The leaves are falling and the weather is finally cooling off, which means it’s finally fall, and we have the perfect fall dinner recipe for you! Gumbo is a hearty stew the fills up rumbling bellies with a medley of meat or shellfish, okra, onions, peppers, celery, and Creole or Cajun seasoning. A trademark Louisianan food, Gumbo is easily a famous and well-loved dish amongst Louisiana residents (so much so that it was named the official Louisiana state food!).
It’s thought the dish originated at the beginning of the 19th century and is rooted in the history of West Africans and Choctaws. Throughout its long history, the recipe has helped form a Louisianan culture and has been created in vast ways, gracing the tables of those from all economic statuses.
This recipe makes about 9 cups of gumbo and takes approximately 3 hours to make from start to finish (including prep time).
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound chicken breasts
- A pinch of salt and pepper
- 12 ounces Cajun-style Andouille sausage, cut in round pieces
- 6 pieces smoked bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 3/4 cup lard (fat)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic (about 6 cloves)
- 5 cups seafood or shrimp stock
- 10 ounces fresh or frozen sliced okra
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 seedless lemon
- 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- hot sauce, to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley (to garnish)
- Cooked rice
Step One: The Meat
First, heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat, then transfer chicken breast pieces to olive oil. Brown chicken pieces. Once they’re browned, remove from heat and place on a plate. When chicken is cool, shred with a fork.
In the same pot, add sausage and (already smoked) bacon. Cook until the sausage is browned, then remove from heat and place on paper towel-lined plate until cool.
Step Two: The Roux
Using a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, hit lard over medium heat, then whisk in the flour, stirring constantly until the roux turns a deep copper (penny colored). For step by step instructions on how to make the roux and different tips and tricks, click here.
Step Three: The Gumbo
Using a heavy-bottomed pan, transfer roux and add celery, onion, and green pepper. Over medium heat, stir until vegetables are softened, then add garlic and cook until fragrant. Next, pour in the seafood stock and shredded chicken and the sausage and bacon combination. Stir until combined, then add in the sliced okra, fresh thyme, bay leaves, and half of a seedless lemon.
Cover and bring gumbo to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for about a half-hour.
Now, you’ll remove the lemon and add the shrimp, hot sauce, and salt and pepper. Stir until combined then allow to cook for about 5 more minutes. Taste and add seasoning based on preference.
Garnish with parsley and serve over a bed of hot rice. Enjoy!
Quick tip: Gumbo is even better the next day! Make sure to store leftovers refrigerated in a sealed container for ultimate freshness.
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