Recipe: Aunt Vicki’s Gumbo

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My husband’s family is from New Orleans so they get all the credit for introducing me to the unique and flavorful cuisine of The Big Easy. From jambalaya to crawfish etouffee to seafood gumbo…many new dishes have been added to my list of “favorites” since my first visit to New Orleans almost 15 years ago. And even though beignets are basically deep-fried white flour treats, they certainly make my list of favorites as well. :)

Today I want to share a family recipe that came from my husband’s Aunt Vicki. It was introduced to us as a “seafood gumbo,” but what I’ve learned over the years is that this dish can easily be an “anything gumbo” instead. What that means is don’t go out and buy a bunch of new ingredients to make gumbo…instead try to use some of what you already have on hand. If you don’t have shrimp and crab well then throw in some leftover Thanksgiving turkey (if you still have some in the freezer like us). And if you don’t like bell peppers then just add more celery instead. My favorite dishes are the ones that are flexible so use this recipe as a guide and don’t be afraid to get creative. As long as you start with the suggested roux (butter and whole-wheat flour) it’s pretty hard to mess up.

5.0 from 4 reviews

Aunt Vicki’s Gumbo
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup butter
  • ⅔ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 – 10 oz can stewed tomatoes, chopped with juice
  • 2 cups chicken broth/stock
  • 1 cup flat beer (optional – can sub more stock instead)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of dried thyme
  • ½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ lb raw shrimp, peeled
  • ½ lb cooked crabmeat, shredded
  • ½ pound sausage (andouille or other variety), browned and sliced or crumbled
  • Brown rice, cooked
  • Filé powder and hot sauce, for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add butter to large soup pot over medium heat. Once melted, sprinkle in flour and whisk together thoroughly. Keep whisking steadily over medium heat until mixture browns (about 10 – 15 minutes). This technique is called “making a roux.”
  2. Dump diced veggies, onion, and garlic into pot. Stir and cook over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add stewed tomatoes with juice, stir once, and cover. Stir 3 – 4 times over next 15 minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth, 1 cup water, and 1 cup beer. Add all spices, stir once, and simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes.
  5. Add cooked sausage and seafood and cook on medium heat until shrimp is done all the way through.
  6. Serve over brown rice and sprinkle filé powder on top (optional). Provide hot sauce if desired.
    And don’t forget to freeze the leftovers!

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30 comments to Recipe: Aunt Vicki’s Gumbo

  • I love all your recipes, our entire menu last week was nothing but your recipes. I am SUPER excited to try this recipe. Your recipes are always so EASY and make me look like I have been cooking all my life (not the case at all). I am sure this one will be the same and I can’t wait to “wow” the family! Thanks so much!!

  • Grace

    Sounds so good! I’m going to try this for sure!!

  • It sounds really good, especially on a rainy cold day like today.

  • YUM! I want to try this! I always love your recipes!

  • Karen

    What kind of sausage do you recommend?

  • I didn’t know your husband was from New Orleans. Me too. I make lots of New Orleans fare but have never added flat beer to my gumbo. Sounds like a super great addition. Will have to try!

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      Hey Nathalie! Jason is not technically from there since his parents are divorced and he was raised by his mom. His dad and step-mom are the ones who live in New Orleans, and that’s where his dad is originally from as well.

  • This soup would be perfect to ward the damp and chill of this Oregon winter. I am new to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier posts. I’m so glad I did that. I really love the food and recipes you share with your readers and I’ll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Grace

    Made this last night for the family and everybody LOVED it!! Seconds for everybody! I used turkey kielbasa to make it lighter, and used Cajun Seasoning instead of File Powder since I couldn’t find it at the store. Thanks!

    • Lauren

      Grace, glad you liked it with the Cajun Seasoning, but it’s not really a “substitute” for File. File is actually a leaf (sometimes easier to find in whole form, rather than powder), and has a very mild flavor. Cajun seasoning will probably have a couple of peppers and garlic (amoung other things) in it. I usually add both to my gumbos since they are so different.

  • Amy

    I found your blog about 4 weeks ago, and I just have to say I think you are amazing. My husband and I were already pretty healthy and didn’t eat a lot of processed foods anyway, but with your guidance we’ve been able to cut out even more and have become so much more educated on the subject of food. Your recipes are wonderful, and you are very inspiring. We are also a family of 4 with 2 small boys, one of which has reactive airway disease which is similar to athsma and I’m very interested in seeing if his condition improves. I think it’s really too soon to say anything, but I will say since he started showing symptoms in May we’ve had to give him treatments every 3 weeks or so when his coughing flares up. The last time we gave him a treatment was the middle of December, so this could be very good! I also just love that you did this on a budget, since we too are on a $125 budget/ week and I have had no problems making this work. That is definitely a first since I never could make it work before. I think you have really shown me how to truly plan my shopping and meals. Anyways, I’m starting to gush but just had to let you know how much I appreciate all you are doing. Thank you!

