Oregon’s Got What It Takes to Serve Up a Taste of The Big Easy — Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

| November 6, 2009 | 16 Comments

Lingering a little longer in my Gumbo Shop cookbook after sharing the White Remoulade recipe, I decided to cook up a steaming pot of rib-stickin’, bone-warmin’, spicy chicken and andouille gumbo. Gumbo is probably the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Cajun cookin’.  

Gumbo is a thick, murky, dark soup with various combinations of star ingredients added to a base of a roux, herbs, spices and “The Holy Trinity” of onions, celery and green bell pepper. A true gumbo for me must contain okra. I know there are those who hate okra so much that they liken it to all sorts of disgusting things and wouldn’t dream of putting it in their mouths. Do as you wish but remember that the word “gumbo” is probably derived from the Bantu (Angolan) word (ki)ngombo, meaning okra. That being said, let’s continue with our Cajun creation.  

Making a gumbo can be a religious experience and shouldn’t be attempted when you’re short on time. Most will agree that any gumbo will begin with a dark roux and can be thickened further with the okra or filé powder (ground sassafras leaves). Not wanting to be exclusive, I use all three.  

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo


A roux can range anywhere from the color of peanut butter to that of a rich, dark coffee. A wise thing to remember is that the darker you make your roux, the closer you teeter on disaster, or a burnt roux with no salvation. Some recommend actually making a sacrificial burnt roux to experience the stages leading up to the tipping point. Once you have your righteously rendered roux, the rest is pretty much easy-peasy.  

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo
Adapted from: Gumbo Shop: A New Orleans Restaurant Cookbook  

  1.  2-2½ pounds (900 - 1150 gr) boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  2. 1 pound (455 gr.) fresh or frozen okra
  3. ½ cup (120 ml.) oil
  4. ½ cup (120 ml.) all-purpose flour
  5. 2 cups (480 ml.) chopped onions
  6. 1 cup (240 ml.) chopped green bell pepper
  7. ½ cup (120 ml.) chopped celery
  8. 1 16-oz. (455 gr.) can of chopped tomatoes (I swear by Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes)
  9. 1 lb. (455 gr.) andouille sausage sliced into ¼-inch (about .6 cm.) rounds (Carlton Farms in Carlton, Ore., makes my favorite local andouille)
  10. 1 bay leaf
  11. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) dried thyme
  12. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) dried basil
  13. ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml.) dried sage
  14. ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml.) freshly ground black pepper
  15. ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml.) freshly ground white pepper
  16. ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml.) cayenne pepper
  17. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) salt
  18. 1-1½ quarts (1-1½ l.) low-sodium chicken stock
  19. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) filé powder
  20. Cooked white rice
  • Now is the time to say a brief prayer for you and your roux, then proceed with all your confidence and faith. Heat the oil in a heavy pot large enough to hold all the ingredients. Add the flour slowly while constantly whisking and making sure there are no lumps. Continue whisking while watching the color change in your roux through the lighter stages all the way to a dark coffee stage. Be patient and expect this to take about as long as it takes to drink one beer or iced tea, whatever wets your whistle.
  • Once your roux is perfect, offer a quick prayer of gratitude, then add the onions, bell pepper and celery. Sauté, stirring occasionally until they are tender and a little bit caramelized. (The addition of these vegetables quickly cools the roux and stops it from cooking further.)
  • When the vegetables are tender, add the tomatoes, andouille, chicken and okra (thawed if frozen) stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients with the exception of the filé powder and bring to a slow boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. (Add more stock if the gumbo is too thick, remembering that it is supposed to be a thick consistency but not dry.)
  • Stir in the filé powder when the gumbo is ready to serve.

The proper ratio of gumbo to rice is left to personal taste. You might query your guests as to their preference or let them add their own rice at the table. I prefer my gumbo ladled over the rice. A crisp green salad is all you need to make a complete meal.  

We enjoyed this with a cold brew from Rogue Ales Brewery called Kells Irish Style Lager, just the right taste to temper the spiciness of the gumbo. Alas, the days are gone when you could enjoy it with a cool Jax Beer from New Orleans. The Jax Beer link will take you to a commercial for the brew from the 1960s. There are a series of these old TV commercials made by the talented team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May.  

