New Orleans Gumbo Recipe

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new orleans gumbo recipeGumbo is a very popular southern Louisiana dish that can be found on just about every restaurant menu in the state.  Tourists in New Orleans have most likely tried it and usually love it.  For those that are unfamiliar, gumbo is basically a soup consistency of a little bit of everything simmered down in one big pot and served over rice.  I say a little bit of everything because every recipe is unique.  There are many variations of gumbo, but the two most popular are chicken and sausage gumbo and seafood gumbo.  I love cooking a big pot of gumbo because not only is it good, it lasts forever.  This time of year the dish becomes even more popular as the colder air approaches.  With Thanksgiving right around the corner and all the leftovers that come with it, what better time is there to make a big pot?  Every year, my family combines our left over Thanksgiving turkey or chicken and makes a huge pot of gumbo to share with a side of stuffing.  It's an easy way to put all the meat to use without wasting it.  I'm going to share my easy go to gumbo recipe when I want to whip up a quick batch.  You can make a roux (the base) from scratch, but the easy way is just as good. 

W H A T  Y O U  N E E D :
2 boxes of Zatarain's Gumbo Base (preferably the kind without rice)
1 lb chicken*
1 lb shrimp*
1/2 lb sausage*
12 oz. cut okra
1 Bay leaf
4 tbs oil
1 tbs file powder
Cajun seasoning

*I prefer my gumbo a mixture of chicken & sausage and seafood, so I do it all.  If you don't like seafood, you don't need the shrimp.  This is where you get to add whatever you like.  The more ingredients, the better!

Note:  The okra and file are common additions to gumbo and will help thicken the roux.

W H A T  Y O U  D O :
Follow the directions on the back of the Zatarain's gumbo base box to make the roux: mix 12 cups of water & 4 tbs oil with the powdered roux and stir until there are no lumps.  Add the okra, bay leaf, chicken, and sausage and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add 1 tbs file powder, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.  If you are using shrimp, add the seafood after the gumbo has been simmering for 20 minutes.  Continue to let simmer until the okra balls start to turn a pink tint.  

Gumbo is a food that is cooked long and slow, so the longer it sits, the more flavorful it gets!  I typically let it sit and simmer for about an hour.  I know it's ready when the okra balls are pink.  Add salt and cajun seasoning as desired.  Serve over cooked rice and enjoy!  
chicken and sausage gumbo recipeNote:  This makes a huge pot that makes at least 20 servings for the whole family, so you may have leftovers!  I prefer to use 2 boxes of roux mix even when cooking for two since gumbo is traditionally  made in a huge batch, but if you don't want as much, just half the recipe.

Gumbo is even better when paired with crackers or a bread mixture.  Since my family likes to make gumbo right after Thanksgiving, we usually pair our gumbo with Kraft Stovetop stuffing.  It keeps the Thanksgiving tradition going and adds the perfect balance.  For more inspiration, check out the Cooking Up Good website for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes!
kraft stovetop chicken stuffing
chicken sausage and seagood gumbo recipeThe good news is many of you should be able to find this gumbo base at Walmart, wherever you are.  I've been able to find it in New England and Texas for example, so you may get lucky!

What do you like to do with all of your Thanksgiving leftovers?  Would you give gumbo a try?

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