Be transported to New Orleans for a night with this creole inspired chicken and andouille sausage gumbo. Made with bell peppers, celery and onion, which is termed the holy trinity in cajun cuisine. And no gumbo is complete without a big spoonful of rice. With my helpful step by step instructions and photos, you'll be a gumbo making pro in no time.
This recipe was first published on November 30, 2017.
I close my eyes while eating this gumbo and I am instantly transported to the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. This is, hands down, the best gumbo I've ever had.
If this is your first time making gumbo, you will love all of the step by step photos that I've provided. That way you can compare yours to mine and see if you are on the right track.
Gumbo has a few components to it. The roux, the holy trinity and the meat or seafood. And although there are many types of gumbo, this is a chicken and andouille sausage gumbo.
Recently my family went to Disneyland and I had heard they had some of the best gumbo there! Believe it or not. And it was good. But, I don't think the Disneyland gumbo holds a candle to my recipe.
Every single time I make gumbo, the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog always comes to mind. The scene where Mama Odie is making gumbo, "gumbo gumbo in the pot!". If you have kids you'll understand.
Well just like Mama Odie's gumbo, this one is also "the bees knees"!
Why I Love This Gumbo
- Easy: I love how easy this recipe is to make. Yes, there are quite a few steps and the roux needs to be just right but the step by step photos are extremely helpful! And there are so many tips throughout this post to help.
- Delicious: This will be the best gumbo you've ever had! O-M-G you're gonna love it! It's hearty, a bit spicy, totally savory and just warms you to the bone.
- Leftovers: Granted you even have leftovers, it's so good leftover! It reheats really well. And it freezes well too! Make sure to make extra rice for leftover gumbo.
- Cost Effective: Gumbo is actually really expensive to order at restaurants. You can make a whole pot full for a fraction of the price.
What Is Gumbo?
Gumbo is a a thick soup, technically a stew. It's made with a roux, vegetables, meat and optionally you can top it with rice. Honestly I think there's no other way.
Gumbo is spicy and savory. It is cajun food after all, so of course it's going to have a kick. However, you can choose to cut back on the cajun seasonings if you like.
Any good gumbo will start out with a properly made roux (pronounced roo). A deep color is necessary. This roux is thickened with broth or stock. We'll be using chicken broth in this recipe.
It also has three main components referred to as the holy trinity, which is green bell pepper, celery and onion.
There are so many variations to gumbo and what you put in it, this one has chicken and andouille sausage. And served with rice on the side.
Gumbo is the official state dish of Louisiana.
What is a Roux?
A roux is the thickening agent used in soups. Pronounced "roo". It's made of flour and a fat, like butter or oil. For this recipe you will be using flour, oil and butter.
The roux is the base for the gumbo. The overall taste relies on your roux turning out just right. If your roux is too light it won't have enough depth of flavor, however if your roux is too dark (borderline burnt) I think it makes the gumbo have a very bitter unappetizing taste.
For most recipes when you make a roux you only stir the flour and fat together for a few minutes. That's not the case with a gumbo roux!
For gumbo you stir the roux until it's developed a deeper golden brown, this takes about 10 minutes.
How To Make a Roux for Gumbo
To make the roux you'll be adding a whole cup of flour to your warm oil and butter.
You will need a whisk for this.
Whisk the flour, oil and butter together for a total of 10 minutes on medium/low heat. You have to whisk nonstop. If you stop stirring the roux it could burn.
The first few minutes you may notice your roux is a bit thick and clumpy, this is normal. It will start to smooth out and become more liquid. If it doesn't, add another splash or two of oil.
The biggest color transformation will happen between the 5-10 minute mark. So if at 5 minutes you are feeling it's not happening, don't fret, it will get there. And it may take longer than 10 minutes. Don't rush the process.
Keep your stovetop at a medium/low heat. But you also know your own stovetop, does it run cool or does it run hot? Adjust the temperature accordingly. You want it to lightly bubble as you whisk.
You really need to babysit the roux, which means constant whisking. It's done once it's a deeper golden brown color.
Throughout the 10 minutes of cooking the roux, it will transform through four different shades of tan/brown.
- Pale yellow: The color right after adding the flour, that first minute in.
- Light Yellow: The color right around the 3-4 minute mark.
- Golden: The color it will be for the longest amount of time. It could be up until the 8 minute mark.
