Gumbo is the most well-known dish of all Cajun meals, and this Chicken Gumbo recipe is the classic version straight from my Momma’s kitchen. It’s easy to follow and makes a delicious pot every time.
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When people find out I’m from south Louisiana the conversation always gravitates toward food. They usually want to know if I cook gumbo. Some even ask if I have a recipe. I used to say, “No, but it’s easy to learn. ” I’ve even told a few people I’d teach them, but somehow we never seem to get around to it.
The Gumbo Recipe
So the other day on the phone I told Mama, “People are always asking me how to cook gumbo so I am going to start a blog just so I can say, ‘Oh, it’s easy just go to my blog and follow the simple recipe.'” She laughed and when I asked her if she would help me put her recipe on paper (or screen) she said, “I can’t, Kay.”
Somehow she didn’t see the need, or maybe putting it online was incomprehensible to her. So I pressed her with questions until she was giving me all of the measurements and steps to a perfect pot of chicken gumbo. She was even saying things like, “…and tell them to do this and not to do that.” By the end of the conversation her voice had perked up and she sounded quite pleased with herself as if she had accomplished a great feat. (Thanks, Momma!)
Then I made a plan.
I gathered every ingredient and called the kids to see if they wanted to come over for supper that night. They all said yes since this was the first gumbo making after the temperature outside had finally dropped. I had taken note of every step and ingredient and it was the best chicken gumbo I had ever made. So here’s the recipe with step-by-step instructions.
A Few Instructions For Making Chicken Gumbo
Here are some tips to making delicious gumbo. One is my baby sister, Virginia, says that using a food processor to chop vegetables instead of by hand makes a gumbo taste different. So I agree it’s best to chop by hand using a very sharp knife, of course!
Another tip is that when making gumbo you get to chop lots of onions so I’ve learned to wear goggles to keep from crying. I got them from Williams Sonoma and they really do work. This makes fewer tears in my life because I hate crying for no good reason, don’t you?
Speaking of chopping, there is one thing I don’t chop anymore, and that’s garlic. Momma gave me a nifty garlic press for Christmas one year. All I do is fill it with an unpeeled garlic clove, squeeze, and instantly tiny bits of garlic appear to flavor the food. Plus, it’s a cool hand exerciser.
Now, I want to encourage you to make your own roux. You can buy it in a jar, but you don’t have to. It’s easy. Use a Cast Iron Pot and take your time. If you happen to burn it just throw it out, clean the pot and start over.
A secret to a richer gumbo is browning the chicken pieces in a little bit of oil in the gumbo pot then remove them. Next, add the broth and water with the roux and vegetables to same pot to simmer with the chicken drippings.
Like most Cajun kitchens we cook with Magnelite Pots which is perfect for cooking gumbos, but you can use any heavy pot. Just make sure it’s large enough to hold every last drop of that rich goodness.
A Roux Story
The first time Momma made a roux was when she and my dad had just moved into their new home after living with her in-laws their first few years of marriage – God bless them all!!!
She was told by her mother-in-law she had to cook a crab stew for dinner for the men working in the fields that day. The noon meal was called dinner and their evening meal supper. After I had married and moved to Mississippi I came home and asked when we were eating lunch and momma said she didn’t eat lunch just dinner and supper. I try not to make that mistake again!
After receiving instructions on what to do my grandma left to do chores at her house. After returning to check on my mother’s progress she took one look in the pot and said, “You burned it! Start over!”
A few more tries and she succeeded. I doubt she’s ever failed at the task since and there probably aren’t many good cooks who haven’t had to throw out a burnt roux or two at some time.
More Gumbo RecipesPrint
2 celery stalks, chopped (1 cup)
1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 cup)
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (approximately 4-pound) fryer cut up with skin removed
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more
2 tablespoons Canola oil
1/2 cup of Canola Oil
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
2 15-ounce cans or 32 ounces unsalted chicken broth
10 cups water
1 pound sliced fresh or smoked pork/beef sausage, optional.
Season chicken pieces with salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.
Brown chicken in a large gumbo pot with 2 tablespoons of Canola oil then take the chicken out of the pot and put back into the bowl.
In a heavy saucepan heat up the rest of the Canola oil until hot then add the flour and brown the flour until it is the color of cocoa powder, keep stirring not to burn the roux.
Put the vegetables into the roux and stir while cooking for a few minutes as they are softened.
Pour roux mixture into the same pot the chicken was browned in and stir the chicken broth and water into the roux mixture allowing it to simmer with the lid on the pot (cracked to release steam) for 30 minutes.
Add the chicken and simmer the gumbo for a half hour.
Add the sausage, if using, and cook for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and tender, but not falling off of the bone.
Serve with rice and a spoonful of potato salad in or beside the gumbo.
Take your time making the roux and if it happens to burn it’s easy to start over.
The smoked sausage adds another layer of flavor, but the classic fresh sausage has a great taste also.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Category: Gumbos, soups, and bisques
- Cuisine: Cajun
Keywords: chicken gumbo
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless,”