  • Robin

    I use a gumbo recipe that I adapted from Justin Wilson’s Rabbit Gumbo. The only reason I adapted it, is that I did not have a good local source of rabbit up until very recently. It takes quite a bit longer than yours, and has no tomatoes in it, but other than the 2tbsp steak sauce (which could easily be substituted for 1-2 tbsp. tomato paste) it is totally real food. You just don’t get that kind of depth of flavor from processed food which is meant to be cooked quickly and ready in a hurry. It is worth every second put into it of the almost 3 hours it takes to make (a good 45 minutes of which is just making the milk to dark chocolate roux), it is that good!!!

    • Lauren

      My favorite roux is the dark roux! I am from south Louisiana (about 2 hours west of NOLA) and have never enjoyed gumbo with a tomato based roux as much as I have gumbos with a darker roux! And yes, making your own dark roux will take you several hours! That’s one reason I make a huge batch and then freeze it in smaller containers!

  • anna

    My grandmother always added coffee and Chocolate(just a little) to hers so I gave it a shot. Only about 1/2cup of coffee and about two bars of the cooking no sweet chocolate. It came out really good. I didn’t use the beer so it gave me the extra liquid needed. I traded out the crab for Squid, my husband loved it.

  • brittany

    I’ve looked at this recipe several times, but tonight was the first tome I tried it. I did it in the crock pot, for one, mostly because I had a plethora of garden okra that just had to be used. So that was the second change. Finaly, it was still pretty thin, so I thickened up the sausage drippings with flour before I added that at the end, and it made all the difference. Great recipe!

  • Jami Ishmael

    This was great! I was very intimidated at first, but decided to go for it! The roux was the scariest for me. I am amazed at how simple it was to make and how great it taste!
    I left out the beer, changed around the seafood, and used chicken sausage! Still tastse great!

    Thank you!

  • Robyn

    I made this last night and it was SO GOOD! Thank you, thank you!! My husband and I loved it- he had two helpings! I didn’t have any crab, so just used shrimp and sausage. I’m not a big sausage eater, so I accidentally bought one that was really spicy so the kids were a little overwhelmed. My youngest one (3), still surprisingly ate it but the other two just picked out the shrimp. It was so rich and delicious, I can’t wait to make it again!!

  • Liz

    I’m surprised there aren’t more reviews on this dish. I had a bunch of leftover rice in the fridge I needed to use up, saw this recipe and thought I would make it. I have never had gumbo before, did not know what to expect. THIS IS DELICIOUS!!!! I did use less butter in the beginning than the recipe called for (Two thirds of a cup of butter is just an insane amount of butter… That’s almost two sticks! Woah!) In my version I added some leftover chicken and shrimp. Yum! I did notice a discrepancy in the directions, it says to add a cup of water, but there’s no cup of water in the ingredients. Hmmm. Anyway, it came out excellent! I’m a Yankee who can cook New Orleans food now! :D

  • Carol

    Any heart healthy ways to remove the butter?

  • Carol

    Can you suggest a heart healthy substitution for the butter?

    • Kathryn

      Carol, I just saw a video clip where coconut oil may help reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. I don’t know if you can cook with it, but it may be worth a shot.

    • Heather

      I found a site where the guy tells how to make instant roué instead of flour and oil he used the microwave to
      Brown the flour and then you don’t need the oil. U might want to google microwave roué

      • Lauren

        Don’t do roux in the microwave…just don’t…
        Using flour and oil as a roux is a different dish than using a tomato based roux. Both are considered gumbo, but have totally different flavors. Don’t use the tomatoes if you are using a flour/oil roux.

  • Laura Liske

    I’m making this now. It says to use I cup of water in the directions but it is not in the ingredients. Please advise! Of anyone can help that has made this that would be great. I spent a lot on crab and shrimp which I don’t usually do. I also have never made gumbo!

  • Cheryl S.

    I made this Sunday and froze it for Friday night!

  • Maggie

    I got a little ahead of myself and made this on Tuesday, thinking it was Mardis Gras. I was a week early (should look at my calendar more closely when I menu plan!) but I am seriously tempted to make this again next week! My dad makes a great gumbo (no tomatoes in his, though) and this was very similar to his. So good!!! I had some leftover shredded chicken so I threw that in, too. I will definitely make this again!

  • Kelly

    Try grapeseed oil instead of the butter – works great!

  • Shanon

    So good – thank you!!

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