Looking for an authentic gumbo recipe? This delicious pot is brimming with traditional cajun food flavors. This Louisiana gumbo recipe is a classic blend of meat and seafood and the holy trinity vegetable blend of Cajun cooking. The gumbo roux is cooked to a golden nutty brown and okra adds body to this Seafood Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. This easy recipe is ready to eat in about 2 hours.
For authentic gumbo, start with gumbo roux
When you think of gumbo, you think of a rich, dark, tongue tingling stock and that lip-smacking base starts with a roux. You’re probably familiar with roux for making béchamel sauce for your homemade macaroni and cheese, but a gumbo roux is very different from that traditional mother sauce. Instead of butter, gumbo roux uses vegetable oil and instead of equal parts of fat to flour, there’s slightly more of the fat, making it a looser rendition that doesn’t thicken the way a standard roux does.
Further, whereas a traditional roux is very pale in color because it’s only cooked for a minute or so before adding liquids, a gumbo roux is meant to get deeply, richly browned. Some authentic gumbo recipes call for a roux that’s nearly black before adding any other ingredients. For this Louisiana gumbo recipe, I’m sticking with a deep golden brown color that will add nuttiness, flavor and color to the soup.
Making gumbo roux
- Use a heavy bottomed pot that evenly distributes heat — a dutch oven is invaluable for this.
- Heat the oil over medium high heat until it shimmers and starts to take on a moiré effect.
- Sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly, until all of the dried flour bits are incorporated with the hot oil.
- As you continue to stir the gumbo roux, the color will shift from pale yellow to a much more golden, nutty color. Make sure you’re scraping the bottom and sides of the pan as you stir so that the roux gets colored evenly.
- The gumbo roux should smell toasty as it cooks and browns.
The next step for this seafood chicken and sausage gumbo is adding the vegetables and seasonings to provide a base of flavor for the gumbo soup. They go directly into the roux and cook until the vegetables are softened and slightly translucent. I mix my own Cajun seasoning (because I have an abnormally well-stocked spice pantry), but you can also use a store-bought blend.
What’s the holy trinity in cajun food and cooking?
The holy trinity in Cajun cooking refers to the combination of onions, celery and bell peppers (usually green bell peppers). These vegetables are the starting point for so many Cajun dishes.
The vegetables cook and give off their liquid, and the spices permeate the roux. The combination looks pasty, but it smells fabulous. It gets better as you with each step.
Best meat for chicken sausage gumbo
Most authentic gumbo recipes use andouille sausage (a classic Cajun food), but if you can’t find it, a good smoked sausage works well too.
I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this chicken sausage gumbo because I had them handy and they stay moist and flavorful in the soup.
However, another option is to add whole skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts and let them simmer as the soup simmers. Then remove the chicken breasts and let cool until you can handle them. Discard the skin and bones and shred the chicken meat before adding it back to the Louisiana gumbo.
Building the gumbo flavors
- Add the chicken and sausage to the vegetable mixture and cook until the chicken is opaque (on the outside) and the sausage is warmed and fragrant. At this point, the gumbo isn’t going to look like anything appetizing, but it’s coming, I promise.
- Add the stock to the pot a cup at a time, stirring after each addition until the stock is smooth. Note: I use chicken stock AND seafood stock (that I make from the shrimp shells), however, chicken stock works if you don’t also have seafood stock.
- Add the bay leaf and bring the gumbo to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally. (Note this is when you’d add the chicken breasts if you were using them.)
- After the gumbo has simmered for an hour, add the frozen okra. This will add that distinctive body and mouth feel to this Louisiana gumbo recipe.
Best seafood for Louisiana gumbo
- Shrimp (shelled and deveined)
- Blue Crab Meat (both claw and lump backfin)
- Langoustines or Crawfish (shelled)
- Bay Scallops
- Fish – (grouper, snapper, sole, cod, halibut, rockfish)
- Calamari (not traditional, but it will work in a pinch)
- Lobster (again, not a traditional gumbo ingredient — but we’re not the food police)
- Gator Tail – I don’t know whether you’d consider this “seafood” or not, but it does live in the water and it is found in the Louisiana bayous — as well as the South Florida everglades…
The soup will taste the best if you can find fresh seafood, but sometimes it can be hit and miss depending on where you live. Use what you can find and take some cues from the list above.
For this authentic gumbo recipe, I stuck to the classics… Oysters and shrimp. I found head on shrimp at my local fisheries and I used the head and tails to make the seafood stock. The oysters were from the gulf and they’re packaged in their liquor. Don’t discard the liquor, you’ll want to use it in the gumbo, traditional Cajun food and cooking doesn’t waste anything .
When to add seafood to Louisiana gumbo
Most seafood cooks very quickly and also overcooks very quickly. After the soup has simmered and you’re ready to eat, stir in the seafood and cook for just a few minutes. Overcooking shrimp and especially oysters can result in a tough chew. Another way to avoid over-cooking is to add the shrimp and oysters to the pot, cover with the lid and TURN OFF the stove. Let the seafood poach for 5 minutes in the hot soup and it should be cooked perfectly. (Note: if you’re using seafood other than shrimp and oysters, be sure of the timing for them to be cooked through.
What to serve with classic gumbo
- White Rice (traditional gumbo recipes and other Cajun food are usually served with a little rice, either in the bottom of the bowl or spooned on top.
- Chopped Scallions
- Chopped Parsley
- Hot Sauce (such as Tabasco or Crystal – we prefer Crystal)
- Homemade Cornbread
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Chicken Sausage & Seafood Gumbo
- Dutch Oven
- 1/2 cup vegetable or corn oil
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup red bell pepper diced
- 1/3 cup yellow bell pepper diced
- 1/3 cup green bell pepper diced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic from about 3-4 large cloves
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning recipe below
- 1/2 pound andouille or smoked sausage cut into half inch pieces
- 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into half inch cubes
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth low sodium
- 3 cups seafood stock (optional) (or additional chicken stock)
- 15 ounces frozen okra
- 1/2 pound medium shrimp shelled and deveined
- 8 ounces raw oysters in their liquor
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
FOR CAJUN SEASONING:
- 2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced dried onion
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground bay leaves
- 1 bunch thinly sliced scallions
- 4 cups cooked white rice
- extra chopped parsley
- hot sauce preferably Crystal
- Place a dutch oven or heavy bottomed stockpot over medium high heat. Add the oil and heat until very hot, oil will start to shimmer and have a moiré effect. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly until the color of the roux is a deep golden brown.
- Add the onion, celery, red, yellow and green bell pepper and garlic to the roux and cook for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are softened slightly and tender.
- Stir in the cajun seasoning and cook for one minute until fragrant.
- Add the chicken and sausage and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes until the sausage is fragrant and chicken is cooked on the outside.
- Add stock one cup at a time, mixing after each addition, so that its well blended and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook with the lid slightly askew on the pot for 1 hour.
- Stir in the okra and simmer for half an hour with the lid askew on the pot, for steam to escape.
- Stir in the shrimp and oysters with their liquor and cook for 5 minutes, just until the seafood is cooked through, but not over-cooked. Remove from heat. Stir in the parsley.
- Ladle the gumbo into a bowl and garnish with white rice, scallions, parsley and hot sauce to taste.