Gumbo. One of my favorite meals of all time. Especially in the summer, sitting outside with an ice-cold drink, eating a spicy, filling bowl of gumbo. It is also one of my daughter’s favorites, and it is the only way I can get her in the kitchen to cook. Oh yeah, she cooked the best gumbo recipe ever, not me.
Isn’t it funny how things taste better when someone else makes them?
Full of chicken, sausage, okra, and veggies…and of course, a well browned roux and a very special seasoning.
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Rachel’s Best Gumbo Recipe
Before you even start making gumbo, get everything ready. Once you get to the process of making roux, you are trapped at the pot. Making gumbo magic.Before you even start making gumbo, get everything ready. Once you get to the process of making roux, you are trapped at the pot. Making gumbo magic.Click To Tweet
We started with the “Holy Trinity” of Cajun cooking: celery, bell peppers, and onions. Can’t make the best gumbo recipe without these vegetables. I mean, I suppose you COULD….but why would you want to?
Chop everything up, or in this case, have your child do it. 🙂
For our meat, we used shredded cooked chicken and browned smoked sausage. (We have a family member or two that is allergic to certain seafood. If making gumbo for a crowd, it is probably best to stick with chicken and sausage.)
TAILGATE TIP: When you slice smoked sausage, cut the slices in half. When you cook them up, they shrink into little football shaped pieces.
Once you have your veggies and meats ready for the gumbo recipe, have all the ingredients (tomatoes, broth, beer, okra, seasonings, etc.) ready to go.
Get a big pot. No, it doesn’t have to be as big as this one, but we only make gumbo in THIS pot. Why? It is a heavy-duty aluminum pot with a thick bottom. We are cooking oil and flour and we don’t want it to burn. This thick bottomed pot does a great job at keeping an even temperature.
You can also use a thick bottomed cast iron pot.
Ok, here comes one of the essential items to master when making a terrific gumbo recipe. It isn’t about just throwing things together in a pot. You have to master this part for it to taste right.
Here is Rachel’s face when she found out she would be stirring the roux for over 15 minutes.
Yep. Over medium(ish) heat, whisk together the oil and flour. And keep whisking. Don’t stop.
Like…not even for a second. I suggest keeping the heat on the low side of medium, to prevent burning.
This is THE most important step. You want to keep whisking constantly, until the flour cooks into a deep reddish color.
The longer you cook it, the deeper the color and flavor. If you burn it, and start seeing flecks of black…you have burned the roux and have to start all over.
So, easy does it, slow and steady, and keep whisking for 15-20 minutes until you get the desired color.
Then add the celery, peppers, onions and garlic to the flour and stir and cook. The mixture will be very thick, but you want to cook the veggies until they start to get soft.
(This is Rachel’s happy face. Things are starting to smell good!)
Add chicken broth and stir, then add the beer, tomatoes, bay leaf. Stir to combine, then add the chicken, sausage and okra. Bring to a boil, and add the rice. Reduce heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes before tasting.
Here comes the special seasoning. The reason this gumbo recipe is so good. SoLa Seasoning. Rachel insisted we use this. We had tried it a few nights before in a bean and sausage skillet meal we made, and everyone loved the flavors. We knew it would be perfect for Rachel’s Best Gumbo Recipe.
SoLa Seasoning uses sea salt, and the difference in flavor from salt-based seasonings is like night and day. Where some seasoning mixes fall flat, the sea salt and premium blend of spices in SoLa Seasonings adds another level of flavor to your Cajun recipes.
You know how you sometimes get a Cajun seasoning mix that is too hot? Just for the sake of being hot? Or too salty? (This is usually the problem.) Not SoLa.
SoLa Seasonings is a special recipe developed by Susan Pincus, a native of Louisiana. She has spent 30 years perfecting her blend. In our family’s opinion, she has nailed it. (There is also a low-sodium option available in a 32 ounce size.)
Once you have added your seasonings (see our recipe for amounts), stir and let it simmer another 15 minutes. Then taste again. Scoop some out in a bowl and get a full bite. Season more to your taste. (However, our Rachel did a great job of combining the perfect amount of SoLa Cajun seasoning with our other spices for a perfect balance.)
Cook for 15-45 minutes, or as long as you can stand it …and then serve with crackers, hot rice, and your favorite hot sauce. Killer recipe. Great job, Rachel!
Rachel’s Gumbo Recipe
- 4 cups cooked chicken shredded or chopped
- 1 lb smoked sausage sliced and browned (or kielbasa, andouille, etc)
- 5 celery stalks chopped
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 green bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 12 oz beer any
- 24 oz package of frozen okra or 3-4 cups of fresh
- 1/2 cup dry rice not the instant kind
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 TB minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 TB Franks Red Hot sauce
- 2 tsp SoLa Cajun Seasoning
- 1 tsp Adobo seasoning
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
Chop and prepare all vegetables and meat. Set aside.
In a large stock pot, combine flour and oil over medium heat. Cook and whisk constantly for about 15-20 minutes, until the mixture is a brownish red. If you burn it or see any black specks, you must start over.
Once the oil and flour roux is the desired color, stir in the garlic and celery, peppers, and onions. Cook and stir the vegetables for 5 minutes.
Slowly add the chicken broth, and stir. Add the tomatoes, beer, water, and bay leaves. Stir to combine well.
Add the pre-cooked chicken, browned smoked sausage, and okra. Stir and bring to a boil. Add the rice, stir, and reduce to a simmer.
Simmer for 15 minutes, then add the hot sauce, paprika, crushed red pepper, Adobo, hot sauce, and SoLa Cajun Seasoning.
Combine well, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Taste, reseason if needed. Simmer for 15-45 minutes (to your desired consistency). Remove the bay leaves.
Serve with crackers, hot rice, and additional hot sauce.