My dad was making huge pots of gumbo long before I was born.
It is a part of his legacy that his children know what a good bowl of gumbo taste like, and better yet how to make one. There are a few different ways to make gumbo, so let me preface by saying this recipe is a combination of several recipes. Being from Lake Charles, he was a firm believer that there is no wrong way to make gumbo as long as it ain’t from a jar, box, or seasoning packet. Feel free to change some of the ingredients and experiment with what works for you. Every pot of gumbo I make is inspired by Big Daddy’s Cajun Cuisine. May he rest in Cajun peace.
- 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
- Several stalks of celery, chopped
- 1-2 green bell peppers, chopped
*Fun fact: onion, celery, and bell peppers are known as the Cajun trinity.
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
- one bottle of amber beer, I like Abita
- 1 lb of shrimp, with peelings on
- a package of crawfish
- 1-2 containers of raw oysters, do not drain
- shrimp stock (see below) or 4- 6 cups of chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon of dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Tony’s seasonings
- couple drops of Worshister sauce
- green onions, chopped
- salt and pepper
Note: To make shrimp stock, boil the shrimp peelings in about 8 cups of water; Or use about 4 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water with a cap full of crab and shrimp boil (I made this up, but it works well)
First, if you’re making your own shrimp stock, peel the shrimp and save the peelings. Put them in a pot and boil with about 8 cups of water. Take the peelings out and set aside the stock.
In your gumbo pot, add a little oil and drop in your veggies with your garlic. This is a little something my family does different. While your veggies are sweating get ready to make your roux.
To make the roux, eat up the oil on the stove top for a few minutes, then add the flour. Don’t do too much while making roux. It burns easy. Stir, stir, stir. It takes about 20 minutes of stirring. While your stirring the roux, stir the veggies.
I like light roux for seafood gumbo and dark roux for most other meaty gumbos. I cook the roux until it is a little darker than carmel. Then, add it to your vegetables. Stir and mix for a few minutes. Then add the bottle of beer. (This is something I added to my own recipe after I’d been making gumbo for a while. It is optional).
Slowly, add about half of your shrimp stock. Or add about half of your chicken broth and half of the water with the cap full of crab and shrimp boil. Add the bay leaves and let boil for about 10 minutes, then turn down heat to low-medium to cook for about 15 minutes. Add the rest of the juice, shrimp stock or the alternative. Continue to stir and cook down. Add the Worshister sauce, Tony’s seasonings, salt and pepper. Cook for another 30 minutes or so.
While the base is cooking, mix all seafood together in big bowl with their juices. Add salt, pepper, Tony’s, and green onions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to add to gumbo.
After close to an hour of cooking the base, turn down on low, and taste the broth. Add seasonings if necessary. Add seafood and onions with juices to the gumbo and cover. Cook on low about 3 minutes. Check shrimp to make sure they are done and turn the stove off.
The gumbo is ready. Serve over rice and enjoy!
Side note: I never eat my gumbo the same day I made it. I let it cool down and put in the fridge with the lid on. I make my rice the next day and heat up the gumbo. It’s always best a day or two later!