Friday, January 4, 2013

How to make Gumbo

Lets start with the meat ... 
I typically use a whole chicken 
but during the holidays I'll use left over turkey

Looking at it now .... 
that is not enough turkey in the bowl labeled Turkey for gumbo 
I should have taken all the white meat too.  
(But Dave would kill me ..that meat was for his turkey sandwiches.)

You learn every time you make gumbo!
I've been making it since 1997 and every year I change something.

So, let's getting started!
 Cook a whole chicken and debone it.  Saving the chicken broth for your gumbo.

If you're using leftover turkey meat .. have fun deboning it!  I think it's little harder because the turkey has a bunch of muscles in his body (or something .. not sure what those body parts are... just throw them away).

You will want all the dark meat .. it's a must!!

When I first started making gumbo I had to use gloves to debone my chicken.... it no longer bothers me because the end result is very yummy!!

 Add chicken to a very large stock pot.

I fill it about 3/4 of the way with Chicken broth ... the picture below already has the can of diced tomatoes added.

 Add diced tomatoes to stock pot

Cut up all the veggies .. truth be told I usually cook the chicken and cut up veggies the day  before.  It's such a long process that it helps cut the work in half.

You need a good knife!

I use 5 celery stalks

Here they are chopped up ... 

One green pepper

I slice it into strips 

Then I chop it up 

Two bunches of green onions

Green onions .... chopped up

Two bunches of Parsley (not Italian parsley)

Parsley all chopped up 

One yellow onion 

Onion chopped up 

It's a beautiful site when it's all done!

After it's said and done .. this too is not enough veggies based on how much broth I used.

Had I used less broth ...the taste would have been richer other words less watered ..or even a better word .. Thicker!

Don't get me wrong .. it was still very yummy!!

Cut up the Beef Smoked Sausage. You can use any sausage you'd like.

In the old days I just sliced it .. but my family really likes a lot of sausage.
So, now I add three packages instead of two ..and I cube it.

Set aside and let's work on the main ingredient ... 


There are a lot of ways to do this ... you can add more oil ... you can add less oil.  
This is how I make it and everyone loves it.

Cooking is like sewing .. or anything in life .... 
there are several ways to do things ..
 and experts (otherwise known as know it alls)
 want to tell you that you're doing something wrong.

It may be wrong .. but it sure is GOOD!
(Sorry!!! I had to add that because you know someone is going to email me and tell me I'm doing something wrong .. or I could do it better.)

 How to make the Roux .....

2 cups of Vegetable Oil
the picture slows less than two cups ... I added more.

3 Cups of Flour

Dump the oil in Large Skillet

Add Flour

Proceed to stir until you feel as if you're arm is going to fall off. 
About 45 minutes ... 
and don't step away 
or you will burn it

I cook it on medium heat .. maybe a little high because I want to get it done!!

Here's what it looks like ...right now 

After cooking for about 15 minutes

30 minutes later ... 

It's ready ... 
doesn't it look like canned dog food?

The whole house is now smelling like roux 
and your smoke alarm may go off ....
if you have the temp too high.

You want it to be thick like Peanut Butter and look the color of a penny.

Never add more flour to this mixture ... once you start cooking it ...  if you think it's not getting thick enough .. be patient will get there.

I made the mistake of doing that once and my gumbo tasted like flour .... bummer!!

Once the roux is ready .. you want to add your veggies.

I start with celery

Add the green peppers

Add green onions

Add onions

Add Parsley

Stir and add about two or three cups of the broth

Let that simmer for 30 minutes.  
It cooks the veggies perfectly .. make sure you turn the heat down and continue to stir it occasionally.

While the Roux is simmering .... lets cook the sausage.  My advice is ...always cook the sausage ......even if you only have time to cook it five minutes.

Drain the fat .. or not ... this time I did .. but sometimes I don't.

Sausage is ready .. add to Stock Pot

  Add the veggies and roux to Stock Pot

Add spices -
4 tablespoons of cajun seasoning
1 tsp of cayenne pepper

you may like more or less of these spices ..
start out with less and add more after you do a couple taste tests

Add LB Jamisons soup base  - I add 2 or 3 tablespoons

Get your spices right before you add the shrimp!!!

