One of the greatest joys of being with someone for 10 years is getting immersed in their family traditions. I’m lucky enough that his side of the family hails from New Orleans and that means some seriously good southern cooking. A few years back we spent the day with his Aunt & Uncle asking them to teach us their ways on how to make an authentic New Orleans Creole gumbo from scratch. Now, I get to bring it to all of you!
As a born & raised Wisconsin girl, I never had the opportunity to enjoy New Orleans cuisine. Fast forward this past decade and now I’ve learned what the hype is all about. From the gumbo, jambalaya, charbroiled gulf oysters, barbecue shrimp and muffulettas, I’m officially in love with the food from The Big Easy.
After reviewing the recipe given to us by his Aunt & Uncle and watching Sean prep, chop and cook for hours on end, I certainly have a greater appreciation for the art of crafting an authentic gumbo. These New Orleanians take their gumbo seriously and every family has a certain way of mixing up the pot, but in the end, it’s all about sticking to the main principles and then creating your own tradition from there.
I’m going to do my best to duplicate the recipe, but I’m going off a scratch piece of paper & some video clips from 2 years ago! With any New Orleans recipe, you’ll for sure be using the Holy Trinity which is diced onion, bell pepper and celery. Don’t even think about skipping that!
Poche Family Authentic New Orleans Creole Gumbo
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 cups yellow onions, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 ham steak
1.5lb chicken thighs
1 package andouille sausage
1 package smoked sausage (Polish Kielbasa)
1lb raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1lb fresh crab meat
4 tsp Better Than Bouillon chicken base (mixed with 8 cups of warm water)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup canola oil
1 tbsp garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp thyme seasoning
1 tbsp parsley seasoning
3 whole bay leaves
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp creole seasoning
2 cups long grain white rice
1 loaf french bread
In a bowl, combine the chopped celery, onion and bell pepper (aka the Holy Trinity). Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°, Prep a sheet pan with layers of tin foil. You’ll need to season the chicken thighs with salt & pepper and brown in hot oil. Keep warm in the oven at 175°.
Cube the ham and slice the sausage.
In a large dutch oven, add the oil over medium heat. Once heated, stir in the cup of flour. This is the base of the roux, an important component of an authentic gumbo. Stir constantly to prevent burning until a thick paste forms. May take 20-30 minutes.
Add the Holy Trinity and garlic and sauté until fragrant.
Next, add the ham and sausage and stir thoroughly. The salt from the adds flavor, so use salt sparingly until the end to taste.
Now add the 8 cups of warm water with the chicken base. Stir and bring to a boil.
Add salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaves. If additional seasoning is needed, feel free to slowly add more.
Remove the chicken from the oven and add to the pot. Pour the drippings in as well for additional flavor.
Let simmer for 2 hours covered. Continue by adding the shrimp and crab and let simmer for an additional 50-60 minutes. Stir frequently, but very carefully to not break a part the chicken.
Season with parsley. Stir.
In a separate pot, cook the rice. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
Once ready to serve, take a few minutes to stir through the gumbo and remove the chicken bones and skin.
Spoon over a bowl of rice and add filé to thicken, if desired. Serve with freshly sliced french bread.
The best part about gumbo is that is only tastes better the day after! This recipe will serve 10-12 or 2 people for a week straight of lunch and dinners. Besides it making great leftovers, feel free to add or remove whatever protein you aren’t feeling. There are traditional seafood gumbo’s or stick with the chicken and sausage gumbo which is typically my favorite.
It’s a great recipe to bring people together, so don’t fuse over it too much as long as you get the base right! I sincerely hope you enjoy this authentic New Orleans gumbo recipe straight from our family to yours.
If you’re headed to New Orleans anytime soon, check out my Travel Log for great places to eat, drink and see!
Keep Living a Stylized Life.