This is a compilation from multiple recipes I consulted when I made my first gumbo on 2/26/12, revised slightly and pictures added after my second attempt on 3/10/12. Preparation is time consuming, but the result is fabulous. Do all the chopping first, then sauté the shrimp and brown the chicken, so that you can remain undistracted while stirring the roux.

Click on any picture to enlarge. Click here to view the pictures as a slideshow.


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1/2 lb. small shrimp
  • Flour for dredging chicken pieces
  • Butter and olive oil for browning
  • 4 c. chicken stock


  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 green bell peppers, minced
  • 4 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 hot green pepper, minced
  • 1 parsnip, minced
  • 1 turnip, minced
  • 3 carrots, minced
  • 3 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • Ca. 12 okra, sliced
  • Green onions, chopped


  • 1 c. vegetable oil (canola)
  • 1 1/4 c. flour


  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. Tabasco
  • Filé powder


  • Cut bell pepper, onion, celery (the Cajun holy trinity), carrot, parsnip, hot pepper, and turnip (my additions) to large pieces, then pulse in food processor to mince. Set aside.
  • Cut chicken into pieces. Remove skin, divide breasts into quarters, divide other pieces in half.
  • Dredge chicken pieces in flour, then brown in hot oil/butter in a heavy frying pan. Set aside.
  • Slice sausage into rounds; set aside.
  • Sprinkle shrimp with Tabasco (or sriracha).
  • Mince garlic, sauté in hot oil; add shrimp and sauté for a couple minutes. Set aside.
  • Make the roux (Cajun napalm) in a large heavy casserole: add flour to hot oil, then whisk continously for 20-30 minutes until the roux turns a nutty brown color. Don't let it burn!
    [Why cajun napalm? You'll find out when you add the minced vegetables and splatter yourself with roux. I have a burn blister on my hand as I write this...]
  • Add minced vegetables to the roux. Continue stirring for another 10 minutes.
  • Add stock and raise heat.
  • Add chicken, sausage, and spices (except filé). Cook for 20 minutes.
  • [Optionally, see comment below: lower heat and simmer longer before adding okra.]
  • Add okra. Cook for 10 more minutes.
  • Add shrimp and tomatoes. Cook 10 more minutes.
  • Turn off heat. Sprinkle top with filé. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Serve over rice, garnished with green onion sprinkled on top. Provide hot sauce and/or Tabasco and filé at the table.


  • How brown should you let the roux get? It's a hotly debated religous issue. I opt for nutty brown as in picture 8, but your taste may differ.
  • How much stock? Is gumbo soup or solid? Another hotly debated religous issue. I vote for goopy but not soupy; again, YMMV. Both okra and filé are thickening agents.
  • I added parsnip, hot green pepper, turnip, and tomato to the usual vegetables, used bok choy in addition to the usual celery, and threw in some enoki and wood ear mushrooms to clean out the fridge.
    [Does this constitute the veg Hindu Pantheon rather than the Cajun Trinity?]
  • The recipe above follows traditional timing, but I find the base benefits greatly from more time. After adding the chicken and sausage, lower the heat a little and let it simmer for 30 minutes before continuing.
  • I used peanut oil in the roux for my first gumbo, not so great; use canola oil instead.
  • Authentic gumbo requires okra, but fresh okra was unavailable for my first gumbo and I didn't want to use frozen okra (and my wife dislikes okra in any case). The okra-free gumbo was excellent, but I prefer it with okra.
  • Savor a sazerac cocktail while you wait for the gumbo to finish. You won't regret it!
1. Ingredients

2. Spices

3. Utensils

4. After cutting and mincing

5. Sauté shrimp

6. Brown chicken