New Orleans Gumbo with Shrimp and Sausage
My take on a hearty New Orleans Gumbo with shrimp and sausage! I’m making the roux from scratch so it’s extra flavorful! This recipe is perfect to make on the weekend and enjoy all week long as the flavor gets BETTER with time!
A biiiig ol’ pot of steaming hot New Orleans style GUMBO right here.
Talk about this being the highlight of the week! A big pot of gumbo with shrimp, sausage, and if you’re feeling extra generous, some chicken! I love making these kinds of meals on a Sunday. It’s hearty and cozy and the leftovers are enjoyed for a quick lunch all week long. Just think – a warm bowl of rice topped with a slow-simmered, tomato-based stew loaded with aromatics like onions, peppers, and celery. It’s spicy, hearty, and completely made-from-scratch. Okay, it’s basically amazing. I don’t know about you, but I LIVE for food like this.
This is for my food lovers out there that don’t mind taking a few extra minutes to make GOOD FOOD. It’s perfect to curl up with on the couch. If you’re in Texas, have the air conditioner on full blast while you pretend isn’t just shy of reading 1000 degrees. And if it happens to be cool when you’re making this, I promise you it will warm you to your bones!
Let me just say it now, THIS is a LOOOOOONG post. If you are a gumbo expert and just want a recipe, feel free to scroll to the bottom. I’m sharing all the things I’ve learned from when I was a noob.
While this was still in the recipe testing phase, I read pretty much everything on the topic. Not to mention the countless videos I sat through to make sure I learned how to make a proper roux. And though I’m not claiming I’m an expert in gumbo making or that my recipe is an authentic ‘Creole’ or ‘Cajun’ recipe, I will say I’ve picked up quite a few things along the way that can help make your pot more delicious.
Best tips for making the best gumbo:
- The cookware: The roux in this recipe requires extra special love and care and so I really suggest using a dutch oven or a heavy bottom pot. A pot that’s pretty thin, like a stockpot is not a good option for this recipe. Stockpots get super hot and you run the risk of burning the roux. But you could make the roux in a cast iron skillet, then transfer to a stock pot and continue from there.
- The Mise En Place: Basically all I’m saying is that just get your ingredients ready to go! Chopping while browning the roux is a big no-no. I highly, highly, highly suggest getting the chopping, measuring, and having all ingredients ready to go before you start making the roux. Trust me on this, it will make your life so much easier.
The secret to making the perfect roux for homemade gumbo recipe:
What is roux?
It’s basically the heart and soul of every gumbo recipe. I’ll elaborate further It’s a simple combination of oil and flour that is slowly browned to perfection. You want a nice, deep, and rich flavor that gumbo is known for. In our case, we’re using equal parts of each.
- A high heat oil. You can use corn, avocado, canola, or vegetable. I don’t suggest using olive, coconut, or any other oil that has a low smoke point. You need something that can really withstand the heat and the longer cooking time.
- All-purpose flour. I’ve only tested this recipe with all-purpose flour so sadly, I can’t say if any other type will work.
- Continuously stirring: I know, I’m asking a lot here! Okay, so yes, this needs a total of 15-20 minutes of constant stirring and constant attention. And yes, I’m asking you to drop everything. No multitasking in general but a big pot of gumbo is in your future and I promise you, you will love me a little more when you don’t have a burnt, smelly pot of caked-on flour to clean because like a champ, you listened and babied your roux.
Know the stages of a roux:
Okay. So now that I’ve stressed the importance of constant stirring and no daydreaming while roux-making, let me walk you through what to expect in terms of the roux. The timing may vary 1-2 minutes but this is a guideline to help you make sure you’re on the right track. If at any point your roux is browning too much/too little, adjust the heat slightly to help it get back on track.
- The blond roux: This is the most basic type of roux that we make. It’s what you make when preparing a béchamel sauce and it’s also what we use to make my shrimp enchiladas with poblano cream sauce. The roux is nice and light and usually requires just a quick 30 seconds -1 minute of browning the flour.
- 5-minute roux: This reminds me of the color of tahini paste. It’ll be a little deeper than the blond roux but we need to keep going. Keep in mind, as we cook the roux, it is losing its thickening power. This means that the darker the roux, the less it will thicken your gumbo.
- 10-minute roux: Almond butter-ish. It’s lighter than peanut butter but on its way there. You’ll notice that it smells a little like popcorn or similar to when you brown butter. A nice nutty smell.
- 15-22 minute roux: The color of homemade peanut butter. It’s dark and nutty and its a medium brown tone. I stopped my roux here (at 21 minutes exactly) because I still wanted a little thickness to the gumbo and a deep-dark roux is an acquired taste. If you’re new to gumbo making, i’d suggest leaving it at this stage! It will thicken the dish just enough and the flavor will be well pronounced without overpowering.
- 25+ minute roux: Dark brown roux is the color of peanut butter. You can take the roux a little further to what is considered a black roux (about 32-40 minutes), which is about the color of dark chocolate. But keep in mind that this will change the overall taste of dish and will leave it thin (a soup like consistency) and a black roux just isn’t for everyone!
