Now you can have authentic French gumbo in less than an hour with this quick and easy side-step! Delicious, uncompromising flavor-a recipe you'll make over and over again!
In the Crescent City, you'll find various types of gumbo including seafood, andouille sausage and chicken gumbo, but no matter what crustacean or protein is in this bowl of heaven, there is always The Holy Trinity in a dark roux with okra.
Why you'll love this recipe!
- This recipe uses a pre-made roux straight out of Louisiana... Now before you freak out, let me tell you, I'm a genuine Gumbo snob, and I wouldn't recommend using a pre-made roux if I weren't 100% pleased with the results
- The flavor is amazing
- Ready in less than an hour
Here's what you'll need:
Get a value pack of chicken thighs: bone-in, skin on. Next you'll need: a yellow onion, celery, a green bell pepper, cayenne pepper, a package of frozen, cut okra, salt and black pepper and a jar of Kary's or Bootsie's roux.
Step by step instructions:
Bake the chicken thighs (place them in a lightly oiled baking dish; cover with foil; done at 165ºF; remove skin, shred chicken, discard bones)
Cook The Holy Trinity: saute onion, bell pepper, celery in oil
Add in about half a cup of roux (if using homemade roux, make the roux first, then add Holy Trinity)
Add broth and cooked shredded chicken
Add chicken and cayenne pepper
Add okra and allow to simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Serve with white rice and garnish with green onion and/or filé powder.
What Is Gumbo?
Gumbo is a thick and savory French soup with a consistency more like a stew than a soup. The base is a dark roux, which is equal parts of fat and flour, and ingredients include: a stock or broth, seafood, sausage or chicken, okra and The Holy Trinity. The thick Louisiana soup is cooked until thickened to the right consistency and served over white rice.
What is The Holy Trinity?
The Holy Trinity and Mirepoix (pronounced "meer'-pwah") both refer to diced, sauteed vegetables which serve as the flavor base of a dish. While both are derived from French cooking methods, the terms "Holy Trinity" and "Mirepoix" are often incorrectly used interchangeably, which causes confusion, as they are different from one another and produce very different flavor profiles.
In classic French cooking, mirepoix consists of onion, celery and carrots. The carrots offer a slight sweetness to the base of a dish. Conversely, The Holy Trinity consists of onion, celery and green bell peppers and is often found in Cajun and Creole dishes. The bell peppers in the Trinity offer a slightly sweet and spicy flavor and added texture.
What is Roux?
Roux, pronounced "roo," is another French cooking term! It refers to equal parts of fat and flour that, when cooked, gel together to form a thick base for sauces, stews,soups and gumbo. There are three primary types of roux: light, blonde and dark. Traditional gumbo requires a dark roux, which takes at least 30 minutes to cook, but is the secret to any traditional seafood or chicken gumbo.
If you don't have time to make a homemade roux, I highly recommend Kary's Roux. Kary LaFleur and team make this delicious roux straight out of Villa Platte, Louisiana and it is probably the best Certified Cajun roux on the market. No additives or preservatives, just flour and oil, already cooked to the right color--a huge time-saver for gumbo, stews and etouffées!
What is filé?
Filé powder is ground sassafrass leaves and is used for a hint of added flavor, as well as a garnish for thickening. It tastes kind of like thyme...very earthy. The okra in this recipe will thicken the soup, but if you want a little added flavor, sprinkle some filé powder over the gumbo.
Gumbo vs. Jambalaya vs. Etouffée: What's The Difference?
Without getting too technical, these three popular Louisiana Cajun and Creole dishes are slightly different from one another. Gumbo is a thick stew based on a dark roux, with okra, seafood, sausage or chicken added and served over white rice. Jambalaya is a rice-based dish, almost like a paella, where the protein (usually sausage or chicken) is cooked with the rice and based on a light brown roux. Etouffée is a dish that typically consists of shrimp, crawfish or chicken that is cooked in a blonde roux and served with rice. Etouffée and Jambalaya recipes often include tomato paste, whereas Cajun Gumbo does not include tomatoes, paste or sauce.
