Just as a kitchen failure can transform my mood from great to very stinky, so can a kitchen success turn my frown upside down.  The day I made this, I was feeling quite cranky.  It was Sunday after a very long, hard week at work and a big party at our house on Saturday evening.  I was kicking myself for planning what seemed like such an involved meal for Sunday dinner when I felt as though I only really had the energy to pick up my phone and order a pizza.  But, because of all the ingredients already in our fridge that I did not want to go to waste, I powered through.  With much grumbling I prepped the components and started cooking.  After the roux was made I was even slightly more perturbed because I had never made roux with oil before and well, it just didn’t smell magical like a roux made with butter.  Then I added the vegetables to the pan and everything changed.  The kitchen smelled fantastic.  The dish was clearly going to turn out, but more than that, it was going to be amazing.

Sometimes you just know that about a meal and in this case, I knew.  It does take a bit of work initially but then simmers for a few hours, making your house smell incredible and possibly making you drool in anticipation.  I was not expecting to love this as much as I did, but in fact I loved it so much that I it now ranks above chili on my list of favorite foods.  Yeah, I said it.  I’m happy to report that this freezes very well.  One full batch makes a ton of food, but if you’re already investing the time to make it, go ahead and make the full batch.  I froze half and it made for a blessedly quick and satisfying meal after an extremely long work day.  We’re looking forward to enjoying this many more times as the weather gets colder and we make the most of our time inside, at home, together.  Fall, we are glad you’re here.


6 oz. bacon, diced
2 lbs. chicken legs or thighs, bone-in and skin-on
1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced (or spicy Italian sausage, crumbled)
½ cup peanut or other vegetable oil
1 cup flour
2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
½-1 lb. okra, sliced into discs
3 green onions, chopped
Chopped fresh parsley, for serving

For the Cajun spice mix:
1 tsp. black pepper
½-1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. celery seed
2 tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried oregano


  • 01

    In a large stockpot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy.  Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Set the chicken pieces skin side down in the bacon grease to brown.  Season the side facing up with salt.  Cook 4-5 minutes without moving.  Flip the chicken pieces over and brown on the opposite side.  Remove the browned chicken pieces to a plate and set aside.  Add the sausage to the pan and cook until well browned.  Remove to the plate with the chicken.

  • 02

    The amount of fat remaining in the pot should be about ½ cup.  Add the additional peanut or vegetable oil to the pot.  After the oil has heated for a minute or two, stir in the flour.  Stir this mixture together almost constantly for the first few minutes, then every couple of minutes or so thereafter.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the roux until it becomes fairly dark, about the color of coffee with a bit of cream mixed in.

  • 03

    While the roux is cooking, combine the chicken stock and water in a separate pot and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and maintain at a simmer.

  • 04

    When the roux has reached the appropriate color, stir in the diced green pepper, celery and onion.  Mix well.  Let cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for about 2 more minutes.  Mix in the tomato paste.

  • 05

    Using a large ladle, gradually add the hot chicken stock mixture to the pot.  It will sizzle and seize as the roux absorbs the liquid.  Continue adding the stock, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot.  You may not need the full amount of liquid but add enough so that it is slightly more watery than you want the final product to be since the mixture will cook down over several hours.  Stir in half of the Cajun spice mix and add more to taste.  (I already had a Cajun spice blend on hand so instead I added 3 tablespoons of that and went from there.)

  • 06

    Reduce the heat to medium-low and return the chicken pieces to the pot.  Let simmer gently until the chicken meat falls easily away from the bones, about 90 minutes.  Remove the chicken pieces and let cool slightly.  Return the sausage to the pot with the gumbo, and stir in the sliced okra.  Shred the cooked chicken meat, discarding the skin and bones (or saving for a later use).  Add the shredded chicken pieces back to the gumbo.  Cook the gumbo for an additional hour or more, until the gumbo has reached your desired final consistency.  Before serving, stir in the green onions and reserved bacon and sprinkle with the parsley.  Serve over rice or with crusty bread.


