New Orleans Inspired Gumbo

I’ve only been to New Orleans a handful of times but a lot of my favorite foods are Cajun dishes and this gumbo is right at the top of the list! First of all, the incredible smells that erupt from this dish are incomparable to anything I’ve ever cooked. As soon as you add the chopped vegetables to that roux, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  The bacon, the onion, the celery, the peppers, when they come together its like magic in your nose, which I know sounds weird, but seriously, it’s amazing.

Now let’s talk roux. Normally a roux is composed of melted butter or oil and flour. Gumbo don’t get down like that. We use bacon fat. Yes, that greasy, oily fat that normally gets left behind at breakfast. It is essential and I will not have it any other way. I’ve read that when making a roux, it is best to use a heavy bottom pot to prevent burning. While I agree that probably works best, when I started cooking I didn’t have one of those (and still don’t) so I just make sure to watch the stove. For real people, don’t go sit down to watch Grey’s Anatomy in the middle of doing this. You need to watch the color of the roux because it gets dark quickly and needs to be stirred frequently. Then we look for a rich, sexy chocolate color… like Morris Chestnut! Yasss, he is the perfect color roux for this gumbo! As soon as you see Morris, add in your chopped veggies and stir and you’ll start to smell that heavenly scent I described earlier. This has always been my favorite part of cooking this gumbo.


Whenever I make a Cajun dish, I always like to use what I call the golden protein trio: chicken, shrimp and sausage (Andouille or kielbasa). Each one adds something special, and I can’t imagine the dish missing one of them. I season the raw chicken and shrimp separately with the Cajun seasoning so that they each adopt the flavor on its own. Then I like to cook the shrimp and sausage together so the shrimp can absorb some of the sausage flavor from the oil that melts off of it. I cook the chicken in the same oil so that everyone is a part of the party and they all develop that rich, delicious flavor! I add my trio to the finished dish at the end and let it all marry together, knowing well that each protein can hold it’s own. You don’t have to use the golden trio but omitting the sausage would be a no-no. A Cajun dish is just not the same without it and it looses its authenticity, and a hell of a lot of flavor, instantly.

From here it should be smooth sailing. Simmer your sauce for an hour, cook your meats, marry everything together and you’re good to go! I have experienced my sauce coming out a bit watery in consistency at times. If this happens, just mix equal parts cornstarch and water in a bowl and pour that in a little bit at a time so that it does not end up getting too thick. You should aim for a light gravy consistency. Now you’re ready to serve! I like to serve this this dish over coconut rice since the sweetness of the rice goes so well with the spicy Cajun seasoning. For best results, serve on a cold lazy Sunday & enjoy!

New Orleans Inspired Gumbo
Inspired by one of the most popular and most delicious New Orleans dishes.
  • 1 lbs chicken, cubed
  • 20 peeled jumbo shrimp
  • 14 oz Andouille sausage
  • 1 1/2 tbsp and 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 3 tbs flour
  • equal parts water & cornstarch, if needed
  • Cook bacon in large saucepan until well done and yields about 2 tbs of fat, careful not to burn bacon. Remove bacon and set aside. Whisk in flour 1 tbs at a time until it is a creamy consistency, creating a roux. Cook roux for 15-20 minutes, whisking frequently to prevent burning. The color should be a rich brown.
  • Add onion, celery and green peppers to the roux and mix togther with a wooden spoon. Cook for 5 minutes, until veggies soften. Add stewed tomatoes, 1 1/2 tbsp of cajun seasoning to vegetables and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Pour in stock and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for 1 hour.
  • While stock cooks, season chicken and shrimp separately with 1 tsp cajun seasoning each. In a large saute pan, cook andouille sausage for 3 minutes, then add in shrimp. Cook for 5 minutes, until shrimp is fully cooked and andouille has browned. Remove from pan, leaving any oil behind. If there was no oil from the sausage, add 1 tsp of olive oil or butter to pan. Add chicken to the pan and cook for about 8 minutes, scraping up and bits from the shrimp/sausage, until fully cooked.
  • Once stock has finished simmering, add protein to stock. If the sauce seems too watery, dissolve 1 tbsp cornstarch with 1 tbsp water in a separate bowl and stir into stock to achieve a light gravy consistency.
  • Chop bacon and add to gumbo. Serve over white or coconut rice.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8 servings