- Deep Golden Brown: The end color and when you can stop cooking your roux. This can happen quite quickly so you need to be careful that you are paying close attention to your roux as it nears the end of 10 minutes. Don't burn the roux. Turn the heat down if you think that could happen.
Side note. Sometimes the roux takes longer than 10 minutes. For example if your burner was closer to low than med/low it may take you longer than 10 minutes. Everyones stoves vary in heat setting.
The Holy Trinity Vegetables
The holy trinity is a phrase for three vegetables; bell peppers, onion and celery. It is considered the gold standard as the base for many creole and cajun dishes like gumbo, etouffee and jambalaya.
When making your gumbo you want to pay attention to the amounts listed in the recipe. Too much green bell pepper will make your gumbo have an overall bitter taste.
Prepare the vegetables before you start making your gumbo. This way you can easily add them when it comes time. Always prep the bell pepper, onion and celery first before the chicken and sausage.
Gumbo vs. Jambalaya
While gumbo and jambalaya may look quite similar, they are entirely different dishes.
We just talked all about gumbo, what it is, what's inside of it, so now let's talk about jambalaya so you can see the differences.
Jambalaya is a rice based dish and won't be soupy like gumbo. It's going to have the consistency like a paella.
The rice is cooked in the dish with everything else. It's made with a lot of the same ingredient's as gumbo though, the holy trinity, meat, okra if you like.
So the biggest difference is that gumbo is a roux based stew with rice served on the side and jambalaya is a rice based dish that has a dryer consistency.
- Onion: A medium sized onion.
- Green Bell Pepper: Make sure to only use as much green bell pepper as directed. It's just one green bell pepper.
- Celery: You'll need 3-4 celery ribs. If your celery is really small you may need an extra rib.
- Garlic: Fresh minced garlic for flavor.
- Parsley: You will need fresh parsley, dried parsley won't work.
- Canola Oil: This is used to cook the chicken, sausage and is the main base for the roux.
- Chicken: The recipe calls for chicken breast but you could also use chicken thighs.
- Andouille Sausage: A package of Aidell's cajun style andouille sausage. It's been precooked.
- Butter: Used in the roux and for sautéing the vegetables.
- Flour: You'll need a whole cup of all purpose flour for the roux.
- Worcestershire Sauce: For flavor.
- Chicken Broth: Opt for a low sodium chicken broth.
- Cajun Seasoning: For flavor and spice.
- Rice: Basmati rice is my rice of choice because it holds up nicely in this dish and it's not as sticky as jasmine rice.
How To Make Gumbo (Photos)
Prep. Star by preparing the vegetables. Chop the celery, bell pepper, onion and parsley. Mince the garlic.
Cut up the chicken and andouille sausage into bite size pieces on separate cutting boards with separate knives. Aidell's andouille sausage is pre-cooked, do not cross contaminate with the raw chicken. Season the chicken with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
Cook the Meats. In a large pot heat the canola oil over medium/high heat. Add the chicken to the hot oil, stirring, once cooked use a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
Add the sausage just to get a little color on them (also adds flavor the oil). Remove the pieces of sausage and set aside on the plate with the chicken.
Leave any remaining juices in the pan. Turn the heat down to low/medium.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the pot. Stir in the flour.
Cook for 10 minutes. As the roux cooks you must stir it constantly with a whisk. It will go from a pale yellow to a dark golden brown.
The hardcore gumbo makers will say you only ever make gumbo with a wooden spoon. But I still use a whisk.
After you've achieved the right color, lower the heat slightly, whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter until melted.
Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, minced garlic and parsley. Add a few pinches of salt. Cook the vegetables until they start to soften, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, cooked chicken and andouille sausage. Simmer on low heat, covered, for one hour. Stir every 10 minutes to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. Prepare the rice by following the directions on the box or bag.
To serve the gumbo, scoop some into a bowl and top it with a big spoonful of rice.
- Vegetables: Prep the vegetables ahead of time before you start making the gumbo. This will make the process go smoothly.
- Roux: The roux is the most important party of the gumbo. Get the roux right and you'll be golden!
- Tomatoes: Never put tomatoes in gumbo.
- Heat: Do not cook your roux on high heat, you will burn it.
From start to finish it takes about 2 hours. Half of that time is spent with the gumbo simmering.
Yes, as gumbo cools it thickens. After refrigerating leftover gumbo, it will thicken quite a bit. To thin it out add a few splashes of water or chicken broth when you go to heat it up.
You'll want to start over, if you end up with a burnt roux the whole thing will taste off. Keep your temperature lower and you can always increase it. Medium/low temperature is key.