  • This sounds absolutely delicious. The next time I see okra I’m buying it and making this.

  • Chicken and sausage? really? Is this any good? Thanks for sharing this recipe. Definitely going to be trying this out. :) Just came across your blog- and love all your recipes. Keep them coming. Bookmarked your site. Have a great week! Rochelle.

  • Well this just looks ridiculously tasty. I’m not a huge fan of okra but everything else just radiates “Yum.”

  • Ashley C

    This is perfect, I have some fresh okra to use up and this gumbo sounds like the perfect recipe.

  • This looks awesome! And I love how a success in the kitchen has the ability to turn the whole day around!

  • You sold me from the get-go. This is a new keeper for me. And I know it will be a hit with Mr. Rosemary. But I’m a little hesitant about the okra. I’ve also never tried fresh okra. I bet it would make a difference. I will reserve judgment until I make it myself!

  • Oh man, I just pinned this. My husbands favorite food is Gumbo. Hmm, I think if I make this for him I just might get that car I want, hahaha!!!

  • I love to see everyone’s take on gumbo. I’m from south LA and my gumbo isn’t red at all and it’s much thinner than yours. It looks good tho! Hope you enjoyed it thoroughly :)

  • Jen

    What about the bacon? Do you add it back in at the end?

  • Annie


  • Soooo Happy you posted this recipe. I’ve been searching to find a recipe and am going to try this on Sunday!!!

  • I’ve been wanting to try a gumbo recipe for a few weeks now. My 8 year old has been obsessed with Louisianna cooking (thanks to The Princess and the Frog!!) This looks like a good one! Thanks!

  • I love when meals turn the day around :) This looks fantastic!

  • Steve2 in LA

    Excellent job, good recipe. Using the fat from your meats is an old Paul Prudhomme trick which I’ve also incorporated in my version. Makes a durned tasty pot of ‘bo. I like to add a pound or so of 21-25 ct peeled shrimp in the last few minutes and will admit to finishing it with some good gumbo file and a smattering of green onions. This is perfect weather for it too. Seriously well done.

  • robert

    Annie this looks pretty yummy, and I can almost smell it in my house just reading the recipe… That said, WHY use oil instead of butter? Is there a reason? As Creole/Cajun cuisine has its roots in French cuisine, I find it an abomination to substitute this way. Other than that, it seems solid. So why mess it up with peanut oil?

  • Annie

    Given that I did not create this recipe, I can’t explain the rationale behind it. My source is listed at the bottom of the post – feel free to contact investigate those posts further or contact those authors if you are curious.

  • This looks so incredibly delicious! I’ve never made gumbo. I’m sold. I haven’t seen okra around here lately though. I have some Filé powder that I haven’t had the opportunity to use though. Might try that instead!

  • maggi

    I’m from Louisiana as well and I’ve never known anyone to make a gumbo roux with butter. That would just be so wrong. No two people make it the same and that comes in with using or not using okra, tomatoe base (creole), the darker meat stocks (cajun) chicken and sausage, and also using seafood. My family travels to North Carolina every year for Thanksgiving and my Mom and I make GALLONS of this stuff to freeze and drive up there with us to feed about 50+ family members. I can’t wait for that first cold snap (about 70 degrees here) to hit so I can have a big ole bowl of it!

  • I love it when things work out for the better! This looks WONDERFUL!

  • I was at a Creole restaurant this weekend, ordered some gumbo, and have been craving it ever since! What a perfect opportunity to make some for myself! Your post is a sign. :)

  • MMMM i love gumbo! I happen to have some sausages in the freezer, guess I know what I’m making this weekend!

  • I absolutely love okra! I can eat okra just boiled with lemon and a little salt. I know this gumbo recipe will truly be amazing! I’ll probably double the okra though…LOL! Great dish!

  • Danita

    I have to agree with the other comments about roux being made with oil. I attended college in S. Louisiana and learned to make Gumbo during that time. I’ve never seen it made with butter either.

