Cajun gumbo is one of those things that everyone says that they or someone they know makes the best.
“My aunt’s mom’s cousin’s recipe is the best! They’re from Louisiana!”
Now I’ve only been to Louisiana once and didn’t even have gumbo when I was there so I’m not going to boast about how this is the best gumbo in the whole world but it’s pretty incredible. When I tried my first bite my eyes literally lit up.
Even my mom approved and she hates almost everything I make if it’s not a steak or macaroni and cheese.
When it comes to Cajun and Creole cooking it is known that you have to include the Holy Trinity; the celery, the onions, and the bell pepper. These three vegetables come together and are sauteed to serve as the base of your flavors in this Cajun gumbo.
Cajun Gumbo: the Roux
A roux is a mixture of flour and oil, traditionally lard or butter, that’s created for use as a thickener. The flour and fat are cooked together and used in many dishes from gumbo to macaroni and cheese.
Making the roux can be a delicate process, especially if you’ve never made one before. It requires almost constant attention and stirring because it can burn on you in a second.
The awesome thing about this recipe is that it requires a very small amount of roux so if you mess it up, you can just start over without wasting tons of flour and butter. Hooray! 😊
I didn’t make this Cajun gumbo tooooooo terribly hot but you can definitely up the ante when it comes to the heat. Add more hot sauce, more red pepper flakes, or even some cayenne pepper. You could make this recipe with spicy smoked or andouille sausage to get that real authentic Cajun kick.
Get that authentic cajun kick in your gumbo
One thing that was really important to me when it came to creating this recipe was to make the flavors authentic Louisiana. While some ingredients like the meats or the veggies may be interchangeable, I felt like it was important to get the spices just right.
So I did some research.
I sought out some of the oldest and most popular gumbo recipes on the internet, to find the common links. And one thing kept popping up in the most acclaimed recipes I found.
Filé powder (pronounced fee-lay) is dried and ground sassafras powder and it made an appearance in all of the most “authentic” gumbo recipes I found. It’s sometimes used for flavoring AND as a thickening agent, both of which are what it’s used for here.
Though this ingredient isn’t totally necessary and you could most certainly make some delicious gumbo without it, consider that it’s only about $5 and it really does give this dish a little extra oomph.
Now… You may or may not have noticed that what may be considered a “key” ingredient is missing from this gumbo. And that’s okra.
You won’t miss the okra
I can almost guarantee that ya’ll will never see a recipe featuring okra on this blog. Why? Because I hate it. I mean…loathe…the stuff. However, I do understand that it has a part to play in gumbo, acting as a thickener.
If you’re a traditionalist or a weirdo okra lover (jk…kinda), then by all means add about a cup of fresh or frozen okra to this recipe. But if you don’t love the stuff, feel free to leave it out. I doubt you’ll actually miss it.
This gumbo is delicious alone if you’re low carb or Keto. Traditionally it’s served with white rice but you could do some delicious Cauliflower Rice and eat even moar gumbo. 👍 Since there are already so many parts to this recipe I kept it simple and used a pound of roasted chicken I already had in the fridge. You could definitely sauté a pound of chicken breast and add it in. Whatever floats your boat!
Cajun gumbo make with tender chicken, smoked sausage, and juicy shrimp. This gumbo recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser, perfect for game day or any time you need to feed a crowd!
- 2 Tbs Flour
- 1 Tbs Butter
- 1 Tbs Olive oil
- 1 Medium onion, chopped
- 1 Green bell pepper, chopped
- 3 stalks Celery, chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups Chicken broth
- 1/2 lb Smoked sausage, sliced
- 1 lb Boneless skinless chicken, shredded
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 Tbs Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 Tbs Red pepper flake
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp Thyme
- 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbs Hot pepper sauce
- 1 Tbs Apple cider Vinegar
- 1 Tbs File powder, divided
- 10 oz Raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Place flour and butter into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes, whisking constantly. Allow the flour/butter mixture to brown until it’s a medium tan color. Place mixture into a bowl and set aside.
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery then sauté until the vegetables become tender.
- Add the roux you made in the first step back into the pot, stirring it in with the vegetables. Allow to cook for about 1 minute before adding crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, all of the seasonings, leaving ½ tbs of the file powder aside, the Worcestershire sauce, and the vinegar. Allow to come to a boil.
- Once your liquids come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and add the sausage and chicken. Allow to simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the shrimp is done.
- Remove bay leaves for easy eating and sprinkle with the remaining ½ tbs of filé powder immediately before serving.