Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Happy New Year! Let the good times roll....or as they like to say in N'alens -Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Our favorite dish to have on New Year's Eve is gumbo, especially shrimp and sausage gumbo. Even though I live in the west I have been fortunate to visit the south and specifically Louisiana several times in the last few years.  I like to say that visiting New Orleans is the closest thing to going to a foreign country and still be at home. The combination of the different cultures and access to such good and fresh seafood have combined to make culinary heaven with their Creole cuisine. Gumbo, red beans and rice, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and so many other wonderful dishes may all be a little different at each restaurant or each home but they are all good. Here is my favorite recipe for shrimp & sausage gumbo.

A note about file powder for file gumbo. File is dried & ground sassafras leaves. It can be found in specialty stores and online and it was my intent to add a link to Uncle Bill's File Powder which is the real deal. A gentlemen from Baton Rouge was selling his file powder at the Red Stick Farmer's Market in Baton Rouge (making his product as taught him by his blind Uncle Bill) and then he had a website and I purchased some file powder from him sometime ago.  I guess he is not longer in business (not online anyway) as the link no longer works. If anyone has information about this, please email me. If you can find this item, use sparingly. Please note that real file is green and most of the commercial that you see is a grey color and probably contains things like ground bay leaves and other herbs and probably not any sassafras. This recipe does not call for file so if you want to use, adjust the spices accordingly and add just a little of the file.


1 1/2 cups chopped frozen okra
2 small red onions, sliced
4 inner celery ribs, sliced
3/4 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
3/4 cup minced fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 pound cooked andouille, sliced lengthwise and then sliced across 1/2" thick (if andouille too hot for you, OK to use kielbasa)
Vegetable oil
1/2 cup AP flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup of tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
5 plum tomatoes, seeded & chopped
1 pound medium shrimp(FRESH not cooked), shelled and deveined
1/2 cup minced scallion greens
2T distilled white vinegar
Hot cooked rice for serving, we prefer brown rice but this is normally served with fluffy white rice, personal preference

1. In a large bowl, stir together the okra, onions, celery, bell peppers, 1/4 cup of the parsley, the garlic, bay leaf, salt, pepper, red pepper, thyme, and allspice, stir to combine.  Set aside.

2. In a large dutch oven or large heavy pot, cook the sausage until lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl. Pour the fat from the pan into a glass measure and add enough vegetable oil to equal 1/2 cup.  Return the oil to the pot and over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Gradually add the flour and cook stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, or until this roux is very dark and rich brown.  Taking the time for the roux is what is the difference between an OK gumbo and a great gumbo - take the time, do it right.

3. Immediately add the broth and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom. Blend the tomato paste and water, add to the pot along with the vegetable mixture, the sausage and tomatoes.  Heat the mixture to boiling over high heat; reduce the heat to low and simmer for one hour, or until thick. 

4. Stir in the shrimp, scallions, the remaining 1/2 cup parsley, and the vinegar.  Remove the dutch oven from the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. The heat from the mixture will cook the shrimp you do not want to overcook the shrimp or it will be tough. Remove the bay leaf. Serve the gumbo in bowls with rice and as they say in New Orleans..Laissez les bons temps rouler, let the good times roll.

Recipe resource
ME, Tis The Season Holiday Cookbook, 2000

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. HOW APPROPRIATE!!!!!!!!!!!
    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Happy New Year to you too dear Anonymous! May 2015 be happy, healthy and prosperous for you and yours.