Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
This down home Cajun chicken and sausage gumbo recipe is made with a rich and comforting dark roux, the Cajun holy trinity of vegetables, seared chicken, smoked andouille, and plenty of Cajun seasoning. This is one of my most favorite dishes in the whole world. I can never get enough gumbo.
I will never tire of saying this – I LOVE GUMBO! It’s so true. Gumbo is by far one of my favorite foods in the entire world. I’ve enjoyed a LOT of different cuisines, and gumbo ranks right up there at the top. Especially a good Cajun version.
When we were in New Orleans, I ate gumbo every day. It was a little bit different at each place, which is one of gumbo’s glories. You can make it as unique as you’d like. Make it YOURS!
In Louisiana, you have influences from southern cooking, French, African, Spanish, Irish, Italian, even American Indian. That is what makes Cajun and Creole cooking so fantastic.
Let’s talk about how we make it! Excited!
How to Make Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
I’ve included the printable recipe below as well as a video detailing how you can make this recipe, but here are the general steps with a bit of additional insight. I also have included some additional discussion points below to help make sure this recipe ROCKS for you as much as it does for me!
First, heat up a large pot to medium heat and add your olive oil. Season your chicken with a bit of salt and pepper and cook it down in the pot with the sliced andouille sausage. You only need a few minutes per side. Once the meat is done cooking, remove it from the pot and set aside for now.
Next add a half cup of peanut oil to the pot, then slowly stir in a half cup of flour. Begin to stir immediately, constantly, for 20-30 minutes to darken your roux to the color of a light to dark chocolate. See below for more information about how to make a great roux.
Next, stir in the peppers, onion, celery and garlic. Give a good stir, then add the okra, Cajun seasonings, chicken stock and bay leaves. The bay leaves bring in a lot of additional flavor.
Lower the heat and let the whole pot simmer for at least one hour. 1.5-2 hours is fine to develop more flavor, though you may need to add in a bit more liquid.
When you’re ready to serve it, swirl in some fresh chopped parsley and let it cook in about 5 minutes or so. Turn off the heat. Stir in the filé powder to thicken up your gumbo even more, if you’re using it.
Finally, serve it up in a bowl as-is or over rice, whichever you prefer!
Let’s talk a bit about gumbo in general, shall we?
What Is Gumbo? What Makes Gumbo a Gumbo?
Gumbo is a conglomeration of different cultures and cuisines. It is essentially a stew, and it the official state cuisine of Louisiana. It is made from stock that is thickened with a roux and sometimes includes okra and/or filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves) as additional thickeners.
Flat out, Gumbo is AWESOME. HUGE on flavor.
What Are the Ingredients in a Gumbo?
More traditional gumbos start with a roux – a mixture of fat and flour – then add the Cajun Holy Trinity of vegetables, which is bell peppers, onion and celery. Stock is added along with a variety of meats and seafood, such as smoked andouille sausage, chicken, gator, crawfish, shrimp and more.
It is highly seasoned with a blend of Cajun seasonings – see our Homemade Cajun Seasoning Blend Recipe – or Creole seasonings.
More traditional gumbos include okra as a thickener, and can also be thickened with filé powder which is dried and ground sassafras leaves.
From there, the recipe interpretation is open to the cook.
Is Okra Required for Gumbo?
Interestingly, the name “Gumbo” derives from a West African word for okra. Okra is often used as a thickener and was so very early on in the making of gumbo. However, an alternative is to use filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves) instead.
While visiting New Orleans, I found many gumbo recipes that do not use okra, so as an ingredient, okra is not required and is open to the preference of each cook. You’ll still run into people, though, who insist gumbo is not gumbo without okra.
What is the Cajun Holy Trinity?
The French have the mirepoix – carrots, onion and celery – and French cuisine has heavily influenced Cajun cooking. When the French landed in Louisiana, they quickly found that carrots do not grow well in the Louisiana soil, so replaced them with bell peppers.
So, the Cajun Holy Trinity consists of bell peppers, onion and celery.
The Art of the Gumbo
The KEY to making a good gumbo, and I cannot emphasize this enough, is in the roux. You absolutely MUST master a proper roux if you’re going to achieve a good gumbo. Luckily it isn’t difficult. It is essentially an equal mixture of oil and flour that is stirred slowly, continually, in a pot over low heat. You CAN use butter instead of oil, but oil is traditional, particularly peanut oil, though I’ve used different oils and everything worked out just fine.
How to Make a Good Roux
Essentially, stir together the oil and flour in a large pot and bring up the heat. Keep it fairly low. Start stirring. The oil and flour will meld quickly and you’ll have a sort of liquid slurry that comforms to the bottom of the pot. If you don’t keep stirring, the roux will start to burn and you’ll have to start over, so do not stop stirring. Stirring is a must!
