Gumbo is a thick soup and usually contains whatever seafood, meat or poultry happens to be on hand. First, a roux is made, then the holy trinity of onion, celery, and bell pepper is added. The mixture is cooked to blend the flavors, and the beef, poultry or seafood is added along with the liquid, and cooked anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the cooking time needed for the main ingredient.
Gumbo is always served with rice, has roux as its base, and may be thickened with filé (a powder which both thickens and adds flavor). Okra is often added, both as a flavor ingredient and as a thickener.
The recipe is straightforward and easy to prepare. Unsalted chicken broth is recommended. If your chicken stock or broth contains salt, wait until the dish is almost done and taste before you add salt.
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (neutral flavor)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups green bell pepper (chopped)
- 1 1/2 cups onion (chopped)
- 1 1/2 cups celery (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups water
- 1 pound andouille sausage (cut into 1-inch thick slices)
- 1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 6 cups white rice (cooked; about 2 cups raw rice)
- 1 cup green onions (chopped)
- 1/2 cups curly parsley (chopped)
Heat a large cast-iron pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
When the pot has heated, add the oil.
When the oil is hot, add the flour and cook, whisking almost constantly (that is, about every 15 seconds), for 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring almost constantly, for 5 to 10 minutes longer until roux is medium color — the color of peanut butter.
Add the bell pepper, onion, and celery and cook, stirring often, for another 10 minutes. Add the salt, the three types of pepper and bay leaves and stir to combine seasonings with the roux.
Add the stock and water. Raise heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
Reduce heat to medium, add the Andouille slices, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the shrimp and simmer 5 minutes longer.
Serve a scoop of rice on top of each bowl of gumbo, then sprinkle with the green onions and parsley. (Cook the rice while the gumbo is simmering for the final 30 minutes.)
- How to Devein Shrimp: Remove the shells from the shrimp. If desired, leave the tails on them. Run the tip of a sharp knife down the back of a shrimp and remove the dark vein by pulling or scraping it out. Rinse the shrimp thoroughly.