  • What a delicious combo! Chicken and sausage… sounds great!

  • I bet this smelled positively intoxicating while it was cooking!

  • Evelyn

    This recipe looks fantastic! Just one question – what would you recommend replacing the chicken with? My boyfriend is allergic to all poultry. Would it be just as good with two times the sausage?

  • Annie

    Please see the FAQ page regarding substitutions. Thanks.

  • Annie

    Haha ;)

  • oh MAN I am excited about this one! That looks like the perfect meal for a cool fall evening.

  • It looks delicious! I love anything with sausage :)

  • Mmm this looks delicious – it’s like the perfect cold weather comfort food!

  • I wish it was gumbo weather here. Even though it’s not a typical south Louisiana gumbo it has similarities to the Creole version. I prefer the Cajun. Not sure why the original blogger added butter or bacon … neither is in gumbo.

    Robert, if you’re still out there … I always use LouAna peanut oil when I make gumbo.

  • I hope you don’t mind me adding in! I’m from South LA too, and most Cajuns use oil for a roux (1 part oil to 1 part flour or to desired thickness). I’ve heard you can use butter for a roux, but we don’t. Agree with Maggi above there are slight differences b/n a Cajun and Creole gumbo. Bacon is new to me though, may be really good! I don’t add okra and tomatoes, but it’s more common in New Orleans. Only thing I would add in is to keep stirring the roux, it’s so easy to burn! And a side of potato salad is good with it too is tradition! It does look good though!

  • Jen

    I live on the gulf coast and thought I was above needing an actual gumbo recipe, but I tried this last night and it was great. I think the bacon/sausage/chicken fats really make the roux something special. It’s just now getting chilly here, and I’ll definitely be making this again.

  • Annie

    So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Sharlene

    I made this today and it actually turned out really yummy! It was a little too salty but I think that’s because I used a cajun spice blend that I had on hand and the blend was salty so next time I’ll just use the recipe. I also have never cooked with okra and didn’t know where find it in the grocery store so I just didn’t add it to the gumbo. But all in all it was amazing and I will definitely make it again! So excited that I got to freeze the leftovers!

  • skinnyfatkids

    I’m going to give this a shot! I have some chicken legs to use up and love anything that can be considered soup but SFK will like!

  • Kristin

    Just made this tonight…tasted it when I took the chicken out & didn’t think it was terribly exciting, BUT once it had simmered with the andouille….YUM! What great flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  • zen_chameleon

    I made this last night after reading it on the Best of 2011 post. I’m not sure how I missed it the first time around! I made it without the bacon and with turkey sausage. As a result, I had to add more oil because there definitely wasn’t 1/2 cup of fat in my pan when I was done browning the meats. I used a mixture of peanut and chili oil, which added a little extra heat. I used the full amount of cajun spice and added a bit extra celery seed, oregano, and thyme as well.

    I used 20 ounces of frozen okra, which worked beautifully and was my favorite thing about this dish. I’m already scheming about vegetarian “gumbo” (that just sounds like an oxymoron!), with oil only for the roux, double the okra, and some other veggies…

  • Paige

    I’m a long-time reader, but this is the first recipe I’ve actually made. My husband and I are cooking novices, so we felt very professional making a roux. It turned out great, so it’s inspired us to try some more of your ideas. Thanks so much!

  • Anonymous

    Awesome! Practice makes perfect so keep having fun in the kitchen. Knowing how to make a roux is a great kitchen skill to have. Glad you enjoyed the gumbo – truly a favorite of mine!

  • essie

    I made this last night and it was delicious! Thanks!

  • Dontspammebro

    NOM. I can not wait to try this!

  • Shenesej1

    I’m going to make this for my boyfriend, it’s the first meal that I will be cooking for him, ever. :-)

  • Morgan

    I love this recipe, I’ve made it easily half a dozen times. I usually add shrimp to it as well toward the last twenty minutes of the simmering process.