Saturday, June 13, 2009

Roy's Newport Gumbo

After reading CC Miranda's article about The Sauce Boss, and after doing more research on the man and posting my own article here last week, I got a hankerin' for some gumbo. But I'd paid rent last week and was broke, so I had to wait until this week to make some. So Tuesday I hiked down to the grocery store to buy the fixings.

I started with a basic gumbo recipe, but I adapted to make use of local delicacies, such as substituting the local Portuguese sausage chouriço for the Cajun sausage andouille. [Note: No, I did not replace shrimp with local lobster; shrimp is still a lot cheaper!] Also, although my grocery store often has okra, this week they didn't, so I substituted green squash, and it was lovely! But other changes I made had more to do with personal taste and, frankly, concessions to cholesterol issues, like substituting vegetable oil and olive oil for butter. So with that explanation out of the way, let's get down to business.

Oh yeah, this produces roughly 10 servings of gumbo.


3 or 4 tbs. cooking oil (peanut oil preferred)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 large onions, chopped; 3 large stalks celery, chopped; 1 lb. green squash, chopped; 2 large Bell peppers, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

8 cups water

1 lb. plum tomatoes, diced (and use all liquid and pulp) OR 1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped; 1 sprig fresh thyme; 2 bay leaves

1 pinch salt; 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper; 1 pinch black pepper

1 lb. chouriço (or Spanish chorizo), cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce; 1/4 cup lemon juice; hot pepper sauce to taste

filé powder


1. In a large skillet (or a wok), heat the vegetable oil and sauté (or stir fry) garlic, onions, celery, squash, and bell peppers until golden brown. Set aside.

2. Mix 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup flour, and cook in a large stock pot over medium high heat, stirring constantly. This is the roux, and it makes or breaks your gumbo. Cook it until it turns a velvet, chocolaty brown. Stir in the sautéed vegetables and the chicken. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is evenly browned. Stir in water and tomatoes. Add the cilantro, thyme, bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat , and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the shrimp and chouriço to the stock pot. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice, and splash in the hot sauce to the desired heat level. Simmer an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, remove the bay leaves, and sprinkle on filé powder. This is crucial: Do not add the filé powder while the gumbo is still on the heat; it'll turn stringy. Remove from the burner first, let it sit for half a minute, and sprinkle on about a palm-full of the powder, and stir. You can add more until you get the desired thickness. But do add it; it acts as a thickener and it adds its own unique flavor to the gumbo. I've seen gumbo recipes without filé powder and I never understood why they left it out!

4. Serve over rice. Chow down time!

© 2009 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. I think I'd like it better with zucchini rather than okra.

  2. This looks scrum-dilly! I haven't made gumbo in years. I just might have to make it this week. Thanks, Roy.

  3. Mmmm- that look's delicious!
    Thanks for the recipe :)

    Just read your post on The Beatitudes. Kylie posted about another translation, from the Aramaic.

    Jesus certainly liked (likes?) to stir things up :)

  4. Thanks everybody.

    Cinnamon, I just left a comment on Kylie's blog entry. That "translation" is bogus. The original New Testament texts were only ever in Greek; the only Aramaic NT is called the Peshitta, and it's a 4th Century translation from Greek to Aramaic. Neil Douglas-Klotz, whose work she quotes, is a charlatan; there's no kinder way to put it.

  5. Roy you are indeed a Renaissance man! My goodness what don't you do and by the looks of it do very well!


  6. oh does that look and sound delish!!!

    sorry to disagree with stephanie b, but to me if it ain't got okra in it, it ain't gumbo!! although there are recipes that skip the okra and go with other thickeners.

    will have put this on the menu for this week!

    yum, yum, yum