It’s the holiday season and in the south that means we make gumbo! Now I am not here to debate what is right or wrong when making gumbo. I know there are some gumbo snobs but I truly believe that how you make your gumbo is a personal preference. It’s however you & the people you love like it! My mother made gumbo routinely growing up but it was not considered authentic because it was not made of a roux even though we still loved it. Roux’s can be intimidating AF!!! Ask me how I know! A roux is when you mix an oil or butter with flour over heat until a certain color and consistency is achieved. A roux can be as light as peanut butter or as dark as chocolate! The tricky part is getting it to the color you desire and NOT burning it! This takes time and patience which I don’t always have. After burning my roux several times I almost gave up making a more authentic gumbo until I discovered you can purchase a already pre made roux or mix in your local grocery store!!! And even though now I can successfully make a roux it is not something I need to know how or want to take the time to do. There are many rouxs in the store to choose from. The ones I have tried it the Tony Cachere’s mix (this is the first one I tried and use often) and a pre made one in a jar made by Kary’s. I prefer the Tony’s because I like that I am actually cooking it but sometimes it’s not the easiest to find so I will use the Kary’s in a pinch. So now that we have discussed how I cheat when making gumbo, let’s make some!
- 2-3 pounds of chicken (I prefer a mix of boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs with drumsticks. This allows me to have the flavor that dark meat brings without too much fat, but you can use whatever you prefer. Even a whole chicken will work)
- 2-3 cups of onions, green bell peppers and celery chopped (this is referred to as the holy trinity of Cajun/creole cooking. I use more onions and bell peppers than celery because that’s what my family prefers. You also can use a shortcut and purchase Mirepoix mix which can be found in your frozen vegetables section of the freezer)
- 1-2 containers of Tony’s Roux mix (depending on how much gumbo you’re making)
- 1-2 sticks of butter
- 1-2 pks of frozen okra
- 1-2 lbs of sausage sliced (the traditional sausage is Andouille, I used Zummos)
- 10-12 cups of water (you can use a combo of chicken broth but watch for the salt!)
- 3-4 pounds of peeled, deveined shrimp
- 3-4 pounds of crab (we used snow crab because that’s our preference but the traditional crab to use is blue crab. You can also just add crab meat)
- Various seasoning- I used Tony’s seasoning salt, 2 chicken bouillon cubes, onion and garlic powder, old bay, & gumbo file’)
- 1 tbsp of oil (your choice)
I start my gumbo by heating my pot on medium high heat, adding the tablespoon of oil and the sausage. Again I’m trying to avoid having to skim fat off the top of my gumbo so that is why I use this method plus in my opinion it adds flavor. Once my sausage is cooked I remove to a paper towel and then drain all but about a teaspoon of fat. Turn stove to medium heat and then add your stick of butter and then your veggies. Cook veggies til softened. While veggies are cooking prepare Roux mix according to directions. I prepare mine in a separate bowl and then add to my veggies. This allows it to cook with my veggies for more flavor. You will need to make sure you cook your roux for about 5 minutes or so until no longer lumpy. I also taste mine to make sure there is no flour taste. It won’t taste like much but it should NOT taste like raw flour! Also make sure you DO NOT leave the pot while doing this! At this point you can add more roux depending on how thick you like your gumbo to end up. Once your roux and veggies have cooked enough add your water, chicken, sausage and seasonings (except gumbo file’) and bring to a boil on medium high heat. You will need to check back to stir occasionally so nothing is burnt at the bottom of your pot. Once boiling turn stove to medium heat and cook for about an hour or until chicken is tender. You can remove the chicken and bones and skin and shred and add back in. I usually shred it in the pot and remove any bones but most of the time the chicken will start falling apart on it’s own. Add your frozen okra and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. At this point you can taste for any more seasoning and add if needed. You now have prepared chicken and sausage gumbo! But we love to add seafood! I add my crab and cook for 10-15 more minutes and then my shrimp for another 10 minutes. Once the shrimp are pink you are through and you have made an easy and delicious gumbo!
I serve my gumbo over rice with semi-homemade garlic bread. I shared a quick video on how I make Cheater gumbo and the garlic bread on Instagram so make sure you are following me @severalpeoplesmama and make sure you tag me if you try this. I also want to thank everyone that has followed me, reposted or shared my content & recipes and tried them! It is my hope that I have made feeding you and/or your family easier! I also pray that everyone is healthy and safe leading into this new year and you are blessed with your heart’s desires! Please look out for so much MORE coming from me in 2021! Happy New Year!!!