Gumbo seems intimidating.
Trust us, we know it does. But we are taking the guesswork out of it and showing you that with a few (a lot of) ingredients and about 3 hours, you can make it! If you’re still not totally convinced, just imagine yourself eating a piping bowl of homemade gumbo and rice – sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Maybe you’ve heard of gumbo before, but don’t quite know what it is. Maybe you know what it is but just think it’s for people from New Orleans (it is their official state cuisine, after all). Or maybe you’ve had it before and have always wanted to try to make it, but it just seems too difficult.
Well, we’re here to tell you that it’s not too difficult. Yes, it does take some time. And it definitely requires a lot of ingredients. But trust us, you can do it!
What is Gumbo?
First, let’s go over what gumbo actually is. It is a soup or stew, served in a bowl over rice. It is normally made with vegetables, seafood or poultry, and sausage like Andouille or Conecuh; some recipes also include ham. Gumbo is simmered for around two-and-a-half to three hours to allow the flavors to meld and the spices to incorporate fully, so give yourself some time! The payoff is a pot of gumbo absolutely bursting with flavor and spice.
Step by Step:
Ok, let’s get into the recipe!
- 1 cup of Roux (butter and flour)
- 2-3 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 diced bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ tsp thyme
- 3 lbs. of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 Andouille sausage, sliced
- ½ tbsp. plus 2 tsp. gumbo file
- 6 beef bouillon cubes
- 1 can stewed tomatoes
- 1 can tomato sauce
- ½ tbsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. of creole seasoning, like Tony Chachere’s
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 lb. sliced okra
- 1 ½ tbsp. white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Cooked white rice, for serving
What to do with all those ingredients:
- Make a roux (learn how to make one here)
- Finely chop the celery, onion, green bell pepper (they call this the holy trinity) and garlic. Stir the vegetables into the roux along with the andouille sausage. Simmer this mixture until the vegetables are tender (takes about 10 minutes).
- In a large stock pot, bring about 3 quarts of water and 6 beef bouillon cubes to a boil. Once the cubes dissolve, reduce to a simmer and stir in the roux and vegetable mixture, along with hot sauce, salt, sugar, creole seasoning, bay leaves, dried thyme and the stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Simmer over low heat. About half an hour to 45 minutes into the simmer, add about half a tablespoon of gumbo file powder.
- Right about the time you add the gumbo file, you want to start on the okra. Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a skillet, and cook the sliced okra over medium heat with the white vinegar. Do this until the okra softens up, which should take about 15 minutes. You’ll want to toss the okra into the gumbo pot at around the 1 hour mark.
- After another 15 minutes, add your shrimp and any other proteins you want to the gumbo pot. Also stir in a couple tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce at this point.
- Simmer the gumbo until all the flavors have combined, about another 45 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally.
- Remove pot from heat, and stir in two additional teaspoons of gumbo file powder.
- Serve hot over steaming white rice.