Taste test ..   this time it took me three times and I got it.  We like it so spicy that you can't eat it without rice!!

 Boil 2 pounds of shrimp.... let cool and remove the tails

Cut them into bite size pieces 

Add the shrimp to the stock pot

   Cook the Rice

The picture below is the Gumbo before we added rice to our bowl.

We usually add our rice and then pour over the gumbo .. ..
but I wanted to take a picture of it without the rice first.

Dang I wish I had used my pretty dishes!
 we were so eager to eat it we took out whatever bowls was closest to us.

Gumbo with Rice added ...


1 whole chicken
5 stalks of celery
1 green pepper
1 onion
2 bunches of green onions
2 bunches of fresh parsley
1 large can diced tomatoes
2 pounds pre-cooked shrimp
2 package smoked  sausage (I use beef)
Chicken Broth
Roux .. see recipe below
2/3 Tablespoons chicken soup base (LB Jamisons)
3/4 tablespoons cajun seasoning
1 tsp cayenne pepper

garlic is optional (I add it about 25% of the time)

Serve Rice separately.

No need for salt or pepper!!

Roux Recipe:
3 cups Flour
2 cups vegetable oil

Equipment Needed:  
Large Stock pot 12 to 15 quarts
Large Skillet (2 of them)
Sharp cutting knife
Wooden spoon to stir roux.
Large Ladle to serve gumbo
Large spoon to stir gumbo while cooking
Rice cooker is nice but not necessary
The only question I see that you may have is ..... how much water to boil the chicken and how much chicken broth to add.  The answer is what ever you go with ... you'll be fine.  I add more because we're okay if the gumbo is not quite as thick or rich in flavor.  I always go for volume so we can freeze some for later.  
Speaking of freezing some ... do it!  You'll be glad you did!

And .. Gumbo is a dish that always taste best the next day after cooking it.

Thanks to my friend Tracey!! She taught me how to make gumbo .... back in 1997.  She had us over during Christmas and served us gumbo ...the funny thing is .. they taste completely different!!  Even though we have the same recipe.  She adds peppers and sometimes okra .... I don't.

Sorry my pictures aren't better.... next time I'll use my Nikon D90!!

p.s. if you make gumbo from this recipe'll have to let me know what you think.......  and if you need any additional tips let me know.  

p.s.s. Every recipe I share with you ... was given to me by someone .. I certainly don't stay in the kitchen long enough to dream these up.  I say "I know good food when I taste it"!

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Dianne said...

It does look very good, but I do not think I have the patience to do all the different ingredients that you listed. Sooooooo, I will be over for dinner when you serve it. LOL..Just kidding. But, I bet it is as good as it looks. My husband would be so happy as gumbo is one of his favorite dishes and I have never made it, ever. I know there are many crafters out there who will make it and love it. Thanks for sharing. It was yummy to read about.

Dianne Bell -

Debbie Wicklund said...

My sister makes gumbo and she adds okra. I just love it.

SueB said...


Charlotte Ann said...

WOW! Your gumbo looks positively yummy! You're right - it does take a while to make; but, worth it, I'm sure. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to shrimp - but, I bet if I make it without the shrimp it'll be almost as yummy! Great for a cold winter day. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us!

Betty J Schaub said...

Don't know if you're a Cajun girl or not. But your Gumbo looks delish! I am originally from south Louisiana and us "Cajun" folks don't add tomato to our gumbo. Your's is more a Creole Gumbo. So if you ever want to go full on Cajun just make your gumbo sans the tomato. Thanks for sharing.

Carol V said...

Sounds Yummy...

nana said...

Looks yummy. Photos are great. Love the Recipe....thanks.

Sharon said...

You're making me miss my southern roots! This looks delish! Thanks for sharing your culinary talent with us.

Brenda said...

This looks amazingly good and I'm gonna try this recipe sometime this winter! Thanks for showing us how to make it step by step!

craftylady16679 said...

wow cant wait to try it looks delish

craftylady16679 said...

wow cant wait to try it looks delish

Teresa Doyle said...