Basic ingredients in gumbo:
- Oil: Is one of the two ingredients needed to make the roux.
- All-purpose flour: Is the other ingredient need to prepare the roux. It’s the first step of making gumbo.
- The holy trinity: This is a combination of yellow onions, celery, and bell peppers. Keep in mind that I used a colorful array of peppers, however, just green bell peppers would also work for this recipe
- Garlic: you can use as much or as little as you like, I use 6 cloves for that perfect flavor!
- Bay Leaves:
- Sausage: Andouille sausage is most commonly used when making gumbo. I
- Seasonings: You’ll need cajun or creole seasoning, Louisiana hot sauce, and cayenne pepper to add some heat.
- Chicken broth: we’ll need a quart. Homemade chicken stock is best because it allows you to control the sodium in the recipe. But you can also use a carton of store-bought or dissolve a few cubes of bouillon in water and use that.
- Shrimp: I like to use shrimp in my homemade gumbo but I have seen all sorts of other additions like oysters and crab legs in a seafood gumbo.
- Filé Powder: or gumbo filé as it’s sometimes called is a spicy herb made from dried and ground sassafras leaves.
- Ingrdients for serving: I like to have some chopped scallions and fluffy white rice to serve. Gumbo can also be served in a bowl like a soup.
You’re still here! I was afraid I might have scared you off! Honestly, it’s not difficult to make, it just requires some attention. After you make it for the first time, you’ll be able to tell exactly how long it takes to get your roux to that perfect sweet spot. From then on making gumbo will be a breeze. Possibly even a midweek affair?
Oh, two more things! My recipe uses stewed tomatoes, if you can’t find stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes can be used. Also, some people don’t believe in adding tomatoes to their gumbo recipe and I’m actually loving the way that tomatoes taste in this! Authentic or not, it’s delicious! I also chose not to use okra in this recipe, as I’m not the biggest fan of it. I’m a texture girl and something about it just doesn’t sit right with me.
A pot full of this stuff was slow simmering last Friday, all morning long. For lunch, hubby and I ate like king and queen. A bowlful of this stuff really made me miss the short time we spent in the French Quarter a couple of years back. I didn’t even have to call when lunch was ready, the smell of slow-simmered, home-cooked stews have their way of getting everyone together at the table.
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- ½ cup high heat oil, such as canola, corn, or vegetable
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers (I used ½ of each red, green, yellow, orange - see note), diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 bay leaves
- 8 ounces andouille sausage, sliced (I used Tofurky)
- 2 tablespoons EACH: cajun seasoning AND tabasco sauce (more or less to taste)
- 1 tablespoon cayenne (omit if you want it mild)
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 (14.5 ounce can) stewed tomatoes and juices, roughly diced
- 1 ½ pounds raw shrimp
- 2 teaspoons gumbo filé
- sliced scallions + white rice or quinoa, for serving
- Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or a heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour until combined and smooth. Switch to a wooden spoon and continuously stir for 15-22 minutes or until the roux darkens to just past a deep peanut butter color. Do not let the roux burn! (if you smell it burning, you will need to throw is out, clean the pot, and start over, unfortunately there's just no saving burnt roux!)
- Once the roux reaches that deep rich brown color, stir in the onions, bell peppers, and celery and continue to cook, stirring as needed so the vegetables don't stick. About 8-10 minutes or until the veggies soften. Add the garlic, andouille sausage (if using tofurky, do not add yet), and bay leaves. Continue to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until the garlic is nice and fragrant.
- Add the cajun seasoning, tabasco sauce, and cayenne along with the chicken broth and stewed tomatoes and bring to a high simmer before lowering the heat to medium-low, covering and simmering for 15-20 minutes.
- IF USING TOFURKY: Add a teaspoon of oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Add the slices and cook for a quick 90 seconds (turning half way) just to sear the outside before adding to the gumbo.
- Add the shrimp and tofurky (if using) to the gumbo, give it a stir and allow to continue to simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the shrimp is opaque and the veggies have softened. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Add the gumbo filé and stir. Remove bay leaves before serving.
- TO SERVE: Serve warm with white rice or quinoa with sliced scallions on top.
- You don't have to use all the colors for the bell peppers. I just really enjoy the taste that they bring to the party! You can use 1 green and 1 red bell pepper and still achieve a similar flavor.
- Tofurky is a sausage that's completely meatless. You can use the Andouille variety, which is a little difficult to find or the Kielbasa which most grocery stores carry.
- 1 (14.5-ounce can) diced tomatoes can be used in place of the stewed tomatoes as they can be hard to find sometimes.
- Gumbo filé - available in the ethnic food aisle near where they keep the cajun seasonings. It's basically ground leaves from the sassafras tree.
- Also, please keep in mind that this recipe has not been tested with any other ingredients than what is written. For best results, I suggest following the recipe as is (with the exception of spices to taste).