Few dishes are more comforting than a warm bowl of gumbo. Read on to learn how to make the best batch ever.
1. Don’t turn your back on the roux
Every good gumbo starts with mixture of butter and flour called a roux. In this case, we’re cooking the roux until it has a golden color, which can take about 10 minutes. In this time, you should be stirring somewhat constantly. It’s very easy to burn a roux, and if you do then you have to start over.
2. Choose your shrimp wisely
You might be wondering why we call for shrimps with the tails on. Though it won’t make or break your gumbo, shrimp shells have SO much flavor, so we always prefer to keep them on. If eating tail-on shrimp is not your thing, don’t think twice about leaving them out. In terms of size, it doesn’t really matter how big your shrimp are, as long as you’re keeping a close eye on them as they cook. As soon as they turn opaque, they’re done. Overcooking shrimp is super easy, so it’s important to watch carefully so you don’t end up with chewy shrimp. And as always, make sure you’re buying sustainably—The Monterey Bay Aquarium has an amazing guide that can walk you through purchasing shrimp ethically.
3. Andouille or bust
Some recipes that call for sausage will give you options. Subbing in a spicy Italian for a hot Italian sausage, or a chicken sausage for a pork sausage is totally fine. This is not the case with gumbo—you really need andouille. It provides a very specific flavor associated with gumbo, so try your hardest to find it.
If you can’t find andouille anywhere, there are ways to substitute the flavor. Start with ground pork, and mix in cajun spices. Since andouille is double smoked, try adding a little liquid smoke to the mix. We’d start small, 1/2 teaspoon should do it.
4 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 small yellow onion
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1 tbsp. cajun seasoning (without salt)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (15-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 c. chicken broth
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 green onions, sliced
cooked white rice, for serving
In a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter, then add flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until dark caramel colored, about 10 minutes.
Add onions, peppers, and celery, and stir until softened, about 5 minutes more. Stir in garlic and sausage, then season with Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in bay leaf, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add shrimp. Once shrimp is pink and cooked through, taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in green onions, reserving some for garnish.
Serve spooned on top of white rice.