Modern gumbo came from Louisiana French culture and cuisine. It is the official state cuisine of Louisiana, although the dish originated in West Africa. Gumbo also has roots in German and Spanish cuisines.

Gumbo usually contains meat or shellfish stock, a thickening ingredient, and vegetables. The "Holy Trinity" of gumbo vegetables include celery, bell peppers, and onions. Different types of gumbo are often named according to their thickening ingredients. Traditional gumbo dishes in Louisiana are thickened with roux, okra, or dried sassafras leaves known as 'filé.'


Roux is made with white flour and fat. Several types of oil and animal fat are used to give roux a rich flavor and thick consistency. Adjust roux recipes for larger or smaller amounts by using equal amounts of oil and flour. A basic roux recipe requires 1-cup of oil or fat and 1-cup of flour. Lard, bacon grease, and vegetable oil are common ingredients.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and slowly add flour while stirring constantly. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and cook the roux for 45 to 60 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning.

roux, gumbo, flour, fat, oil KarpenkovDenis / Getty Images


Five Stages of Cooking Roux

The five stages of cooking roux produce different types and colors. Roux gains flavor as it darkens, but it loses thickening properties in proportion to cooking time. The five stages of roux include:

  • White Roux - White roux cooks for 10-15 minutes. It has the lightest color and thickest consistency.
  • Light Brown Roux - This roux cooks for approximately 40 minutes. It is called 'peanut butter' roux because of the light brown color.
  • Medium Brown Roux - Medium brown roux cooks for 50 to 60 minutes and has a copper hue.
  • Dark Brown Roux - Dark brown, or chocolate, roux cooks for 70 to 80 minutes.
  • Brick Roux - Brick roux has a dark red color and nutty aroma. Brick is the most flavorful roux, but it has very little thickening ability.

five stages, brick, white, flavor karimitsu / Getty Images


Creole Andouille Gumbo Recipe

  • 1 cup roux
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 14 ounces chicken broth
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/2 pound sliced andouille sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups black-eyed peas
  • 1 pound peeled shrimp

Pour the roux into a large cast-iron skillet and heat for 7 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, shredded chicken, and sausage. Increase the heat to bring the gumbo to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, then add peas, onions, peppers, and garlic. Simmer the mixture for 20 minutes, then add the shrimp. Cook everything together until the shrimp turns pink.

sausage, black-eyed peas, shrimp, shredded LauriPatterson / Getty Images


Chicken Gumbo

  • 3 1/2 ounces of rice
  • 2 chicken breast cut in halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups roux
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 cup sliced okra
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Cook and drain the rice, and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Coat a saucepan with cooking spray to saute chicken for 5 minutes. Add the broth and water, then bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes, then remove the chicken. Add the roux, onion, pepper, celery, and garlic to a large skillet to cook for 4 minutes. Shred the cooked chicken. Add the liquid from the saucepan, chicken, okra, and hot sauce to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Serve over rice.

chicken breast, okra, hot sauce izikMd / Getty Images


Gumbo Over Rice

  • 1 cup roux
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced okra
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 minced garlic cloves
  • 14.5 ounces undrained stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked crawfish meat
  • 1 cup crab meat
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 6 cups cooked rice

Saute the roux and diced onions in a large cast-iron skillet for 4 minutes. Slowly stir in the rest of the ingredients, except for the rice, crawfish, and crab. Simmer the gumbo for an hour while stirring frequently. Add the crawfish and crab, then bring gumbo to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Serve the hot gumbo over rice.

rice, crawfish, crab, hot sauce Lara Hata / Getty Images


Fast and Easy Gumbo Recipe

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 pound chopped smoked sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
  • 14 1/2 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili sauce
  • 3/4 pound peeled shrimp
  • 1 cup cooked rice

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet and saute the onions for 2 minutes. Add sausages and cook until sausage is lightly browned. Stir in the peppers and garlic, then add tomatoes and juice, chicken broth, chili sauce, and dry seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and shrimp. Cook everything for 3-4 minutes before serving.

shrimp, chili sauce, fast, easy asiantiger247 / Getty Images


Gumbo Mac and Cheese

  • 14-ounces sliced andouille sausage
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1-quart milk
  • 16 ounces shredded American cheese
  • 3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 16-ounces elbow pasta

Cook the pasta and keep it warm. Cook the sausage in a large skillet until it is lightly brown. Add the bell peppers and saute for 6 minutes, then add flour and Cajun seasoning. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring frequently. Slowly add the milk and cheeses. Let the mixture simmer and stir continuously until it is completely smooth. Serve the gumbo over pasta.

elbow pasta, macaroni, cheese, gumbo, MSPhotographic / Getty Images


Spicy Sausage Gumbo Recipe

  • 2 cups dark brown roux
  • 2 medium-sized diced onions
  • 3 diced celery stalks
  • 1 sliced green bell pepper
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 4 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 gumbo crabs
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 3 links sliced and browned andouille sausage
  • 1 pound peeled shrimp
  • 1 pound cooked, shredded chicken
  • filé powder

Heat the onions, celery, bell peppers, and roux in a large pot on high heat. Add the garlic, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring the gumbo to a boil. Add the crabs and simmer for approximately 45 minutes, then add sausage and cook for 1 hour. Stir in the shrimp and chicken, and cook 15 to 20 more minutes. Serve gumbo over rice and top with filé powder.

andouille sausage, thyme, rice, file pamela_d_mcadams / Getty Images


Mushroom Gumbo

  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 2 cups chopped okra
  • 1 diced green bell pepper
  • 1 large minced red chile
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup of rice
  • 2 chopped white potatoes
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup canned white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup canned red kidney beans, rinsed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt

Saute the oil, celery, mushrooms, and onions in a large skillet for 7 minutes. Add okra, green peppers, chile, garlic, and cumin, and saute another 4 minutes. Stir in the rice, potatoes, and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the skillet and simmer on low heat for 40 minutes. Add beans, parsley, and salt, then heat the gumbo for 3 minutes. Serve with cornbread.

mushroom, corn bread, rice, potatoes MSPhotographic / Getty Images


Vegetarian Gumbo

  • 2 cup dark brown roux
  • 2 sliced red bell pepper
  • 2 diced celery stalks
  • 1 small diced white onion
  • 1 cup chopped okra
  • 5 minced garlic cloves garlic
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 small head of cauliflower - chopped into florets
  • 16 ounces diced button mushrooms
  • 14 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • sea salt and black pepper

Heat the roux in a large skillet and stir in bell peppers, celery, onion, garlic, and okra. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth slowly, then add cauliflower, tomatoes, mushrooms and cayenne powder. Season with salt and black pepper according to personal taste. Reduce heat and let the gumbo simmer for 10 minutes. Serve the gumbo over rice.

vegetarian gumbo, cauliflower, vegetable stock jaboticaba / Getty Images


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