I thought today we would have a little instruction in how to cook Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo.  It’s my attempt at salvaging something —  anything — out of what was supposed to be a fun family gumbo extravaganza on Saturday.

You see this was supposed to be the best blog post ever.  We were going to get up on Saturday morning and make gumbo as a family.  My husband was going to take the lead, since it’s sort of his thing to make gumbo.  In fact, he’d made the roux the night before.  I was to be the sous chef for a change, and the kids were to stir on demand.  We were welcoming over other families to share in some afternoon fun.

Best laid plans.

Instead, I found myself on this Sunday morn, making gumbo alone for the sole reason that we had alot of shrimp and crab meat in our refrigerator that was probably already not nearly as fresh as I would have liked and was certain to spoil if it was not cooked immediately.  Around me were strewn empty gatorade and gingerale bottles and the remnants of saltines and chicken noodle soup.  Oh..and toys everywhere.  My husband still lays in in bed as I write this recovering from an awful stomach bag that struck our entire family on Friday evening after we’d purchased all of the yummy fixings for the Saturday gumbo extravaganza that was inevitably cancelled.  Sigh.

Given that I am just a tad bit depressed about the whole situation, I will go into instruction mode at this point on how to cook a gumbo.  I am following a recipe that my husband has used in the past and adding in some extra instruction.  It comes from a cookbook we’ve had forever called the Soup Bible by Debra Mayhew.  It is a perfect soup to serve as an afternoon meal to a crowd.  I don’t recommend serving it to a 5 year old and a 22 month old and asking them what they think…they just ask for more white rice.

The real first step is actually to make shrimp stock out of shrimp heads, onions, bay leaves and water.  I had trouble finding shrimp heads ANYWHERE so instead I bought a 1/2 quart of fish stock at my local fish store and combined it with a quart of store bought vegetable stock.  If you have a resource for shrimp heads, by all means go for it and make your own stock.

Now for the steps I followed.  Full recipe below.

Step 1.  Chop the veggies.  

Step 2.  Make the roux.  This takes patience.  Something no one in this family has much of.  But my husband mustered enough to stand in front of the stove and slowly sift the flour into the hot oil VERY, very gradually until it forms a smooth paste.  Then you have to continue to cook it over medium heat for another 25-30 minutes until it turns the color of peanut butter.

You then remove it from the heat and continue stirring until it cools.  Patience is a virtue.  Set it aside as you then proceed to make the gumbo.  [Note:  I don’t recommend setting it aside for a whole day plus into the refrigerator, while you suffer from a 24 hour stomach bug….it screwed up our perfect roux.]

Step 3.  Saute the Veggies.  This is the easy part.  You just saute the onions, celery and green pepper for 6-8 minutes until they soften.

Step 4.  Bring on the sausage.  Throw that andouille in the pot with the veggies and brown it up for 5 minutes.

Step 5.  Get out those Okra Strings.  Next, you add that okra and and garlic, stirring until the snotty little threads disappear.   This takes a good ten minutes, maybe more.

Step 6.  Season, Add Stock and Simmer.   Add your stock and the seasonings. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 25 minutes.

Step 7.  Add the roux and Simmer some more.   Add your peanut butter colored roux to the mix.  Whisk.  bring it to a boil and continue to whisk.  Then let it simmer some more, about 40-45 minutes.

Step 8.  Bring on the shrimp and crab meat.  Finally, you add the seafood and stir for a good 3-5 minutes until the shrimp are pink.  I will say that you could probably make through step 7 earlier on in the day, let it sit on the stove or in the crock pot on very low heat and then add the seafood a little before guests arrive.

Step 9.  Serve it up! Spoon in the rice and ladle the gumbo over top.

Someday soon we’ll have that Saturday afternoon gumbo party….

Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
A one pot meal suited for a weekend crowd. Adapted from Debra Mayhew's Soup Bible
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 3 onions, minced
  • 2 green peppers, seeded and minced
  • 4 celery stalks, minced
  • 1½ pounds of andouille sausage, cut in ½ inch slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups okra, cut into ½ slices
  • 1½ quarts stock
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups fresh plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb fresh crab meat
  • 2½ lbs shrimp
  1. Heat oil in large heavy bottomed skillet. When oil is hot, add the flour, very gradually and blend to a smooth paste.
  2. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly for 25-30 minutes until the roux reaches the color of peanut butter. Remove from the heat and continue to stir until the roux cools and stops cooking.
  3. Melt the margarine in a heavy-bottomed large casserole until it begins to simmer. Add onion, peppers and celery and cook until softened, 6-8 minutes.
  4. Increase heat to medium high and add sausage and slightly brown, for approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to medium law and add okra and garlic and cook until okra stops producing white threads.
  6. Add bay leaves, thyme, pepper, cayenne pepper and salt and hot pepper sauce (optional). Stir well. Add the stock and plum tomatoes and bring to a boil. Low heat and simmer, partially covered for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Whisk in the roux. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, whisking well. Lower heat again and simmer, uncovered for 40-45 more minutes.
  8. Stir in shrimp and crabmeat and stir until shrimp turns pink, about 4 minutes.
  9. Serve over hot white rice, ladling gumbo on top.


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