Monday, June 18, 2012

Shrimp, Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo

Oh yeah, baby - let the bon temps rouler! Nothing hits the spot more than a steaming hot  bowl of seafood gumbo, even on an exceptionally hot (98F) June day here in SoCal. When it comes to gumbo, it's all about the roux and it's also all about the stock. The roux, which is basically equal parts flour and oil, must be cooked down until it's quite dark in color (like the color of coffee or a dark toffee), to impart a deep, smoky-nutty flavor to the gumbo. Equally important is the stock you use. For years I've always used low-sodium chicken stock plus some water and flavoring it with a bit of liquid smoke. But, after reading through Emeril Lagasses' gumbo recipe in his cookbook Emeril's Delmonico: A Restaurant with a Past, I decided to make a shrimp stock instead by cooking down shrimp shells, carrots, celery, black peppercorns & bay leaves in water, and that was the ticket to a really rich, authentic-tasting gumbo.

My version of seafood gumbo usually includes shrimp, andouille sausage, chicken, and the untraditional ingredient of artificial crab meat. While some may frown on the idea of using "Krab" rather than "Crab," I've found it to be a really versatile ingredient (it's made from white fish and has a mild flavor) that actually improves the flavor of the stock. But, by all means, if you're a purist, you can skip this ingredient altogether. Oh, and btw, I'm a "file" kinda gal - no okra in my gumbo...

Shrimp Stock:
Shells from 2 lbs. of shrimp, rinsed
2 small carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 gallon (16 cups) water

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium stock pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered for 1 hour, skimming surface occasionally of any foam that may rise to the top.

2. Reduce stock down to about 10 cups. Let stock cool, remove bay leaves, then cover & let mixture steep for at least 3-4 hours, or preferably overnight in the frig.

3. Strain the stock through a strainer and set aside.

Roux: 1 cup flour + 1 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. flour
6 stalks celery, chopped
2 yellow or red onions, diced
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
10 cups shrimp stock
2 bottles clam juice
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 bay leaves
12 oz. Andouille or other spicy sausage (I like Aidell's 4-pack), sliced
8 oz. package of artificial crab meat
2 lbs. shrimp, shelled & deveined
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-2" pieces
1 tbsp. gumbo file (ground sassafras leaves)
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Steamed white rice
*Optional: Sea Scallops (cut into halves or thirds), crab (the real stuff), and/or fish such as  Mahi Mahi or cod.

1. Blend flour and oil in a large Dutch oven or cast iron pot over medium-high heat (a whisk works nicely). Switch over to a wooden spoon and stir constantly until roux turns a deep rich brown in color (takes about 10 minutes).

2. Add chopped celery, onions, bell peppers & garlic and cook until vegetables are wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp. of flour (will help to thicken the gumbo).

3. Add the shrimp stock & clam juice and bring mixture up to a boil. Stir in sausage, artificial crab, chicken, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper & bay leaves. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook partially covered for 1 hour.

4. Stir in gumbo file. Place shrimp (and scallops, if using) in a strainer and place into gumbo mixture for 2-3 minutes until they just turn pink; remove and set aside in a separate bowl. Unless you're serving the entire pot of gumbo right away, I found it best to poach the shrimp quickly, put them in a separate bowl, then add them as needed to each individual serving. If you leave the shrimp or scallops sitting in the gumbo, they'll taste like rubber by the next day.

5. Serve gumbo hot with steamed white rice on the side and garnished with a bit of chopped parsley.


Rinse shrimp shells under cold tap water.

Add celery, carrots, onion, bay leaves, salt, thyme, pepper & 1 gallon of water to the shrimp shells.

Bring stock up to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 1 hour, uncovered, skimming foam off the top as needed.

Let stock cool and sit at least 3-4 hours or preferably overnight in the frig. Strain out the solids and set the stock aside until ready to use.

Since our Italian Marconi peppers were so prolific this year, I used them instead of the standard bell peppers for this batch of gumbo.

Diced peppers, onion, celery (the trinity) and minced garlic.

Cooking down the roux.

Roux has turned a deep coffee color.

Cook the veggies in the roux until wilted. Stir in 1 tbsp. of flour into the mixture. 

Andouille sausage.

Andouille sausage, sliced.

Imitation crab meat.

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

Bottled clam juice.

Gumbo file & cayenne pepper.

After gumbo has simmered for an hour, add 1 tbsp. of gumbo file.

Place the shrimp in a strainer and dip into the gumbo. Poach for 2-3 minutes until the shrimp just turn pink. Remove the cooked shrimp to a separate bowl.

Ladle gumbo into individual serving bowls, add a few shrimp to each bowl, and garnish with some fresh parsley. 


  1. Okay okay I see, no wonder you were up so late publishing all these delicious stories.

    I've shown my wife these recipies, but she hasn't made any yet, We just had a bunch of friends over and created a huge Mediterranean Food buffet (Greek/Croatien/Lebanese). It was great.

    Northern European food is so bland.



    1. Wow, Kevin - Greek/Croatian/Lebanese sounds awesome! Your wife must be a great cook!