You can smell it when the roux burns. It’s acrid, unpleasant, a bit like burnt popcorn. If that happens, forget it. Toss it and start over. It will ruin the flavor of the gumbo. So be careful, and don’t bring up the heat too high. Keep it low and slow.
What you’re looking for is the color of the roux. It starts out the color of flour, very light, batter-ish, but as it heats while you’re stirring, it will begin to brown, going from a light brown to the color of peanut butter or copper, and eventually to a rich chocolate brown. This can take anywhere from 20-45 minutes, depending on your desired color. Personally, I take 20-30 minutes for my roux.
You can stop when you achieve a copper or peanut butter color. The roux is great then, coaxed of outstanding flavor. You’ll have a thicker gumbo with this color of roux. If you continue to a darker chocolate color, you’ll have a thinner gumbo with a slightly deeper flavor, so feel free to experiment to discover which shade of roux produces the best gumbo for your taste buds.
Here is how my roux looks:
This is after about 20 minutes. If you keep cooking and stirring, the roux will turn to a dark chocolate brown color. A darker roux will result in a thinner final gumbo in most cases.
Adjusting the Heat Factor
Cajun and Creole cuisine, particularly gumbo, aren’t meant to be HOT. It is SPICY for sure, which means it includes a lot of spice and seasonings, but as a chilihead, I like to bring in a little bit of heat to please my own palate.
So, when working with the ingredients – bell peppers, onion, and celery are traditional with Cajun and Creole cooking – I like to include jalapeno peppers as well, or some other hotter peppers, depending on my mood. Here is a great example of a very hot and spicy gumbo that I love – Mike’s Spicy Gumbo, made with ghost peppers.
I hope you enjoy it! People ask me for this recipe all the time, so here you go. It’s finally on the web site. Let me know how it turns out for you!
Check Out My Other Gumbo Recipes
If you love gumbo, check out some of my other gumbo recipes.
- Mike’s Spicy Gumbo, made with ghost peppers
- Creole Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Gumbo Z’Herbes – “Green Gumbo”
- Southwest Style Chicken Gumbo
Check out my Shrimp Creole Recipe, too. Very Cajun!
I wrote about my recent trip to New Orleans, including restaurant recommendations. Check it out here: New Orleans foodie experience. So awesome!
Patty’s Perspective: The biggest reason I LOVE Gumbo is because it is packed with more flavor than practically anything I can think of. Mostly everything breaks down into the liquid and there is an unbelievable flavor explosion when you taste it. I like all types of meats added in and even vegetarian or seafood versions, but I’m a sucker for andouille so this gumbo is tops in my book. I wish I could eat this every day, but then I fear it would make all other food taste bland.
Check out the Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Video Recipe (Longer Version – about 4 Minutes)
If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
This authentic Cajun chicken and sausage gumbo recipe is made with a rich and comforting dark roux, the Cajun holy trinity of vegetables, seared chicken, smoked andouille, and plenty of Cajun seasoning. This is one of my most favorite dishes in the whole world. I can never get enough gumbo.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound chicken thighs chopped - chicken breast is good, too
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 12 ounces andouille sliced into ¼ inch slices
- ½ cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
- ½ cup flour
- 1 medium bell pepper chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 medium celery stalk chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 cup okra I used frozen
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning or more to taste
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 tablespoons chopped parsley + more for serving
- 1 tablespoon filé powder or to taste if desired
- For Serving: Cooked white rice if desired
Heat a pan to medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil and heat.
Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan along with the sliced andouille. Cook a couple minutes per side until browned. Set aside until ready to use.
Add ½ cup peanut oil to a large pot and heat to medium heat. Add flour and stir. Cook for 20-30 minutes, constantly stirring, until the roux browns to the color of chocolate.
Add peppers, onion, celery and garlic. Stir and cook about 5 minutes.
Add chicken and andouille. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
Add okra, Cajun seasoning and chicken stock. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom.
Add bay leaves and cook at medium-low heat for 1 hour to thicken. You can simmer longer if you’d like.
Stir in parsley and cook 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in filé powder, if using.
Serve into a bowl, over white rice if desired, and garnish with extra parsley.
Heat Factor: Mild, though it is HUGE on flavor with the Cajun seasonings. You can make your own spicy Cajun seasoning blends. See my recipe - Homemade Cajun Seasoning.
If you'd like a spicier version, add in cayenne powder (or a hotter chili powder) as well as spicy chili flakes. You can also add in spicier chili peppers along with the bell peppers for some additional zest factor.