A few people in chat this morning asked for me to share my Gumbo recipe, so here it goes:
Nate’s Gumbo

(makes 6-8 servings)

2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
Garlic powder
1 med yellow onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper finely chopped
4-5 stalks celery finely chopped
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
Vegetable oil for frying
7 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb to 1 lb smoked sausage (preferrably andouille) cut into bite sized pieces
3-5 cloves minced garlic
1/2 lb- 1 lb shrimp or prawns (optional)
1/2 lb - 1 lb lump crabmeat (optional)
Cooked rice (6-8 servings)
Trim fat off chicken pieces. Season chicken and shrimp with salt, garlic powder and cayenne and let sit at room temp (at least 30 min).

In a medium side bowl combine onion, green pepper and celery.

Combine flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp cayenne in a paper bag and mix well. Add chicken and shake in bag until well coated. Afterwards save 1/2 cup of the flour.

In a heavy skillet or pan heat 1" of vegetable oil until very hot (375-400 degrees). Fry chicken until the outsite crust is brown on both sides (5-7 min per side) and drain on a paper towel. Pour 1/2 cup of oil into a measuring cup and discard the rest.

Pour 1/2 cup of reserved oil into a large saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until it is smoking. Slowly add the 1/2 cup of reserved flour whisking it in quickly, make sure it is dissolved before adding more. This will form a roux. You must constantly stir the roux, if it burns, discard it and start over after washing the pan. This is extremely hot and sticky, do not get any on your skin (this is why they call it Cajun Napalm). Keep stirring the roux and cooking it until it gets to a red-brown color. Remove from the heat and add the vegetable mixture immediately to stop the cooking process. Stir in the vegetables until the roux stops getting darker. (if done right it will have a wonderful nutty flavor, if it smells burned start over). Return the pan to a low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft (about 5 min) stirring constantly.

Meanwhile bring the stock to a boil in a 5-51/2 qt pot. Add the roux/veggie mixture into the stock by spoonfuls, stirring after each addition until comepletely dissolved. After you have added the entire mixture, bring to a boil, stirring and scraping the pan often. Reduce heat to a simmer and add garlic.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, brown the smoked sausage until nicely browned. Add the sausage to the pot with the stock.

Simmer the gumbo in the pot for about 45 minutes. stirring often and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot.

** for hotter gumbo add an additional 1/2 tsp cayenne and 1/4 tsp tobasco to the gumco while simmering with the sausage and garlic.

After 45 minutes, add the prawns and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Chop the fried chicken into bite sized pieces. Add the chicken and lump crab meat into the pot and simmer for 5 more minutes, or until the chicken and crab are warmed through.

To serve ladle the gumbo over a bowl of cooked rice.

Best served with a crusty bread and beer.

If you feel that you must suffer, then plan your suffering carefully–as you choose your dreams, as you conceive your ancestors.

For those of us who prefer our spices set to “nuclear reaction,” would you suggest habenero instead of any of the other hot stuff, in addition to, or what? Don’t wanna meess with the flavor if at all possible, you know.

Yer pal,

Well if you want it “death” hot you could finely dice a habanero and put it in the same time you do the garlic.

Or just add more Cayenne and hot sauce. Like maybe 1 tsp, during the simmer phase…

If you feel that you must suffer, then plan your suffering carefully–as you choose your dreams, as you conceive your ancestors.

Nah, don’t put it an habanero. What’s Louisianian about habaneros? Like Burn says, just up the cayenne and/or the Tabasco.

No okra? No file powder? How do you get that good murky gumboness without such thickeners? Is the roux enough on its own? (I always use okra in my gumbos, but then I like okra.)

And it’s very important that you play Zydeco music during the cooking process.

“Breaux Bridge Betty called me up on the party line,
Said Baby, I just gotta know…
If you got some-a what it takes to make me feel so fine,
Talkin’ about that File Gumbo…”


Well Ike I don’t like Okra much, if you get the roux good and dark it thickens very well.

I don’t like to use File in this gumbo, but i do use it in others.

If you feel that you must suffer, then plan your suffering carefully–as you choose your dreams, as you conceive your ancestors.

Ummm, I have a stupid question. What’s “file powder”? Since I’m a pasty white Irish boy, I don’t know a heck of a lot about Cajun cookin’. Nor can I stand that crazy old drunk, Justin Wilson, so I rarely watch his show. I gaaa-rawn-teeee.

