For most, gumbo typifies New Orleanian cajun-creole food, with an ingredient list including many of its most identifiable hallmarks: andouille sausage, the holy trinity (onions, celery, and green bell pepper), and Tony’s, among others. Its name is derived from a West African word for okra, but in terms of technique it’s very French—a carefully developed roux lays the foundation for flavor, and the holy trinity is really just a modified mirepoix. Both here and in the recipe for seafood gumbo, the Dutch Oven’s heavy construction protects your roux from scorching and allows the ingredients to meld together slowly for the deepest flavor. If you’d like to save time, you may use the shredded meat from a rotisserie chicken (about 4 cups) and 8 cups store-bought low-sodium chicken broth.
Note: This recipe was developed using Diamond Crystal kosher salt. If using Morton’s, reduce salt by half.
Humble ingredients, West African roots, and French technique come together in one of Louisiana’s most iconic and delicious culinary masterpieces.
Made In Kitchen
Discard fat and wipe out Pot. Add chicken with juices back to Pot. Using a Chef Knife, quarter 1 onion and add to Pot (can leave onion skin on). Slice 2 celery stalks into thirds and add to Pot. Add peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, and 12 cups water to Pot.
Bring to a brief boil then lower heat, add 1 Tbsp. salt, and gently simmer uncovered until chicken is cooked through and broth is flavorful, 35–40 minutes. Let cool, then strain over a large bowl or another pot, reserving liquid and chicken. Chill broth until ready to use.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin. Separate chicken from bones and tear into bite-size pieces; set aside. (Reserve bones for future stock.) You should have about 4 cups shredded chicken.
Heat 1 cup oil in a large Dutch Oven over medium-high. Add flour and whisk almost constantly using a silicone whisk or wooden spoon. Lower heat to medium after flour starts to sizzle. Continue to cook, stirring, adjusting heat if necessary, until a dark reddish brown color (like a dark peanut butter) is achieved, 35–40 minutes. Do not burn your roux or your gumbo will have a bitter taste.
Add okra to same Skillet with a pinch of salt and sauté until browned and softened, 15–20 minutes for fresh okra and 10–15 minutes for frozen okra. Remove and reserve.
Once desired roux color is achieved, quickly stir bell pepper, remaining 2 cups onion, and ½ cup celery, and a pinch of salt into roux to halt cooking process and prevent color from getting too dark. Adjust heat if necessary and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened and translucent and starting to stick to bottom, 5–7 minutes.
Working quickly, stream 8 cups of chilled broth into hot vegetable and roux mixture, whisking to incorporate broth into roux (reserve remaining broth). Stirring constantly, bring Pot to a low boil over medium-high, then lower heat to medium. Skim any fat that rises to surface. Add chicken,, andouille, okra, and remaining 2 bay leaves. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes, stirring and skimming occasionally.
Stir in ½ cup chopped parsley and ½ cup sliced scallions. If gumbo appears too thick, add more broth to adjust. Add Cajun seasoning, cayenne, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 5–10 minutes more. Skim if necessary.
Remove Pot from heat. Serve with rice, remaining parsley and scallions, and hot sauce, if desired.