Introduction: How to Make: Poor Man's Gumbo

As a native Louisianian woman, learning to cook a good gumbo is a mandatory rite of passage, much like learning to walk and tie your shoes. Gumbo (pronounced Gum - bo) is a dish native to Louisiana that first started appearing in the 18th century and has now become a staple in many African and Creole homes.

Traditionally, gumbo is a bowl chock full of seafood goodness including ingredients like crab legs, shrimp, and oysters served over rice. For beginning gumbo enthusiasts who don't want to shell out dollars for the premium ingredients, a variation called "poor mans gumbo" exist. Poor mans gumbo consists of the same base and vegetables as a traditional gumbo, but uses only chicken, and sausage instead of the usual seafood smorgasbord. Here's a simple recipe for "Poor Man's Gumbo":

Step 1: Here's What You'll Need:

Gumbo has a lot of ingredients, but don't be intimated! Most of the items are affordable and very easy to find.


  • ¾ vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cup of water
  • Louisana style hot links or andouille sausage
  • chicken wings
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon gumbo seasoning (can find at any fish market)
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon gumbo file seasoning ( can find at any fish market )
  • 1/2 teaspoon of: Paprika, Thyme, Oregano, red pepper, garlic powder and red pepper (each)
  • 4 cups white rice

Step 2: Prep Your Ingredients!

Finely chop your onions, you should have anywhere from 1 – 1 ½ cups. Peel and mince fresh garlic cloves. Store prepared minced or chopped garlic can be substituted. Cut Hot links into slices, sauté in skillet on med high until brown on both sides. If you like, you can debone your chicken wings. Traditionally, wings are put in pot bone and all and diners fish them out of their bowls on their own.

Step 3: It's All About the Roux

The roux ( pronounced roo) is the core of any good gumbo. Be careful not to burn it, or your gumbo will have an unwelcome charred, flavor and you will need to start all over.

Preferably in a cast iron skillet ( if you don't have one of these a regular skillet will do)

1. Begin making the roux by melting 1 cup of butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter is clear yellow.

2. Now add in your flour and your oil over medium high heat.

3. STIR. This is the most important step, and the most time consuming part of the gumbo process so be patient! Roux is ready when it is deep dark brown or caramel colored; this will require continuous stirring and patience

When your roux reaches a caramel color, remove it from the heat immediately. You don't want it to burn!

Step 4: Lets Get Cooking

The hard part is over!

Now, transfer your roux to a large stock pot, and add your chicken broth, water, chopped onion, garlic, and seasoning. Do not include Gumbo file seasoning or tomato paste yet!

1.Cook for about 30 minutes on medium heat , making sure to stir with a large spoon occasionally to avoid burning on bottom.

2. Now add your chicken and hot links(or sausage) to stock pot and continue to cook for another 40 minutes.

( TIP: Extra water can be added if gumbo becomes overly thick. Consistency should be that of light stew or cream based soup. )

3. Add tomato paste and gumbo file and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

Your almost done! You just need one more thing...

Step 5: Don't Forget the Rice!

Now that your gumbo is almost done, don't forget the rice! Any long grain white rice will do. Cook your rice and leave it on the side. DO NOT ADD RICE to the gumbo mixture. Traditionally, rice is left to the side so the diner can choose the gumbo to rice portion that is perfect for them.

Step 6: Step 5: Enjoy

You've just made yourself a heaping pot of poor mans gumbo! If you wan't the full Louisiana experience, pour yourself a tall glass of Sweet Tea and enjoy!