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How to make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux

Cajun dishes don’t have to be intimidating! And the good news is, I’m here to show you How to Make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo recipe with a dark roux that any home cook can master! My gumbo is not only scrumptious, but it is also incredibly easy!

I’ll teach you how to get your homemade roux to the right color without the fear of burning it while also guiding you through the cooking process of the best gumbo you’ve ever had! We can explore how to take this chicken and sausage gumbo recipe and tailor it to fit your family’s needs while maintaining its Southern hospitality! I’ll even show you a few twists of my own for a truly unique experience. The most important thing to know is that even YOU can have a great dish from Southern Louisiana on the table in no time!

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A big bowl of the finished product of how to make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux

​Gumbo is perfect for those fall days that are slowly turning cooler. It’s also great during the winter season and provides comfort, heartiness, and warmth. I love the fact that it is customizable and as a result can be tailored to your own family’s needs. My family, in particular, has always kept it simple with chicken and sausage. The sausage is usually a Cajun andouille smoked sausage which keeps the flavors local, familiar, and spicy! But lots of people like to make seafood gumbo with crab, shrimp, and oysters. Swapping out the proteins is an easy way to customize your gumbo and will only affect the cooking time.

A family photo with a mother and 5 kids to tell a story about how to make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux

Gumbo has always been an important dish in my family. Not only does it represent where I live, but it is a dish from my childhood. The funny thing is that I am from Northeastern Louisiana and for some reason, people don’t think that we “northerners” know how to make a good gumbo roux recipe. But the truth is that making an amazing pot of gumbo isn’t limited to people living in New Orleans, creole dishes are a labor of love that anyone can tackle if they want to learn.

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A unique twist to How to make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux:

Traditionally, gumbo is served over rice. But I have also seen it served over potato salad. Both of these variations come within our home state and offer a unique quality and taste to the dish. There are a lot of different flavors going on there, but they all work together.

A large boiling pot showing How to make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux.

Okra is also a very traditional ingredient in gumbo. I incorporate okra in two different ways in my gumbo. The first way is certainly more traditional. The okra is cooked into the gumbo with all of the other vegetables. However, most people just put it into the gumbo raw. The difference in my method of incorporating okra is to lightly sauté the okra until it has a little bit of color. This keeps the okra from becoming slimy as the gumbo cooks. I learned this trick from a very special lady in my church, Sis. Mary Barton. 

The second way that I incorporate okra into my gumbo is far from traditional. First, I fry my okra in cornmeal and get it super crispy. Then I use that fried okra as a crunchy topping when I serve the gumbo. And even though that version of topping isn’t in an authentic New Orleans gumbo, I think it adds another dimension of texture to this hearty dish that just can’t be beaten!

A close up picture of the finished bowl of Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux.

How to make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux with kids:

This recipe is a great way to bring the kids into the kitchen and introduce them to some basic culinary skills such as: chopping, sauteing, boiling, and creating a roux. Where I come from, knowing how to make a perfect roux is a must!

My older child can tackle the more “dangerous” parts of the recipe since he has a little more experience with knives and such. My smaller two children can help with pouring, stirring, turning appliances on, placing lids, and seasoning (with my watchful eye of course!)

Tips for How to make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux a little bit easier:

  • Prep and cut vegetables before beginning.
  • Boil chicken and pick off the bone. You will also need to have your sausage chopped into bite-size pieces.
  • Use a pot that is deep enough to contain your gumbo. (No pans here!)
A picture of the vegetables that will go into the Louisiana Cajun Gumbo recipe with a dark roux.

Let me show you How to make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux on YouTube!

How to make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 medium-sized green bell pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh okra sliced thinly (1 cup sauteed and cooked in the gumbo and 1 1/2 cups fried okra)
  • 2 cups boiled chicken (You can also use rotisserie chicken to save time.)
  • 14 oz. of smoked, Cajun andouille sausage
  • 1 10 oz. can of Rotel diced tomatoes
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of Louisiana hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of file powder (This is just crushed-up sassafras leaves.)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons of chicken powder (to make chicken broth)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic powder

How to make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux Instructions:

Easy chicken and sausage gumbo vegetables chopped on cutting board. Pot of easy chicken and sausage gumbo boiling.

Prep Work:

  • Boil chicken with the chicken powder and then pick off the bone.
  • Chop onion and bell pepper.
  • Slice smoked sausage into bite-size pieces.

Prep Cooking Begins:

  • Sauté the smoked sausage in a pot with 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. (You could also use vegetable oil. I wouldn’t use olive oil because it doesn’t have a high smoke point and can burn easily.)
  • Once the sausage has gotten some dark color then take it out of the pot and put it on a plate for later.
  • Add the onion and bell pepper to the pot of hot “oil”. (There should be some residual fat in the pot from the sausage and the butter. This is the hot “oil” you will be sauteing your vegetables in.)
  • When the vegetables become translucent, add the garlic powder and file powder, and stir until it becomes fragrant. Then take the vegetables out and place them on the same plate as the sausage.
  • Add your cup of fresh okra to the pan. Cook the fresh okra until it gets some color. Avoid moisture before cooking with fresh okra because it will become slimy. The purpose of the sauteing is to keep that from happening.
  • Now that the okra has some color, you can remove it and put it on the plate with the sausage and vegetables.

Making a dark brown roux:

  • Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pot.
  • When the butter has melted, which shouldn’t take long because the pot is already hot, then add your 2 tablespoons of flour to make the roux. 
  • Constantly whisk the butter and flour together as it starts to brown. The heat needs to be on medium for this because you don’t want to burn your roux.
  • Bring your roux to a very dark brown color for gumbo. A good roux will get so dark that it will almost resemble chocolate.

