Mike's Gumbo
(about 2 gallons or 12 - 16 Main Dish Servings)


Cup vegetable oil


Cup all-purpose flour



Tablespoons vegetable oil


Large onions, chopped


Red bell peppers, seeded and chopped (Traditional is to use green bell peppers, but they upset some folk's stomachs)


Stalks celery, chopped


Large cloves garlic, chopped


28 oz. can diced tomatoes


Quarts boiling water


 Tablespoons Seafood Base (Penzey's or Minor's)


Teaspoons crushed red chili peppers or to taste. Adjust to hotness of smoked sausage. Some Andouille is rather spicy.


Bay leaves


Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


Tablespoon ground allspice


Teaspoon dried thyme leaves


Teaspoon dried oregano leaves


Teaspoon salt



Ounces Andouille (or Kielbasa, Trader Joe's Chicken Andouille, etc.) smoked sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick.


Cups coarsely chopped fresh okra (or 1 lb. sack chopped frozen okra, thawed)

2 ½

Pounds shrimp, shelled and de-veined. I like 31-40 size.


Tablespoon Gumbo Filé powder


hot cooked white rice (I prepare 2 cups of raw rice)


Red pepper sauce and / or crushed red peppers


·         Make roux and reserve.

·         Microwave Method

§  Whisk oil and flour together in 4-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave uncovered on HIGH for 5 minutes.

§  Whisk at 5 minutes - roux will be a light brown at this time and will need to cook longer. Continue to microwave the roux, in 30 second increments and whisking after each increment until smooth, until it has reached the color of chocolate. FYI: It will continue to darken after removal from microwave oven. The roux will be VERY HOT, but the handle on the measuring cup may stay “cool” enough to touch. Place measuring cup on a clean dry hot pad, dish towel or rack to cool. Do not place hot measuring cup on damp surface or towel as it could shatter.

·         Oven Method (from Alton Brown)

§  Whisk oil and flour together in a Dutch oven, place into a 350 degree oven and whisk 2 or 3 times during baking process

§  After for 1 to 1 ½ hours roux should be the color of chocolate (or a red brick)

·         Oven Method (from Cooks Magazine January 2017) this uses less oil.

§  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Place flour in 12-inch skillet and bake, stirring occasionally, until color of ground cinnamon, 40 to 55 minutes. (As flour approaches desired color, it will take on very nutty aroma that will smell faintly of burnt popcorn, and it will need to be stirred more frequently.) Transfer flour to medium bowl and let cool. (Toasted flour can be stored in airtight container in cool, dark place for up to 6 months.)

§  When adding roux, slowly whisk remaining 2 cups broth in small increments into toasted flour until thick, smooth, batter-like paste forms. Increase heat to medium and slowly whisk paste into gumbo, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding next.

§  Once the Roux is done, carefully remove it and (this is important) allow it to cool before adding to Gumbo.

·         In large Dutch oven heat 2 Tbs. vegetable oil. Sauté onions with ½ teaspoon salt (to draw out moisture), until onions start to caramelize. Add peppers and celery and sauté another 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another minute. Add tomatoes, boiling water, soup base, dried red peppers, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, allspice, thyme, oregano, salt and cooled reserved roux. Simmer covered for 1½ hours.

·         Sauté the smoked sausage.

·         Okra – 3 methods

§  Just stir it in. (the method I grew up with)

§  Thawed Okra: In a sauté pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Fry the okra in two batches until it becomes lightly browned on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes per batch (fry undisturbed for the first minute or two until browning begins and then stir once or twice to flip most pieces and brown evenly). With a slotted spoon, transfer each batch of okra to a plate or platter lined with a paper towel. This step will keep the okra from being “slimy.” (From Poppy Tooker who won the Bobby Flay Seafood Gumbo Throwdown!)

§  Frozen okra: Position a rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, toss okra with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Roast until okra is tender at center and browned and crisp at edges, about 35 minutes. Set aside. (From WSJ 2/2/19)

·         Stir in smoked sausage and okra and simmer covered another 30 minutes. (when serving some non-meat eaters, I microwave the sliced sausage and let the sausage lovers add it to their bowls while serving.)

·         Check and adjust seasoning (salt and crushed red pepper)

·         Gumbo is best if made early in the day or the day before. So, if you have time, stop here to let the flavors to meld in the refrigerator. Reheat slowly to a simmer, stirring often to keep from sticking.

·         Stir in shrimp, cover and turn off heat. Leave pot covered just until shrimps are firm, about 6 to 10 minutes.

·         Stir in filé. Do not let gumbo return to a boil as the filé gets stringy.

·         Serve immediately.

·         For a main course place 1 cup gumbo  into each bowl and top with1/3 cup of white rice  . Pass red pepper sauce, crushed red peppers and filé powder. Serve with tossed green salad and garlic bread.

·         If freezing leftovers, remove (eat) shrimp before freezing, as they get mushy.



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