Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie and File Gumbo

Okay, well maybe just the gumbo, but it’s better than nothing, right?

To be fair, I make gumbo all the time – it’s a staple in our house during the cooler months.  I love to make a big batch and freeze part of it to have at a later date.  When I was pregnant with my youngest, this was one of the things I made and froze to have during the first few months when cooking was the last thing on my mind.

So, really, Mardi Gras was just an excuse to make gumbo again.

Please note this recipe makes A LOT of gumbo.

Begin by gathering your ingredients:

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup flour

1 bell pepper

1 onion

1 bunch green onions

4 stalks of celery


2 quarts chicken stock

2 28-oz. cans tomatoes (I used puree, but diced or whole work best)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons allspice

2 cloves

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 bag frozen okra or 1 lb. fresh, cut into rounds.

1 lb. andouille sausage

1 lb. shrimp

Fresh lemon juice

file powder


Disclaimer:  I realize that there are two schools of thought when it comes to gumbo – either you thicken with okra or you thicken with file powder, but usually not both.  I like okra in my gumbo, but I also like the flavor that file powder imparts, so I use them both.  Please don’t shoot me.

Dice your trinity (onions, peppers, celery).

For the roux: in a pan over medium heat whisk together your oil and flour. 

Cook , stirring constantly until it reaches a deep brownish red color. 

Be careful not to burn the flour – if it starts to smell scorched remove it from the heat for a bit before returning.  It will color very quickly, so DO NOT WALK AWAY.

Add your chopped trinity to stop the browning process.  Cook the veggies in the roux for 5 minutes or so, just to soften.  Add your chicken stock and seasonings (minus the file powder), along with the tomatoes.  Cook, covered, for 30 minutes or so over medium-low heat.

Add the andouille and okra and cook for 20 minutes longer.

Add the shrimp right at the end of the cooking process.  Squeeze a lemon into the pot and check for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

I may have underestimated exactly how much gumbo this recipe made. I really thought I’d made it in this pot before, but perhaps I was mistaken. Stirring was a challenge, but I managed to not slosh all of it out onto my stovetop….

Serve over cooked rice with a slice of good crusty bread on the side for sopping up all of that gumbo goodness. Add the file powder in small dashes to individual bowls and stir through.  If added to the whole pot it becomes stringy and tough (not sure why, but it does).

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