Authentic Cajun Gumbo Recipe
Published February 17, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
You will love this delicious authentic Gumbo recipe jam-packed with chicken, andouille sausage, and okra in a tasty homemade chicken stock. The flavors in this dish are nothing short of incredible.
I’m a huge fan of Cajun and creole food and love exploring cuisine from that region of the United States. If you’re the same way, you must try my Jambalaya or Red Beans and Rice.
Gumbo is a Cajun and creole specialty throughout the state of Louisiana. It’s a thick, stew-like dish with several ingredients, such as the trinity (onions, celery, and bell peppers), okra, and meat. The most common proteins are chicken and sausage, but you can make a seafood-specific combo. According to the recipe evangelists, you should never combine seafood with chicken.
This recipe and ingredients will be completely different depending on who makes it. There are many arguments on whether the recipe should be thickened with a roux or with gumbo file. File is a powder consisting of dried sassafras leaves. It can be a thickening agent or a flavor garnish before serving the gumbo.
You can extract the most flavor using a roux, gumbo, and okra. After all, one of the many definitions for Gumbo is, in fact, okra. Regardless of how you make this, it’s a time labor of love, and if you follow the procedures closely, the flavors and results are fantastic.
- Chicken – I prefer a whole chicken to use the meat and make chicken stock.
- Trinity – In classic creole and Cajun cooking, the trinity is a must which consists of onions, bell peppers, and celery.
- Sausage – Use a good andouille sausage.
- Oil – Vegetable oil is the traditional fat to use.
- Garlic – A few garlic cloves will go a long way toward the gumbo flavor.
- Flour – All-purpose flour is what you will need to make the roux.
- Seasonings – You will need to use a Cajun seasoning, whether homemade or store-bought. You will also need a few bay leaves.
- Okra – Fresh sliced or frozen sliced will work.
How to Make Gumbo
Add the whole chicken to a large pot, cover it with 1 gallon of water, and simmer on low to medium heat for 75 to 90 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
In the meantime, add some oil to a large pot over medium heat and sauté the sausage slices for 5 to 6 minutes or until they have sear marks. Set them aside in a bowl or on a plate.
Add the onions to the pot and cook over low heat until very well caramelized, which usually takes 45 to 60 minutes.
Next, add the celery and bell peppers, and sauté over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until the vegetables are a little brown and tender.
Stir in the garlic and cook until it’s fragrant, which takes 45 to 60 seconds.
Set the sauteed vegetables to the side on a plate or in a bowl and then return the pot to the burner but do not turn the heat on just yet.
Go Back to the pot with the chicken, carefully remove it, and set it to the side on a large plate. Cool it slightly.
Strain the chicken stock through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer.
Return the chicken stock to the cooktop and keep it warm over low heat.
Remove the skin from the cooked whole chicken, and then remove as much meat as possible from the breasts, wings, thighs, and drums.
Roughly chop the pulled chicken and set it to the side.
Next, go back to the pot where the trinity vegetables were cooked and add in the oil over low to medium heat and heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
Slowly sprinkle in the flour while continuing to whisk until combined.
Frequently whisk or stir the roux in the pot until it reaches the dark roux stage. It should be the color of a dark penny. This will take around 30 minutes to achieve.
Pour back in the cooked vegetables and stir until combined.
Sprinkle in the Cajun seasonings and stir to combine.
Pour 2 to 3 ladles of warm chicken stock into the pot and mix it with the vegetables, spices, and roux until it becomes dark and creamy.
Now pour all the chicken stock, the roughly chopped chicken, and the seared sausage slices.
Next, add the bay leaves and sliced okra and stir it well.
Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat to help activate the roux to help thicken the stock.
Once boiling, turn the heat down to low medium, and cook it on a lid for 1 hour.
Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve, store, or keep it warm over low heat.
How to Serve Gumbo
Traditionally gumbo is served with cooked long-grain rice. However, if you do some digging, you will find there are several areas in Louisiana that serve it with potato salad on the side or right in the center of your gumbo bowl.
Additionally, there are variations where you can add some hard-boiled eggs to the gumbo right after the boil and then simmer it alongside everything else. The egg will take on some incredible flavors and help stretch the recipe’s amount.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this gumbo up to 1 day ahead of time. Follow the reheating instructions below.
How to Store: You can store this covered in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. This will also freeze covered for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating and serving.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of gumbo to a medium-sized saucepot and cook over low heat until hot. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and serve.
Chef Notes + Tips
- If you can’t find andouille sausage, try, and use a good smoked sausage.
- When making the stock, you can add any vegetable scraps if it’s not bell peppers.
- If you aren’t pressed for time, you can simmer the gumbo for an additional hour.
- This soup will get better with time.
More Soup Recipes
- French Onion Soup
- Clam Chowder
- Broccoli Cheddar
- Scotch Broth