I am NOT a fan of fish BUT, THAT DOES look delicious! What a process. Enjoy...

Theresa said...

Angie....this was an "out of the ballpark" post! Thank you for taking the time to do all of this. I am a picture step by step recipe person.

Awesome and it looks really delicious.


Lkpt Dee said...

Looks so good ... love it that you posted the recipe ... thanks ... nice for a change.
Don't worry about what everyone thinks .. you do a great job and you share wonderful things and you said it was a recipe they didn;t have to look if they didn't want to.
You do a great job, Thanks so much
for the recipe and everything else.

renee said...

thank you so much, you did a great job of explaining and showing step by step..over the years you first taught me to sew..a life long have the ability to make things look do-able..years later, much fabric and a wonderful new sewing machine, i have shared your first video on rag purses with my daughter and grand daughter..i know this wonderful step by step delicious Gumbo will be pasted down in our family ..your stamping and art work is always inspiring..thank you for sharing..your generosity blesses my life..

jjellii said...

Angie, thanks so much for posting this, love the pictures and the step by step instructions! I'll be heading to the store this week to find the ingredients, don't know for sure if I can find the same soup base and cajun seasoning but there will probably be something similar.
this was a fun post to read....again thanks

Gabby said...

I have to add a comment here! I only glanced at this post b4 I made the comment on your 1.5 post. Once I actually came back to read the recipe, I realized that there is no okra in it, which is good in my book! The only other thing I could not add to it is the green onions (adverse reaction.)BUT ... the rest of the ingredients are a go for me. I've never made a roux w/oil, only butter. That'll be interesting, too. I will definitely try this recipe. Even w/o the okra, I'm sure Dad will love it. I've got chicken, shrimp and leftover Christmas ham that might work in place of the sausage. Hmmm. Anyway, I will be making a "small" pot with what I have on hand to see if it works for me. I'm glad I took the time to actually "read" the whole thing or I would have missed a soup that might become a family fav. THANKS again for sharing the recipe. :)

ruthi said...

It looks super....i think i'll go to the store tomorrow and purchase the ingredients...thanks for sharing.

ArtsyChik said...

You love your family very very much to go to all this trouble and time. Bless you for it and thanks ever so much for sharing it with us.
Artsychik Jeanne

Karen Monger said...

That you for sharing this and all the pictures. I will have to have my husband make this. I don't have the patience and he does I think. I always make him cook the big meals. Well I shouldn't say that he cooks all the meals when he is home. LOL. Hey I am busy with 4 kids and all that laundry.

I looked through your old posts. I love your tree and your pictures of your house with the fall decorations. Can I have your house please. It looks so pretty.

Cathy said...

Oh, it looks so yummy, I am not a shrimp person, but another meat item should work. Can't wait to try this. Thank you for sharing this recipe and you did a wonderful job on the pictures. Thanks Angie...

Vicki Hill said...

Wow, I've never had Gumbo! You did a fantastic job of putting this together. Really don't think you need to make a video! The directions are great. Don't know if I will ever make this, just because I don't cook a lot anymore what with the kids gone, but ya never know! I don't leave comments too often, but just had to leave one for all your hard work in sharing this...Vicki

Mary said...

Great tutorial! That is alot of work, but SO worth it in the end....YUM!

Anonymous said...

I am from the South and I have never eaten or even tasted Gumbo... It does look good.... thanks for sharing great pics too... making me hungry now...
Cheryl in Tn

Heather said...

Thanks Angie for sharing your recipe! I think you did a fabulous job and your photos are great!! Don't stress about it! Thanks so much for taking the time to take the photos and share with us! I think I'll give it a try!! I'll let you know if I do!

Judy Miller said...

Thanks Angie for sharing your recipe, it looks awesome. I've been thinking of making some soup this weekend 'cause it's suppose to be freezing temps here in Ariz. I want to make some kind of hardy soup for dinner and this I think will just be the one. Next week I think I'll have to make albondigas soup, I'm just in the soup mood right now. Thanks again.