- 4tablespoon olive or coconut oil, divided
- 1pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces
- 1pound andouille or smoked sausage (I love Aidell’s andouille pork sausage)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1teaspoon dried thyme
- 1teaspoon creole seasoning
- 1/3cup all purpose or spelt flour
- 2cup chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1pound fresh okra, trimmed and sliced
- 2cups hot, cooked brown or white rice
- fresh parsley, chopped, optional condiment
- green onion, chopped, optional condiment
Some versions include shrimp. You could add about ½ to 1 pound of raw, peeled shrimp during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
I did not use file (a traditional table garnish used on gumbo. The early Cajuns learned to use file' from the Choctaw Indians of the Gulf coast, who evidently used it to thicken soups. File' is ground sassafras leaves). If you do use file, do not add it in while cooking, as it will thicken the soup too much and make it stringy. Sprinkle file on top of the gumbo at the table.
I use Zatarain's Creole seasoning, which is also a great condiment to sprinkle on top of your gumbo in place of or in addition to hot sauce.
Gumbo is ultimately a soup, so it is not served with a lot of rice, but the rice is a necessary component of traditional gumbo so make sure you don’t skip adding it in.
Gumbo is a soup cooked with a roux base (a roux is a thickening agent made from equal parts butter and flour with its roots dating back over 300 years in French cuisine). I have used coconut oil in the roux, but feel free to make the roux the traditional way, with 3 tablespoons of butter.
Because gumbo has been a staple in Louisiana kitchens long before written records of the dish existed, there are many myths surrounding its origins. No one is even certain whether the dish is Cajun or Creole in origin - the oldest mention to date is when French explorer C.C. Robin ate it at a soiree on the Acadian coast in 1803. Yet there are records of New Orleans creoles enjoying it during roughly the same time period. Despite these longstanding myths, as early as 1885 there were writers who recognized gumbo as the culinary legacy of the African/American community. Although the French contributed the concept of the roux and the Choctaw invented filé powder, the modern soup is overwhelmingly West African in character. Not only does it resemble many of the okra-based soups found in contemporary Senegal, the name of the soup itself is derived from the Bantu words for the okra contained within (guingombo, tchingombo, or kingombo. A legacy of the colonial era, the modern French word for okra is quite simply “gombo”).