Food: Carissa’s Famous Gumbo!

A little history| Gumbo has been a Louisiana tradition for over a century and is also a family tradition. Both sets of my grandparents are from Louisiana. Back in the day, a family would whip up a huge pot of gumbo and invite other family members and friends over to fellowship. Sharing a pot of gumbo was a sign of love. A pot of gumbo then became a revered as social activity and not just a simple meal. When a pot was made in the community the word would travel fast and soon it would be a dinner party! Gumbo is enjoyed year round but a big pot of traditional gumbo also marks the change of seasons… fall and/or winter. There is nothing like a delicious bowl of hot gumbo on a cold day. Or stepping into a warm home after being outdoors in the cold and the aroma hits you and sweeps you off your feet.

A traditional made-from-scratch gumbo takes about 4 hours to prep and cook. Gumbo is not considered soup in creole culture. The juice of the gumbo is not considered gravy. The impeccable liquid inside of a bowl of gumbo is referred to as the Roux (pronounced “Roo”). It looks simple but is comprised of many wonderful components and when prepared correctly, yields immaculate flavor! Don’t be intimidated by the ingredients list, just be prepared. Allow for time, budget and patience when attempting this 100% from scratch recipe. Average cost is around $50 but a big pot can feed many and even possibly… change lives.

Ingredients (Serves 6-10 people)

  • 1 pack of Chicken Drumsticks (skinned)
  • 2 packs of Andouille Cajun Pork Sausage
  • 2 lbs of Large Raw Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 lb Lump Crab Meat (optional)
  • 2 Cups Frozen Okra (optional)
  • 1 Bell Pepper (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 Whole Onion (coarsely chopped)
  • 1/2 Cup Minced Garlic
  • 6 Celery stalks (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 ½ cup of All-purpose flour
  • Bacon Drippings from 4 strips of bacon
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 can Stewed Tomatoes
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • ½ tsp Dried Thyme Leaves
  • Gumbo File Powder
  • Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Bundle of Green onion (scallions)
  • Beef Bouillon
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Louisiana hot sauce
  • Chili powder
  • 3 quarts of water
  • Rice


  1. Make the roux by whisking the flour and 3/4 cup bacon drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown color. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.
  2. Place the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Stir the vegetables into the roux, and mix in the Andouille sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  3. Bring the water and 6 large beef bouillon cubes to a boil in a large pot. Stir until the bouillon cubes dissolve, add in the skinned chicken and whisk the roux mixture into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour; mix in 2 teaspoons of file gumbo powder at the 45-minute mark.
  4. Meanwhile, cook okra (optional) using bacon drippings and a little vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with a slotted spoon that allows drainage of the mixture you cooked it in, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Mix in crabmeat, shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer on LOW until flavors have blended. Allow pot to cool for at least 20 minutes and serve the gumbo over rice after finishing it with a dash of gumbo file and chopped scallions. Enjoy!!! #CarissaInTheKitchen


Thanks for reading! Xo -Riss

Carissa Stephens She's ChaRISSmatic

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