says:

    “one of my first stops for a meal is The Gumbo Shop”

    On Peter Street? For years I kept a matchbook I picked up there cause I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget the place I had first tasted gumbo and crawfish. 🙂 I finally ended up using the matches during a power outage that lasted 24 hrs to light the candles in my room.

  42. A_Boleyn says:

    “you don’t see matches as much as you used to either.”

    I’m not a smoker so it doesn’t affect me directly, but I think it’s because smoking/smokers has become so marginalized in our society (they’re forced to go outside and smoke Canada everywhere now) that using matchbooks as an inexpensive form of advertising is a no longer viable. People who used to grab a book out of a bowl set conveniently on the counter at the cashiers are now used to buying their disposable Bic lighters (who refills their lighters anymore) and lighting up outside where the wind would easily blow out paper matches.

  43. i want to make this for the next game day!

  44. I love the name of this dish. It just says ‘we’re going to have fun’. My brother makes an awesome version of this, but boy does he makes his hot! It’s almost a challenge to eat. This looks delicious.

  45. Gumbo always fills me up but that never stops me from having seconds! 🙂 Good looking recipe my friend.

  46. Yum, yum yum!! Can you ship me a bowl of this deliciousness?

  47. This looks incredible – and it looks like a lot of people agree with the number of comments you have!

  48. Gumbo is the very definition of comfort food..
    I totally agree with you on making your own stock..it makes all the difference

  49. spiderpaw says:

    This looks great. Just in time for fall when i’m sittin’ by the fire.

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