Cajun vs. Creole: Cultures and Food
In short, the terms Cajun and Creole refer to cultures of people that immigrated to the United States with mixed colonial ancestry including French, Native American and African American. While both are French, the Creole folks settled in the city (New Orleans) and the Cajun folks settled outside the city.
In regards to food, generally, Creole dishes include tomatoes and multiple spices (rosemary, oregano, basil) where Cajun dishes (as this chicken gumbo recipe) typically do not include tomatoes and make use of seasonings like cayenne peppers and paprika.
You'll find these terms used interchangeably throughout Louisiana, but think of it this way: the Creole folks were "city folk," with access to fine ingredients, whereas the Cajun folks were more "country-folk" with limited access to seasonings and ingredients.
- Saute the onion, bell pepper and celery in the roux; it will be thick, but that's okay
- For a rich flavor, use dark meat
- Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot; you want all that good cooked roux in your dish
- Add okra last; turn the heat to medium low, add okra, cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes
- Use filé as a garnish; never put filé in the gumbo while it's cooking
Gumbo, like many other dishes, is actually better the second day! After refrigeration, the gumbo thickens, so you might add a little more broth or water to thin it. Reheat gumbo on the stove top or in the microwave (covered)--it splatters in the micro!
- Louisiana Seafood Gumbo
- Natchitoches Meat Pie
- French Onion Soup
- Louisiana Shrimp Étouffée
- Mardi Gras Recipes
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New Orleans Cajun Chicken Gumbo
- 2½ lbs. chicken thighs , boneless, skinless
- 2 tablespoons oil , canola or vegetable
- 1 cup yellow onion , medium onion
- 1 cup green bell pepper , medium to large bell pepper
- 1 cup celery , chopped (about 3-4 stalks)
- 8 oz. Kary's Roux (half a jar); or Bootsie's roux
- 48 oz. chicken stock , or chicken broth
- 12 oz. okra , frozen, cut
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 4-6 cups prepared white rice
- salt and pepper to taste
- green onions chopped (for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon ground gumbo file , garnish
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Lightly oil oven-safe baking dish
- Dice onion, celery and bell pepper
- Rinse chopped frozen okra in colander; set aside
- Cook white rice according to package directions; set aside
Cook the Chicken
- Place chicken thighs in baking dish; lightly salt and pepper; cover with foil and bake until internal temperature reaches 165ºF
- Remove skin and bone from chicken thigh; shred meat; set aside
Cook the Holy Trinity (Onion, bell pepper, celery) and Roux
- In a large stockpot, add oil and Holy Trinity; cook 5 minutes
- Add prepared roux to vegetables and mix well; you want the vegetables coated in the roux (See Recipe Notes: Roux)
Assemble the Gumbo
- Add chicken broth to the vegetables and roux; combine well (See Recipe Notes: Broth)
- Add shredded chicken and cayenne pepper to stockpot; (add cayenne pepper in 1 teaspoon increments until you get it as hot as you like)
- Allow gumbo to cook on medium high heat for 5 minutes: add okra; cook on medium heat for 20 minutes covered
- Check consistency of gumbo; if it is too thick, add more chicken broth (See Recipe Notes: Gumbo Too Thin?)
- Plate rice, pour gumbo over rice, sprinkle a little gumbo file powder over dish; garnish with green onions
- Serve with warm French bread
- Roux: pre made roux is a big timesaver! It comes in a 16 oz. jar and you'll use about 1/2 of the jar. The roux is hard to get out of the jar. I use a knife and slice a big X into the roux, then scoop it out with a spoon. Also, use a wooden spoon to break apart the roux once you've added it to the pan. It will begin to liquify as it heats, but I use the spoon to make sure there are no clumps of roux in the gumbo.
- Broth: Add chicken broth/stock in two cup increments; after you add the okra, the gumbo will thicken. If you find it too thick, add more broth.
- Gumbo Too Thin? If your gumbo turns out too thin, either add more roux, or make a water/flour slurry (3 tablespoons flour in 1 cup of warm water); add the slurry to the gumbo to thicken it.
- Freeze up to 3 months in freezer-safe container