In 2011 I moved to Delhi, Louisiana with my then boyfriend. We took I don’t know how many buses over the span of 2 days to arrive in his small hometown. I still think it’s crazy I went from Delhi, NY to Delhi, Louisiana. Anyway while I was down there I had some of the best southern food. I mean who doesn’t love southern food but homemade with love. We had Po boys, Gumbo, Iced box lemon cake (J’s favorite) and lots of barbecue. I almost felt like I belonged. I met his family and we all got along. We were young and it didn’t last long before I returned to NY, but I will always remember that time.
After returning I was craving gumbo like crazy. Did not help I was soon pregnant as well. I searched all over for a perfect recipe to satisfy my craving, even going so far as to ask his mom but she didn’t have one. (The neighbor was the one that had made the gumbo). So I continued to search until I found Little Spice Jar’s Recipe New Orleans Gumbo with Shrimp. It was like a dream come true. I kept making it over and over again, each time changing it more so it’s exactly how we like. After Matthew was born and old enough to eat it, I put much less spice in as he’s not a big fan of spicy. So I always recommend the minimum when feeding kids, if it’s for adults. Well go for it.
Let’s first start with Mise en Place, which is french for everything has its place. It’s a culinary term to make sure you prep your ingredients ahead of time. Especially if you are new to a recipe, like this one, it’s time sensitive. But this is good (as well as important) to do with every recipe you come across. Mistakes happen when your not prepared. Trust me when I say I’ve mixed or missed ingredients. That can be detrimental to why your food doesn’t come out like it should.
Secondly I want to cover what Roux is. Roux is the mixture of a fat (butter, oil) with flour. It’s used to make sauces which in Gumbo it’s the base to how thick or thin you will want your Gumbo. In Louisiana it’s thin like a soup. I prefer mine more like a broth so I make it thicker with more flour. So depending on what you want you can always add more.
The third thing that I want to cover, which will lead directly into the fourth. It’s Sassafras . You will see I don’t list it in the ingredients because the spice combos I use have it in it. Sassafras is a spice that comes from West Africa, but it now grows in parts of North America and is also referred to as Filé powder.
History of Gumbo
Our last and final note before we get cooking is that Gumbo not only varies in the state of Lousiana from tomatoes, seafood, Sausage or chicken added but there are a lot of influences of different cultures like the french, Spanish and West African influences. However through my own research, I’ve learned that Gumbo (which translates to okra in Africa) first began when Slaves were owned on plantations in the south. The first records known are from 1764.
You can also check out our beignet recipe. This dish is perfect for a movie night for Princess and the Frog.
Gumbo with Shrimp and Sausage
- a big pot
- A little pot
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- Bowls or plates for mise en place
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour if you like a thicker base then add more flour (1/4 C- 1/2c)
- 2 diced pepper color doesn’t make that much of a difference in this dish, I switch up from yellow, green and red. I go with what is cheapest
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 6 cloves garlic diced
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 links Andouille Sausage I do an entire package, sometimes I add more. If you don’t like spicy you can change the type of sausage
- 1 tbsp Cajun I prefer the Creole Seasoning brand
- 16 oz Chicken broth I do the low sodium
- 14.5 oz stewed tomatoes or 1 can
- 1 1/2 pounds raw peeled shrimp take the tails off before adding it in (you can add more at a later time just give it about 15 minutes to cook)
- 2 tsp Gumbo Filé all purpose spice is an okay substitute
- start with Mise en place your ingredients. Meaning get everything diced and ready to go before you begin
- In a large pot, or Dutch oven, start with pouring the vegetable oil and flour in on a medium heat. Continuesly stir for 3-5 minutes until it’s a thicker consistency. If you want your end result to be more like a broth consistency you will want to add more flour
- Add the onions, peppers, and celery. Cook for 8- 10 minutes, continue to stir so they don’t stick to the bottom
- Add the garlic, sausage and bay leaves. Stir for 2 minutes
- Add the chicken broth, and stewed tomatoes, Bring it to a simmer before lowering the heat to a medium to low. Allow it so Simmer for 15 minutes covered.
- Add the shrimp, Gumbo Filé and Cajun seasoning. If you don’t like spicy you don’t need to add a lot allow it to simmer for 15 minutes
- In the other pot, cook rice or quinoa per directions. We prefer Quinoa but rice is popular and traditional in Lousiana.
- Remove bay leaves before serving