Gumbo v1

I grew up in the deep south and had gumbo pretty regularly. It’s delicious and I miss it. This past Saturday I decided to make some from scratch which we rarely did even at home because there were starters available in supermarkets (unlike in Santa Monica.) Read how I did it here!

Credit where credit is due: I started with this recipe and tweaked from there.

  • I read the comments and made some minor changes (butter, not olive oil; different canned tomatoes; chicken thighs, not breasts; no spicy peppers)
  • I replaced the shrimp with more sausage (because I’m allergic to shellfish now, THANKS OBAMA.)
  • I swapped in fish stock at my dad’s recommendation.
  • I added bay leaves because I remember them being in gumbo as a kid (whoever got the bay leaf had to do the dishes.)
  • I made roux based on these instructions.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Skinless, Boneless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Pound Andouille Sausage
  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 3 Quarts Fish Stock
  • 12 Ounces Dark Beer
  • 6 Stalks Celery Diced
  • 4 Roma (plum) tomatoes
  • 1 Sweet Onion Sliced
  • 1 14.5 Ounce Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Parsley Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Tony’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1-2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon (?) Salt

First you make a roux.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in cast iron skillet, whisk flour and butter together till smooth. Put skillet in oven. Every 20 minutes remove skillet and stir till smooth again. In about two hours the roux should be a chocolate color.

I found this a very convenient method, although it’s not the typical method so it probably is different, though I couldn’t tell how.

Cook the Meats

Cook chicken in skillet with the olive oil on medium high heat. Once it’s cooked through add the sausage and cook until browned. Drain it and keep it for later.

Make Gumbo!

Stir the beer and fish stock into the roux by and by in a stock pot on a burner over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and stir in the celery, tomatoes, onion, and spices. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 40 minutes, stirring often.

Add the meat and cook for 20 more minutes. Stir frequently, and then you’re done!

Serve gumbo over rice, with saltines and hot sauce (I use Tabasco.)

Planning Ahead

This recipe takes a long time if you do it from start to finish (at least three hours.) The roux can be made days in advance; I’ve read that it could be made over a month in advance if you wanted. Similarly the meats don’t need to be made right then. If you planned ahead you could make the roux, cook the meats, and chop the vegetables so that the meal on the day of takes just an hour.


This was the first time I’ve made gumbo from scratch. It turned out amazingly, but there are a few things I think I’d change. The original recipe didn’t call for any salt (probably because chicken broth is salty) and it was clearly needed. I added it till it tasted right, but I’d like to have an amount to recommend since not everyone knows what gumbo is supposed to taste like.

In the ingredients above I recommend Andouille but all I could find was Kielbasa. Similarly I would have used fresh chopped garlic but we were all out, hence the garlic powder. When I was a kid I remember the bay leaves being really big, like the size of oak leaves. Maybe 2-3 inches long. The ones that I have are smaller, about 1.5 inches, so I used two.

I used really nice fish stock I got at the Santa Monica Seafood Market and it ended up being super expensive. I’d like to try making it myself next time, but this is already a lot of work, plus if it makes my apartment smell like fish Catherine might (reasonably) kill me. I would be bummed if it was significantly worse though.

I think the canned tomatoes were a little bit much. I think at the very least I’d drain them, use less, or skip them and use more fresh.

Now go and make gumbo!

Posted Sun, Nov 6, 2016