Yes, you can freeze gumbo. To reheat, put it in your fridge to thaw a day and then cook it in a soup pot. You'll want to add some extra chicken broth, it will have thickened up.
If you end up with a bitter tasting gumbo this is most likely from burning the roux.
During the first 5 minutes your roux may look more clumpy and thick. This is normal. It will start to turn more liquid and smooth out the more you whisk and cook it. You can always add an extra splash of oil. If you had a lot of excess liquid from when you cooked your chicken you may start off with a thinner roux, this is okay too!
What To Serve With Gumbo
- Rice: Rice is necessary. You just have to serve rice with your gumbo! Two parts gumbo to one part rice. I like basmati rice the best because it's not very sticky and it has a nice mild flavor. You could do a texmati rice too.
- Potato Salad: You can serve your gumbo with some creamy potato salad.
- Bread: A crusty loaf of bread would be great, I would choose sourdough or french.
Make Ahead, Storing and Freezing
Make Ahead: This gumbo actually tastes even better the next day! So you could prepare it and serve it later. It reheats really easily.
Storing: Store your gumbo in a tupperware with a tight fitting lid. Gumbo should be stored in the fridge. It's best eaten within 5 days.
Freezing: To freeze gumbo transfer it to a freezer ziploc bag. You can double bag it to prevent freezer burn. You can easily reheat the gumbo after it's been frozen but you will need to add extra broth.
- 1 c onion (about 1 medium sized onion), chopped
- 1 ½ c celery (3-4 ribs), chopped
- 1 c green bell pepper (1 medium sized pepper), chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ c fresh parsley, chopped
- ½ c canola oil
- 1 ½ lbs chicken breast
- 1 pkg Aidell's cajun style andouille sausage
- 5 tbsp butter, divided 2 tbsp and 3 tbsp
- 1 c all purpose flour
- 2 splashes worcestershire sauce
- 32 oz low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tsp cajun seasoning
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Basmati rice
- Star by preparing the vegetables. Chop the celery, bell pepper, onion and parsley. Have everything ready to go before you start cooking.
- Cut up the chicken and andouille sausage into bite size pieces on separate cutting boards with separate knives. Aidell's andouille sausage is pre-cooked, do not cross contaminate with the raw chicken. Season the chicken with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
- In a large pot heat the canola oil over medium/high heat. Add the chicken to the hot oil, stirring, once cooked use a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate. Add the sausage just to get a little color on them and add some flavor to the oil. Remove the pieces of sausage and set aside on the plate with the chicken.
- Leave any remaining juices in the pan. Turn the heat down to low/medium.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the pot. Stir in the flour. Cook for 10 minutes. As the roux cooks you must stir it constantly with a whisk. It will go from a pale yellow to a dark golden brown (see images for reference).
- After you've achieved the right color, lower the heat slightly, whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter until melted. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, minced garlic and parsley. Add a few pinches of salt. Cook the vegetables until they start to soften, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, cooked chicken and andouille sausage. Simmer on low heat, covered, for one hour. Stir every 10 minutes to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Prepare the rice by following the directions on the box or bag.
- To serve the gumbo, scoop some into a bowl and top it with a spoonful of rice.
Roux: The most important step in making gumbo is the roux. If the roux is too light it won't have the same depth of flavor. If the roux is too dark it could taste burnt and bitter. Your roux will transform in 10 minutes from a pale yellow to a dark golden brown. Make sure to cook your roux on medium/low (unless you know your burner runs very hot, lower it even more) whisking constantly. Do not stop whisking for the entire 10 minutes.
Cajun Seasonings: All brands of cajun seasoning taste different. Some are very salty and some not salty at all. Same for the spice level. I use half and half, slap ya mama cajun seasoning and McCormick cajun seasoning, this mixture is always perfect!
Bell Pepper: Be mindful not to add an excess amount of green bell pepper. It can be bitter and overpowering if there is too much. A medium sized green bell pepper is the perfect amount.
Cooking the Vegetables: An important step. Despite it being really thick when you add the chopped vegetables you must cook them down before simmering the gumbo. Softening the vegetables first helps to break down any bitterness, the pinches of salt helps with this too. Cook for at least 5 minutes and stir it frequently.
Rice: You can make rice in an instant pot. It takes 3 minutes cooking and 10 minutes slow release.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 483Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 556mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 34g
This information comes from online calculators. Although moderncrumb.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.