Do you know why Gumbo is called gumbo? It’s because of the okra! I believe it’s the West African word for okra. So a gumbo can’t be a gumbo without okra. Isn’t that interesting?
The other thing that makes a gumbo unique is a roux. A roux is simply flour & fat (butter or oil) cooked on the stovetop until it gets to the right color. There are all different colors of roux from blond to a dark roux. To make a roux you have to be SUPER patient. I don’t tend to be this way…. that’s why before this I had only made gumbo once in my life and it was an all day long painful experience.
I promise. I won’t do that to you today! This is a recipe that is GREAT for Sunday afternoon cooking BUT what’s great about it is it makes so much, it will last you the week.
I used a dutch oven for this recipe. Mine is a cast-iron, ceramic glazed one so it cooks evenly. If you don’t have one of these here’s my favorite…. Click Here
2 tablespoons avocado oil
3 – 12 ounce packages chicken sausage (andouille is a great option), sliced
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste
3/4 cup Tapioca Starch/Flour
1/3 cup Coconut Oil
12 Cups Chicken broth or Bone broth
2 teaspoons Cajun Spice Blend (I used Old Bay Low Sodium)
1 teaspoon dried Thyme or 2 sprigs fresh
2 Bay Leaves
1 pound okra (I used mini frozen, but sliced is great too)
1 pound peeled & deveined shrimp (OPTIONAL)
1/3 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Set the heat to medium and add avocado oil to the pot. Once heated add the chopped onions & celery & a bit of salt. Cook until almost translucent.
Add the garlic & cook for a minute or so more. Then remove from the pan, set to the side & make sure to get all the bits out so they don’t burn over the next few steps.
Add the sliced sausage to the pan & cook until it’s a bit browned. Remove and set to the side.
Now you’re going to work on the roux so make sure you don’t have any bits in the pan that could burn & ruin the whole thing.
Lower the heat to the lowest setting & add the coconut oil & tapioca starch to the pan. Once the coconut oil is melted it should look like wet sand. If it’s too soupy, add tapioca, if it’s too dry, add coconut oil.
You’re goal is to get to a blond roux. So just stir the roux until it starts turning a bit brown. The darker you get it, the more flavor it will impart to the gumbo so if you have patience to keep going, go for it. Just don’t burn it!! Then you’ll have to start all over again.
Once the roux is at the correct color, stir in the stock/broth making sure to keep stirring the entire time you are adding it so you don’t have any lumps.
Add the sausage, veggies, seasonings & okra. Cook about 10-15 minutes until the seasonings have melded & the okra is cooked through.
If you are using the shrimp you can add it in at this point & cook for a few minutes until opaque.
Pull it from the stove, stir in the parsley, lemon juice & serve!