It’s Gumbo Tiiiime!
Welcome to the part in the story where you start making things like GUMBO on the weekend because you are a lover of spicy things and because you are starting to work on being well-prepared for a week’s worth of meals. Spicy, creamy, made-from-scratch, slow-simmered gumbo’s got your back and you will be better because of it.
In this big mishmash of a gumbo bowl, we’ve got:
- carrots, onions, celery, garlic + olive oil to start
- canned tomatoes + broth + spices simmered to perfection
- a creamy flour-butter-milk roux to create the lush gravy-like texture
- andouille sausage + shrimp + chives or other herbs for the flavor punch
All of that served over a pile of steamy rice – if you’re going for the gold, healthy brown rice or quinoa is delicious, too – and topped with some little micro greens or sautéed spinach.
You might as well just go ahead and open a restaurant in your house right now.
Gumbo is kind of a weird recipe for me to be making on Pinch of Yum, but truthfully, Pinch of Yum generally revolts against any of my pre-planned recipe ideas and seems to glob on to the more scrappy, last minute ones. Which is how we find ourselves here with a big bowl of gumbo in front of us. Not even complaining.
The first time I had gumbo was when we went to New Orleans last year. Er, I think I had it? I can’t even remember. I know I had étouffée – how similar are these things? Someone please educate me, and by educate I definitely do mean buy me a ticket back to New Orleans so I can eat my way to such high levels of knowledge.
We were celebrating birthdays with my family a few weeks ago when my mom lifted the lid on her soup pot and stirred something super delicious-looking and told me it was gumbo. GUMBO, you say? I peered in at this huge pot of liquid gold situation and thought: I know nothing abut this // I MUST MAKE THIS. I interrogated mom about how she made it, studied her printed-off recipe (s/o to Food Network), and then, a few days later when I couldn’t hold myself back any longer, I made my own version of gumbo right in my very own kitchen.
Here’s the thing – I am not from the South (this is where they eat gumbo, right? omg I’m so sorry that I’m this embarrassing) and I did not follow any sort of strict anything other than my hungry stomach in order to make this *true* gumbo and so I’m so very sorry if I’m offending any purists here.
What I did: thought back to mom’s printed-off recipe, thought about what I wanted in my gumbo, polled the Snapchat audience for support on the does-gumbo-need-okra question (y’all say no), and then just went for it.
We’re coming for you, Gumbo!
I’m calling this WEEKEND gumbo because a) it’s more interesting, and b) it really wants you to make it on the weekend.
This guy is going to be a gift that keeps on giving once you’ve really let all those flavors get happy together. And friends. That doesn’t happen in 30 minutes between a quick trip to the gym and your nighty binge of Netflix.
No, this is one for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
We’re talking about slowly cutting up all the vegetables and letting things simmer for a good hour or so, and maybe even keeping the whole pot on low for another hour afterwards once the roux, andouille, and shrimp have been added because that andouille really packs a flavor punch, and then leaving everything a little while longer in the fridge so it’s ready for future lunch / dinner / freezer meal awesomeness throughout the week and just completely overloaded with delicious, slow-simmered weekend flavor. It’s the only way we do things, right?
I can smell your weekend house right now and it is REALLY GOOD.
- a quick swish of olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 hot peppers like serrano or jalapeño, minced
- 4 cups mirepoix*
- 2 cups additional chopped veggies (optional)
- 3 tablespoons cajun seasoning mix
- 1 28-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 12 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
- 1 lb. raw tail-off shrimp
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup flour
- 2 cups milk or chicken broth
- heavy pinch of salt
- VEGETABLES: Heat the oil in a big, deep pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, hot peppers, mirepoix, and vegetables. Saute for 10 minutes or so until it's all soft and fragrant.
- BASE: Add the tomatoes, broth, and spices. Bring to a low boil; reduce heat and simmer for an hour or so for the best flavor.
- ROUX: Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and let it all bubble in the pan for a few minutes. Add the milk or broth a little bit at a time, whisking to incorporate it and make it smooth. Season with salt.
- FINISH: Add the roux to the gumbo pot and stir to combine. Simmer for a little longer over low heat or just let it all hang out for a while to help the flavor develop. Stir in the sausage and raw shrimp. When shrimp is pink (fully cooked), stir in a handful of chives and serve over brown rice, red quinoa, white rice, or just by itself. It's that good. Remember: make sure to season with salt! This will vary per individual recipe based on your cajun seasoning mix.
*Other vegetables - I made ours with and without. You could use okra, sweet potato, bell peppers...
*Cajun spices: A pre-made mix works great. This is a good one - it doesn't have MSG. Otherwise you can make your own easily with pantry spices. If your mix does NOT have salt, be sure to season with salt generously at the end!
*Sausage: Any brand works, but Aidells is my favoritebecause 1) it's cleaner than most - no weird ingredients, and 2) it packs the HEAT.
If you add the shrimp too soon in the cooking process, it shrinks up into tiny little shrimpy-things that get really tough. Don't do that.
This makes GREAT leftovers which is why I consider it a perfect weekend recipe! I stored leftovers in the fridge for a few days, but it freezes well too.
Reminder: Thanks for all your tips and expertise in the comments. Just as a friendly reminder, this recipe is my take on gumbo and it is not necessarily supposed to be traditional or authentic. I used a creamy butter / flour / milk roux mixture to make it a little bit creamy, and I did not use okra, and I used a chicken andouille sausage, etc. etc. Not traditional, I know, I know, and it’s TOTALLY DELICIOUS! I hope you like it!