It all started with my Mama's gumbo recipe!

Chicken Gumbo, Simply Classic Cajun

Chicken Gumbo, Simply Classic Cajun

Chicken Gumbo

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 Recipe

So the other day on the phone I told my 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.” 

That’s her way of saying she didn’t learn that way so she doesn’t see the need, or maybe putting it on line 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, Mama!)

I then 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 I was making since the temperature outside had dropped. It turned out to be the best gumbo I think I have ever made.  So here’s the recipe with more instructions after it.

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Chicken Gumbo

Bowl of Chicken Gumbo with a scoop of rice and potato salad in it

Gumbo is the most common dish of all Cajun meals and this Chicken Gumbo recipe is the classic version straight from my Mama’s kitchen. It’s easy to follow and comes out delicious every time.

  • Author: Louisiana Woman
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

2 celery stalk

1 large onion

4 garlic cloves, pressed

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 unsalted chicken broth

6 cups water

1 pound sliced smoked beef sausage, optional

Instructions

Chop the celery and onion up and set aside with the garlic.

Season chicken pieces 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 and do not burn the roux.

Place the roux into the same pot the chicken was browned in.

Add the vegetable mixture to the roux and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are clear.

Stir the chicken broth and water into the roux mixture and simmer with the lid on the pot 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.

Notes

Take your time making the roux and if it happens to burn it’s easy to start over.

Chicken Gumbo

More Instructions

My sister, Virginia, (she’s the baby) says to chop by hand and don’t use a food processor because it makes the vegetables taste different. Mama agrees so I chop by hand using eye goggles. I got them at a kitchen store because I hate crying for no good reason. It really does make a difference. No tears!

Mama gave me a garlic press for Christmas one year and I never chop garlic anymore. It’s super easy.

This is my Ma Ma’s gumbo pot, but you can use any heavy pot. Just make sure its large enough.

When making a roux take your time. If you happen to burn it just throw it out, clean the pot and start over.

Chicken Gumbo

The first time my mama made a roux was when she and my dad had just moved into their new home.  They were 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 my mamma said she didn’t eat lunch just dinner and supper. I try not to make that mistake again.

After receiving instructions of what to do my grandma left to take care of chores at her house. When she returned 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. 

Chicken Gumbo

Chicken Gumbo

So here it is, a classic Cajun chicken gumbo! Enjoy it with rice and a scoop of potato salad – and yes, I eat my potato salad in my gumbo!

Bowl of Chicken Gumbo with a scoop of rice and potato salad in it.

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless,”

Mother Teresa.

 



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