Putting it all together:

  • Pour in the chicken stock.
  • Whisk the roux and the chicken stock together until it’s fully incorporated.
  • Add the chicken, sausage, vegetables, Tony’s seasoning, bay leaves, and diced tomatoes to the pot.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Then, Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Cover with a lid and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  • Then remove the lid and let the gumbo simmer for another 30 minutes on medium so that it can reduce. 
  • Be sure to stir the gumbo during the entire hour every 10 minutes or so that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.

How to serve a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux:

Variations of the Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux:

  • Substitute other proteins like shrimp, crab, oysters, lobster, or even duck in place of or in addition to the chicken and sausage. 
  • Raw okra can be used instead of sauteing or browning it. This will give your gumbo a “stickier” texture.
  • You may want to substitute quinoa, riced cauliflower, or any other grain in place of the rice when serving. 

Storage for Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux:

  • Gumbo can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for about 3 days. (It never lasts this long in my house!)
  • It can be stored in an air-tight container or freezer bag in the freezer for about 6 months. Just make sure that you write the date on the freezer bag or write the expiration date with a permanent marker on a piece of tape and then place that on top of your air-tight container.
  • NEVER store rice and gumbo mixed. Always keep your gumbo and rice separate unless serving immediately. Whenever you want to serve your stored gumbo, be sure to make a fresh batch of rice. (Or any other grain that you may have substituted.)

What are the Macros for the Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux:

Makes 11 servings (Nutritional information below is for 1 serving = 1 cup)

  • Calories – 156
  • Protein – 10.8 grams
  • Carbs – 5 grams (net)
  • Fat – 14 grams

Here’s another video you can watch to help you make this gumbo!

Let’s Learn Something Here!

Click HERE for a short History lesson of the origin of Gumbo!

Check out more of my Classic, southern recipes:

Cajun Style Red Beans and Rice

Southern Sweet Tea

Better Than Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

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How to make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux

Jessie Thompson
Cajun dishes don't have to be intimidating! And the good news is, I'm here to show you How to Make a Louisiana Cajun Gumbo recipe with a dark roux that any home cook can master! My gumbo is not only scrumptious, but it is also incredibly easy! I'll teach you how to get your homemade roux to the right color without the fear of burning it while also guiding you through the cooking process of the best gumbo you've ever had! We can even explore how to take this chicken and sausage gumbo recipe and tailor it to fit your family's needs while maintaining its Southern hospitality! I'll even show you a few twists of my own for a truly unique experience. The most important thing to know is that even YOU can have a great dish from Southern Louisiana on the table in no time!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Boiling Chicken (Instant pot) 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 11 cups
Calories 156 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Instant Pot
  • 1 Stock Pot or dutch oven

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 medium sized green bell pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups of fresh okra sliced thinly 1 cup sauteed and cooked in the gumbo and 1 1/2 cups cornmeal fried
  • 2 cups of boiled chicken
  • 14 ounces of smoked cajun sausage
  • 1 10 oz can can diced tomatoes
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of file seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Tony Chachere’s seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons of chicken powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce

Instructions
 

  • Prep Work:
  • Boil chicken with the chicken powder and then pick off the bone.Chop onion and bell pepper.Slice smoked sausage into bite size pieces.
  • Prep Cooking Begins:
  • Saute the smoked sausage in a pot with 2 tablespoons of butter.Once the sausage has gotten some color then take it out of the pot and put it on a plate for later.Add the onion and bell pepper to the pot (There should be some residual fat in the pot from the sausage and the butter. This is what you will be sauteing your vegetables in.)When the vegetables become translucent, add the garlic powder and file seasoning and be sure to stir until it becomes fragrant. Then take the vegetables out and place them on the same plate as the sausage.Add your cup of fresh okra to the pan. Cook the fresh okra until it gets some color. Avoid moisture before cooking with fresh okra because it will become slimy. The purpose of the sauteing is to keep that from happening.Now that the okra has some color, you can remove it and put it on the plate with the sausage and vegetables.
  • Making the roux:
  • Add 2 tablespoons of butter into the pot.When the butter has melted, which shouldn’t take long because the pot is already hot, then add your 2 tablespoons of flour to make the roux. Constantly whisk the butter and flour together as it starts to brown. The heat needs to be on medium for this because you don’t want to burn your roux.Bring your roux to a very dark stage for gumbo. It will get so dark that it will almost resemble chocolate.
  • Putting it all together:
  • Pour in the chicken stock.Whisk the roux and the chicken stock together until it's fully incorporated.Add the chicken, sausage, vegetables, Tony's seasoning, hot sauce, bay leaves, and diced tomatoes to the pot. Bring to a boil.Reduce the heat to medium low.Cover with a lid and simmer for at least 30 minutes.Then remove the lid and let the gumbo simmer for another 30 minutes on medium so that it can reduce. Be sure to stir the gumbo during the entire hour every 10 minutes or so to make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom.

Video

Notes

What are the Macros for the Louisiana Cajun Gumbo Recipe with a dark roux:
Makes 11 servings (Nutritional information below is for 1 serving = 1 cup)
Calories – 156
Protein – 10.8 grams
Carbs – 5 grams (net)
Fat – 14 grams
Keyword Cajun, Chicken, Louisiana, okra, rice, sausage, Southern recipes

What variations of gumbo have you tried?

What different proteins or grains have you experienced gumbo with? Let me know in the comments below!

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