Food: Carissa’s Famous Gumbo!

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 “sauce” 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 large pack of Chicken Drumsticks
  • 2 packs of Andouille Cajun Pork Sausage
  • 2 lbs of Large Raw Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 lb Lump Crab Meat (optional)
  • 2 Cups of Okra (optional)
  • 1 Green Bell Peppers
  • 1 Whole Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Minced Garlic
  • 6 Celery stalks
  • 1 ½ cups of All-purpose flour
  • Bacon Drippings from 2 strips of bacon (OR)
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
  • Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Beef Bouillon Cubes
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Paprika powder
  • Old Bay Seafood Seasoning
  • ½ tsp Dried Thyme Leaves
  • Stewed and Diced Tomatoes (optional)
  • 4 Bay Leaves (optional)
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • Gumbo File’ Powder
  • Bundle of Green onion (scallions)


  1. Chop all vegetables finely on a cutting board and set to the side
  2. Slice your andouille sausage
  3. Skin your chicken drumsticks (kitchen shears will be your bff) and tenderize them using a fork
  4. In a large pot bring approx 8 cups of water to a boil, drop in 4 beef bouillon into boiling pot


  1. Drop your skinned chicken drumsticks carefully into the boiling water pot and season chicken immediately after doing so. Apply your Cajun seasonings, salt, pepper, paprika, etc (all seasoning) to your chicken. After 15 minutes reduce to a medium heat.
  2. Make the roux by whisking the flour and  bacon drippings (or oil) 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.
  3. Stir the vegetables into the roux until they start to get tender.
  4. Next, mix in the sliced Andouille sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring continually to prevent the roux burning. Allow the good flavorings from the andouille to seep out of the sausage and into the roux. By this point your house will smell AMAZING!!!!
  5. Carefully stir in all the ingredients of the roux to the large boiling pot and allow all ingredients to marry while stirring continually on low heat.
  6. Meanwhile, cook okra (optional) using roux from your main pot and a little vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with a slotted spoon that allows drainage (of the slime), and stir into the simmering gumbo.
  7. Add all sauces and additional seasoning you desire such as Worcestershire sauce, stewed tomatoes and Louisiana hot sauce, thyme, etc. and simmer on LOW until flavors have blended. TASTE YOUR GUMBO to see if you need more of anything according to your taste as my measurements are approximated. I DO NOT use measuring devices in my kitchen. 🙂
  8. Add your seafood last as it cooks the fastest. At this point toss in your crab or Old Bay seasoned shrimp. Turn off the fire from your pot once the seafood is cooked. Add a dash of gumbo file’ powder. Stir and taste.
  9. Allow pot to cool for at least 20 minutes and serve the gumbo over rice (or if you’re like my husband, potato salad) but not before finishing it with fresh chopped scallions.
  10. Enjoy with loved ones!!!



Thanks for reading! Xo -Riss

Carissa Stephens She's ChaRISSmatic

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