Gumbo is by far the most nostalgic recipes that I make these days. It took quite some time to figure out, but it was worth the time and effort it took to get here.
Gumbo is Louisiana’s official state dish and with my Gran being from Lake Charles, it’s no surprise we grew up eating it at least a few times a year. It’s so goooooood! I definitely make gumbo at least a few times a year and it’s actually a lot easier than I thought. Gumbo was one of the last dishes from my childhood that I attempted to recreate, simply because it was incredibly intimidating. Growing up, I didn’t spent a ton of time in the kitchen learning. Of course, now that I am a wife and mother I often wish I had. I did spent a lot of time enjoying the food though! My grandmother was a great cook. I know that she would be proud of this pot of gumbo! Let’s get into the recipe, shall we?
One thing I love about Gumbo is that you can truly make it your own. My version is quite different than my grandmothers, but the base and flavor profile is the same and I always think of her when I take my first spoonful of every pot I make.
Gumbo is going to start with these few components. Your roux, your “trinity” and your stock.
My roux is a mix of butter and oil, but I have had success with all butter and all oil. The thing to note about using 100% butter is that you have to be very careful because butter burns much faster and at a much lower temperate than your oil does, but when you get it right the flavor is phenomenal. I love to use half butter and half oil for flavor and giving me the best chance at not burning my roux. Once the roux is burned, it’s over. Just start over.
The next part of your Gumbo is your “trinity”, which consists of onions, bell peppers and celery. Think of it as the cajun mirepoix. My Gran used green bell peppers, but I like to use both green and red. I particularly love the flavor of red bell peppers, but have seen Gumbo made with yellow bell peppers and even with carrots. I don’t add those things to mine, but make your gumbo your own and make it how you and/or your family likes it.
The last base component is your stock. I am using a good quality vegetable stock, but of course recommend making your own. That is one things I haven’t mastered yet, but as soon as I do I will surely update this post! If you make your own, do share!
Now, let’s talk about the roux!
It took me a while to figure out how far to take my roux. Batch after batch, I always felt like I could go just a bit darker. Many people will compare the color of the perfect roux for gumbo to a penny, some to dark chocolate. I really encourage you to play around with it to find out what you like. The important thing to note is that you never stop stirring during this process. I like to start with a whisk and then switch to a wooden spoon. Below are my stages and it takes me a good 25 minutes on medium to get there.
Adding Your Trinity
Once your roux is where you want it, it’s time to add your veggies. Drop them right in and prepare yourself for the most wonderful aroma you have ever experienced. Stir often for a good 15 minutes or until your vegetables are cooked down a bit and softened.
Adding Your Spices
The spices that I add are pretty traditional where it comes to gumbo and cajun cuisine in general. Thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, black pepper and a couple of bay leaves. We will talk about the filé later.
Next we are going to add in the stock and fish. I am using both cod and salmon than I have cut into cubes.
Now simply cover and allow to simmer and cook for a good 40 minutes to an hour.
Last, but certainly not least, add about 2 teaspoons of your filé and enjoy!
Other recipes you might like!
Seafood (Fish) Gumbo
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 4 stalks celery
- 2 bell peppers one green, one red
- 1 onion large
Stock and Fish
- 2 lbs fish cubed such as salmon, cod, snapper or whiting
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 TBSP thyme dried
- 2 tsp galic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne optional
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp filé
First, make the roux. Heat and melt butter and oil in a large pot and add your flour. Wisk in until incorporated and switch to a wooden spoon. Stir continuously for a good 20-25 minutes or until your roux is dark, but not burned.
Add your chopped onion, celery and peppers and stir well into your roux. Cook until the vegetables are cooked down and soft, for about 15 minutes.
Add in your spices and bay leaves and stir well.
Next, add in your cubed fish and stock and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil and then decrease to medium/low. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes to an hour.
Finish by stirring in 2 teaspoons of filé and serve over rice or with crackers. Enjoy!
You can use all oil if you prefer or all stock.