GF Recipes

Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Gumbo

18 Comments 14 May 2011

Daring Cooks’ Challenge:  Gumbo

Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo!  She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

I’ve never enjoyed gumbo, so I’d never attempted to make it before.  But apparently I’ve not had authentic gumbo, because John Besh’s gumbo is incredible!  We had a choice between making seafood gumbo or chicken and sausage gumbo, and since I can’t eat animals that look like what they are, I went with the chicken.  I also don’t eat pork, so I used spicy turkey sausage instead.

I began the adventure by making the creole spice.  I’m so glad I have a lot left over.  This mixture will be great in stews and skillets.

Basic Creole Spices

From My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh
Makes ½ cup


2 T celery salt
1 T sweet paprika
1 T coarse sea salt
1 T freshly ground black pepper
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground allspice


Mix together all spices in a bowl. Transfer the spices to a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. Store up to six months.

I was intrigued by one main gumbo ingredient.  Okra.  I’d never actually eaten okra before, so the adventure into new territory continued!

Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Minimally adapted from My New Orleans:

The Cookbook, by John Besh

Serves 10-12


1 c canola oil
1 c gluten-free flour
2 large onions, diced
1 chicken (3 ½ to 4 lbs.), cut into 10 pieces
2 T Basic Creole Spices (recipe follows)
2 lbs spicy turkey sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
2 stalks celery, diced
2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 quarts Chicken Stock
2 bay leaves
2 c sliced okra, ½ -inch thick slices
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Filé powder, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
4-6 c cooked Basic Louisiana White Rice (recipe follows)


1. Season the chicken pieces with about 2 tablespoons of the Creole Spices while you prepare the vegetables.

2. Make sure all of your vegetables are cut, diced, chopped, minced and ready to go before beginning the roux. You must stand at the stove and stir the roux continuously to prevent it from burning.

3. In a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan, heat the chicken fat, duck fat, or canola oil over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil – it will start to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate, and continue whisking until the roux becomes deep brown in color, about 15 minutes.

(There are NO pictures of the roux, because it never looked quite right.  I don’t own a cast iron skillet, and I know that was a crucial part of the process.)

4. Add the onions. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir the onions into the roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue stirring until the roux becomes a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.
5. Add the chicken to the pot; raise the heat to moderate, and cook, turning the pieces until slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
6. Add the sliced smoked sausage and stir for about a minute.
7. Add the celery, bell peppers, tomato, and garlic, and continue stirring for about 3 minutes.
8. Add the thyme, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally.
9. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, skimming off the fat from the surface of the gumbo every so often.
10. Add the chopped andouille, okra, and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper, several dashes of filé powder, and Tabasco, all to taste.

11. Simmer for another 45 minutes, continuing to skim the fat from the surface of the gumbo. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls over rice. Pass more filé powder at the table if desired.

I loved the Louisiana White Rice recipe.  The olive oil and onions gave the rice a delicious, sweet creaminess.

Basic Louisiana White Rice

Adapted from My New Orleans:

The Cookbook, by John Besh
Servings: About 4 cups


1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1½ c Louisiana White Rice (or another long-grain white rice)
3 c Chicken Stock
1 bay leaf
1-2 pinches salt


1. Put the oil and the onions into a medium saucepan and sweat the onions over moderate heat until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Pour the rice into the pan and stir for 2 minutes.
3. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
4. Add the bay leaf and salt.
5. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from the heat, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.

Gumbo was a big success!  And I’m glad we like it, because I didn’t notice the “serves 10-12” until I realized that the pots and pans I own were way too small to contain all of the ingredients!  So we’ll be eating gumbo all week!  Anyone want to come over for dinner???


Your Comments

18 Comments so far

  1. Jenn says:

    Beautiful gumbo!! For the roux I just used a gluten free blend too, and it worked out really well – great job on this month’s challenge!

    • Heather says:

      Oh my goodness, Jenn, what a compliment! I was so disappointed to read that this is your last challenge! Your posts are always so inspiring! I love how you put your own creative twists into every challenge. I’m just trying to do then verbatim to learn! I guess the plus side is that now my pics won’t look as bad without yours to compare them to. Ha!

  2. Andy says:

    I’m glad to hear that the gluten free version works too. We have several friends who are gluten free so we are always on the hunt for good recipes.

    • Heather says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Andy. I took peek at your gumbos and they look delicious as well! Way to go for trying both! (Great lobster picture!)

  3. blepharisma says:

    Great job!! I really loved the Creole spice part of it, too. So much fun!

  4. Ruth H. says:

    I can’t believe how beautiful and vibrant your veggies look after simmering for so long! Please teach me your secret! Your gumbo looks beautiful, and the roux must have worked becasue you got such amazing color in your stew!! Thank you for sharing with us!

    • Heather says:

      I’m laughing, because it’s funny that you think I might have a secret! :) Beginners luck? I do hate mushy veggies, so I tend to wait a little longer to put them in the pot out of habit. Maybe that made a difference? Thanks for commenting, Ruth!

  5. Wonderful to hear that the GF flour worked out so well and your veggies are marvellous so fresh and colourful. Lovely to hear that you liked it so much superbly done.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  6. Robert says:

    I was happy to see you are now a gumbo convert. Great work on the challenge.

  7. Claire says:

    Great job on your gumbo, it looks delicious! :)

  8. Karin says:

    It looks beautiful and so tasteful! We have been eating twice from it already too, haha, it’s a lot indeed. But very yummy.

  9. Christine says:

    This looks fantastic! I love how this doesn’t have any shrimp in it (I’m allergic to shellfish.) How spicy is okra?

    • Heather says:

      Christine, okra isn’t spicy at all! The spiciness came from the spices, the sausage, and from the green pepper. Okra by itself is really rather bland.


  1. Weekly Gluten-Free Round Up – May 15, 2011 - 15. May, 2011

    […] Gumbo from Heather at Gluten-Free Cat. […]

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A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, fitness fanatic, gluten-free foodie, high-raw vegan, and Mama Cat living in NYC. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. While I'm not 100% vegan, it's my favorite way to eat, and making and sharing raw foods makes me giddy. Living in the City has its joys and challenges, and I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.

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