Gumbo: It’s all in the roux!

Gumbo is one of my all-time favorite meals. Since, I grew up in Louisiana, making gumbo is just what you do with leftover turkey or chicken meat/bones.

At first, I was afraid of attempting to make gumbo because everyone told me how hard it was to make a roux. I soon discovered that it is not hard, just takes practice and patience.

You want a nice, dark, well-seasoned roux. With that comes the risk of burning it, if you are not careful. As one friend says, she likes to ‘take it to the edge,’ allowing the flour to get nicely browned, almost chocolate brown. The finished product is not only loaded with gorgeous color, but brilliant flavors, too.

Turkeys have been on sale the last couple of weeks. I purchased a 20lb turkey, roasted it on Thursday and de-boned it. Yesterday, I placed the bones in my crock pot, added halved onions, celery and carrots (a couple of each). Then, filled the crock up with water. I cooked this for about 12 hours. And now have the most rich, flavorful stock. 

I used about  four cups of this stock in my gumbo. Then, froze the rest in zip-top bags, lying flat in the freezer on a cookie sheet to save space. Since it is so rich and flavorful, watering it down will not take away from the intense turkey flavor. For the meat, we de-boned the turkey and filled up at least six quart-sized zip-top bags, labeled and placed in freezer.

Now, on to the recipe! This is ALWAYS, ALWAYS better the next day. So make enough for leftovers and for sharing with neighbors and friends!

Gumbo For a Crowd

Servings: 8 with plenty for leftovers


  • 1/2  cup  of oil
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 3-5 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb of chicken or turkey meat
  • 1lb of smoked sausage
  • 1 lb shrimp, optional*
  • 3-4 quarts of chicken stock 
  • 2 T of tomato paste
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, cayenne pepepr, Worcestershire sauce, dried herbs (herbs de Provence, parsley, thyme, oregano), 2-3 bay leaves, Tabasco Sauce.
  • Garnishes: chopped green onion and fresh parsley

1. Dice all vegetables. Chop sausage, de-bone chicken, or dice up boneless skinless chicken breasts/thighs.

2. In dutch oven/stockpot heat oil to smoking hot on medium heat, turn heat down; add flour with some salt and pepper, touch of cayenne pepper (It is best to season as you go.) Stir. Stir. Stir. Don’t let the roux burn. This is the base for the gumbo. You want the roux to be a rich carmel/chocolate-brown color. This adds a nutty flavor, as well as a gorgeous color to your gumbo.

3. Add diced veggies. Cook until just coated and tender. Make sure not to burn the garlic.

4. Add meats of your choice (if using shellfish, add this right before serving as they cook quickly). Brown the meats, but don’t worry about cooking thoroughly. This will happen as it simmers on the stove.

5. Add broth, bring to a boil. Stirring to incorporate the roux.

6. Add a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, dried herbs (I use herbs de Provence, but you can use parsley flakes, oregano and thyme) and bay leaves. Taste the gumbo, you might need to add a touch of salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, etc.

7. Let simmer as long as you can, at least an hour; several, if possible.

8. Cook rice or quinoa. Serve gumbo over steamed rice/quinoa. Top with some chopped fresh parsley or green onion.


7 responses to “Gumbo: It’s all in the roux!

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  7. Thanks Jada! I was looking for a good recipe for my turkey carcass!

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