Bless this gumbo, amen and bon appetít  

— Charles

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Category: Soup

About the Author (Author Profile)

Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities

Comments (16)

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  1. Tom Humes says:

    Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tom Humes

  2. Marlene says:


    You are sounding more professional with each blog entry. When you come to KC, I’ll expect some of these good dishes.


  3. charlesprice says:

    Thank you Sis, writing this one was fun if not a religious experience. However, credit is due also for Jenny Meadows, (see link “My Copy Editor”) who dresses up the text to perfection.

    I would love to make up a pot of this in KC or any other dish. Love, Charles

  4. Charles — I’ve decided I need a religious experience of eating some of your wonderful gumbo. Love the photo and description. Makes me wish I was home today to cook up a pot for our family! I’m bookmarking it for next week and hope it turns out as great as yours!

  5. charlesprice says:

    Thanks for the kind words Margaret. I found the andouille from Carlton Meats at Roth’s Vista as well as the frozen okra. Enjoy and good luck with yours, Charles

  6. I love okra and gumbo! Thanks for posting this. I am making this tomorrow. I love the way you pair up a good recipe with an entertaining story. Great blog Charles!

  7. DocChuck says:

    I love Oregon (we visit your state, on average, twice a year) AND I love Gumbo (we visit NOLA, on average, three times a year).

    I have NEVER equated Oregon with Gumbo, but you made an interesting post.

    A Native Southerner who enjoys Cajun/Creole cookin’

  8. Philip says:

    Gumbo is one of those wonderful dishes that can be put together with almost anything available in a hundred different ways. The general rule on the roux is the more delicate the meat is the darker the roux should be. A peanut butter colored roux is good for chicken & sausage, but you’d want a dark chocolate colored roux for shrimp & venison. I like to sear the meat first then make the roux in the left over drippings. And for your readers who are looking at all the oil and flour used two tablespoons of roux will do the trick for about 5 qts of gumbo. Especially if you’re using okra and file powder as well. I have a friend who has a gluten allergy so the last pot of gumbo I used corn starch instead of flour.

    Down in the south of Louisiana where I grew up if you asked 100 people how to make gumbo you’d probably get 100 different answers. However it’s cooked gumbo is a great dish in Oregon.

  9. Katie says:

    I’m with you - gumbo MUST include okra. I’ve never attempted an authentic gumbo recipe (just a few gumbo-like stews), but I should really give it a shot. I love the stuff more than anything, and this recipe sounds perfect.

  10. charlesprice says:

    Victoria - We’re having perfect weather for stirring up some gumbo magic.

    DocChuck - Oregonians cannot live by salmon and crab alone. And would Oregon have crab cakes if some Marylanders had not toted their crab cake recipes westward. Noticed on your site that you live in Maryland part time. We called Baltimore home for about 7 years and loved every minute of it.

    Philip - Thanks for the pointers from your experience. I would be interested in the outcome of using cornstarch. We have a gluten intolerant friend too. I have successfully used a “flour” blend found on the Land ‘O Lakes site which uses a mixture of potato starch, rice and tapioca flours mixed with a tiny addition of xantham gum. Of course, I used that for baking with great success.

    Katie - Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I am fascinated by the masa cakes on your site and will try them. I looking for a foundation for a “south of the border” twist on eggs Benedict or “juevos rancheros do New Orleans”.

  11. charlesprice says:

    Tom, I’m so glad you like it and thanks for the compliment.

  12. It was absolutely delicious!!! Thanks for the taste and am looking forward to making it myself! Brings back wonderful memories of our living in New Orleans.

  13. charlesprice says:

    Thanks Marilyn, how wonderful to receive such a comment from a Creole Cuisine expert.

  14. Philip says:

    Charles, I was really pleased with the outcome from using the cornstarch. There wasn’t any difference in the flavor that I could tell, and the gumbo was nice and thick. Of course I had also added some file powder.

  15. charlesprice says:

    Thanks Philip, I am going to try that soon for my friend.

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