Click here for a printable PDF recipe card Cajun Gumbo
If you’re really a Cajun, then you LOVE gumbo!! If you don’t, then something went awry genetically! 😉
There’s sooooo many different ways to make gumbo. How you make it typically depends on how your family made it. It is one of those things that’s just passed down from generation to generation. It may have the consistency of a soup (the base comes from browning onions) or a stew (the base is a roux). It may contain chicken, sausage, seafood, okra, etc. Creole gumbo tends to have tomatoes in it; whereas, Cajun gumbo normally does not. If you’re not from Louisiana and would like a little cultural lesson on the difference between Cajun and Creole, then check out Cajun vs. Creole Food – What is the Difference?. Regardless of whether it’s Cajun or Creole, it’s always eaten with rice.
I grew up on gumbo. It was probably in my bottle as a baby at some point 😉 But I really started to pay attention to cooking when I was in high school. I loved watching my dad cook (and, boy, can the man cook!). I still have my first “Write Your Own Cookbook” that I started at that time and the first recipe is Jambalaya. I remember making my dad measure everything (Sound familiar?? Cajuns don’t measure!! We just cook!) and I wrote down every little thing he did. I still use the exact same recipe today.
So I learned to make gumbo when I was in high school from watching my dad. He can make a mean shrimp okra gumbo, but my favorite is still chicken and sausage gumbo. Also, remember that Hubby doesn’t eat much of anything green 🙂 so that DEFINITELY means no okra!
Traditionally it’s made with a whole cut-up chicken (or even simpler, chicken legs), but over the years I’ve switched to just chicken breasts for two reasons: 1) It’s less fattening and 2) It’s so much easier to shred than having to debone chicken!
I know you will absolutely LOVE this along with the perfect pairing of Simple Potato Salad! I haven’t met anyone yet that doesn’t 🙂
Ingredients: 3 large chicken breasts; 1 pack of smoked sausage; 1 large onion; olive oil; 4 chicken bouillon cubes; onion powder; garlic powder; cajun seasoning; dried parsley; salt; Tabasco sauce; filé powder (optional); rice.
Get a little prep work done before you start cooking…cut up the sausage. I like to cut them in half circles.
Then chop the onions (I mince them). I always put mine in a mini-food processor because Hubby isn’t a fan of bigger pieces of onion in his food and it’s also quicker.
Using a large pot (5 Qt.) heat about 1/3 cup of olive oil on high heat. When the oil is hot add the onions…
Now we’re going to brown them and I mean REALLY brown! Check out the video and you’ll see just how dark 🙂 …
I always steam the onions after (if you watch the video, it will show you how to steam the browned onions, as well). To steam: once onions have reached the desired color, pour in at least a cup of water and put the lid on. Allow to steam for about 1 minute.
Keeping the heat on high, add some more water (amount is not important). Drop in 4 chicken bouillon cubes. Then 1 TBSP garlic powder, 1 TBSP onion powder, 1 tsp cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning), 1 tsp salt, 3 TBSP dried parsley, and 10 shakes of Tabasco sauce (use less if you want it less spicy).
Add water until the pot is half full. Now this is when you “test” the seasoning of the gumbo. I ALWAYS taste the liquid BEFORE I add the chicken and sausage because then I know before everything cooks in it if it’s seasoned well enough. How your seasoned liquid tastes now will determine how your gumbo will taste later. And you want your chicken to absorb that yumminess! So add what you need now. For example, if you only added 5 shakes of Tabasco and feel it could use more spice, then add more now.
Ok, it’s seasoned perfectly, so add the sausage and the chicken.
Add more water if needed to reach within 1-inch of the rim. Everything is in so bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 1 hour.
It’s been 1 hour so turn the heat off and remove the chicken breasts. Shred the chicken.
Return the chicken to the pot.
Now add 1 TBSP filé powder. This next step is optional, as your gumbo will be tasty without it. You may not be able to find this spice in your grocery store depending on where you live. However, you can always order it online (it’s not an expensive spice and you can even find gumbo filé on Amazon for between $3-$7 depending on the brand). Filé powder, or gumbo filé, is dried sassafras leaves that have been ground into a powder. It adds a unique, delicious taste to the gumbo!
Serve over rice and it’s ready to eat! If you’re not familiar with how to serve gumbo, think of it as a soup with rice added to it.
My favorite way to eat it is to serve a cold, Simple Potato Salad on the side (click for the recipe). There’s nothing like a bite of cold potato salad with a bite of hot gumbo!
Bon Appetite! (pronounced bon a-pet-tite’…that’s Cajun French for “Enjoy!”)
Click here for a printable PDF recipe card Cajun Gumbo
1 large onion
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pack smoked sausage
3 large chicken breasts
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP onion powder
3 TBSP dried parsley
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp salt
10 shakes of Tabasco sauce
1 tsp filé powder
- Cut up sausage into half circles. Chop onions.
- In a 5 Qt. pot heat oil on medium high heat. When oil is hot add onions. Brown onions until really dark then pour in at least a cup of water, place lid on pot, and steam for 1 minute.
- Add water until pot is half full, bouillon, garlic & onion powder, parsley, Cajun seasoning, salt, and Tabasco. Taste liquid to determine if seasonings need to be adjusted.
- Add sausage and chicken and more water if needed to reach within 1-inch of the rim. Bring to a boil, cover with lid, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 1 hour.
- Turn off heat, remove chicken, shred, and return to pot. Add filé powder.
- Serve with cooked rice.