“A bird in the hand is the Devil’s workshop; it is the goose that laid the bad apple.” - TennHippie

File powder is a spice used in cajun cooking, mainly in gumbos… it’s a bit pungents and strong. It is to be added right before serving, not to be cooked in, or it becomes bitter.

I usually only use it if the ingredients themselves aren’t flavorful, like if i was doing a 100% seafood gumbo. But with using some spiced sausage i usually don’t use it.

If you feel that you must suffer, then plan your suffering carefully–as you choose your dreams, as you conceive your ancestors.

File (FEEL-ay) powder is the ground, dried leaves of the sassafras tree. It’s used to thicken and flavor gumbos and other Creole and Cajun dishes.

It should be stirred into the pot after it’s removed from the heat, NEVER cooked.

I usually offer it at tableside…everyone takes a big spoonful of rice, sprinkles the file onto it (or not), follows up with a little chopped green onion, and then the gumbo’s ladeled over all.

UncleBeer, I’ve NEVER let my honkey Yankeeness interfere with my innate gluttony. I also fry a mean chicken, enjoy my red beans and rice, and make a pretty darn good skillet cornbread, even if TubaDiva DOES laff at me for using yellow cornmeal.


The true test of Yankeeness is, of course, your position on sugar in that cornbread of yours. About the only thing the late Lewis Grizzard agreed on was that sugar in cornbread is an abomination in the sight of the Lord. *De gustibus non disputandum est, *and all that, but on some things we must have standards.

Of course, what I meant was:

About the only thing the late Lewis Grizzard and I agreed on . . . .

This is, of course, the favorite dish of Hambone Wilson and Cornpone McGee.

We interrupt this thread to increase
dramatic tension.

If I put SUGAR in my cornbread, TubaDee wouldn’t even bother laughing at me.

Several years back, I tried the JOY OF COOKING recipe for buttermilk cornbread, which does call for sugar, as well as wheat flour and baking powder, and is supposed to be made in a baking pan. It results in a weird, poufy confection…you might as well frost it and call it cake.

Current recipe…cornmeal, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar, egg, buttermilk (did I leave anything out?), in a skillet greased with bacon fat. I actually like to put a little coarse-ground black pepper in it, too, but don’t tell anyone.


Indeed Flyp, Hambone and Cornpone love this Gumbo!

If you feel that you must suffer, then plan your suffering carefully–as you choose your dreams, as you conceive your ancestors.


I remember reading that with a certain amount of disbelief – sugar’s bad enough in its own right, but throw wheat flour into the mix (so to speak) and you know you’re in the presence of seriously misguided folk. I try to be open-minded, but there are limits. There are lots of recipes in the Joy of Cooking that are like that for me – useful book, but plenty of places where I realize that these people “ain’t from around here”.

Only other thing I can think of that you might be missing is oil or shortening. And the pepper’s fine by me.


I put the skillet with the bacon fat (1-2 tblsp) into the hot oven (if my wife’s planning on eating some, I substitute peanut oil). Then I get busy with the other ingredients.

I give it five-ten minutes to get it good and hot, then take it out, swirl the fat around, greasing the skillet well, then POUR IT INTO THE BATTER, stir it in quick, then pour the batter into the hot pan. Stick it back in the oven, and it’s ready in about 20 minutes.

All I can think of is a little green guy with a red headband saying “I’m Gumbo Dammit!”
Clerks - Just because they serve you doesn’t mean they like you.

And his sidekick, “Cornpone.” Oh wait, that was Pokey.

While I typically do use vegetable oil rather than bacon fat (don’t make bacon often enough to accumulate any), our methods are practically identical. Just wasn’t clear from the original how much fat/oil you were using.

Yuck! I don’t actually SAVE bacon fat. I may be a honkey, but I’m not white trash.

I just fry up a couple rashers when I need a tablespoon or two of grease for flavor’s sake.

Uke: This Southern gal sez you got the cornbread exactly right! The key is putting the skillet in the oven before pouring in the batter- makes for that crunchy bottom.MMMMM.

If ya like it spicy, ya might could add some Jalapeeners.

“Gumbo” is a West African word for okra, so I think a true gumbo needs it as an ingredient. Use the little tender pods, they have a better texture.