Gumbo is the fragrant, spicy and savoury stew that’s got it all: chicken, prawns and bacon. It’s sure to impress any dinner guest.
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Season the chicken all over. Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Cook the chicken, in 2 batches, for 2 mins each side or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Add the flour and stir to form a paste. Cook, stirring often, for 15 mins or until dark-caramel brown. Stir in tomato paste and Cajun spice mix and cook, stirring, for 1 min or until aromatic.
Add the celery, onion, red and green capsicum and garlic and stir to combine. Cover and cook, stirring often, for 10 mins or until vegetables begin to soften. Stir in bacon and stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 mins or until sauce thickens slightly.
Add the spring onion, chicken and any juices. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 mins or until chicken is just cooked through. Stir in prawns. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 10 mins or until prawns curl and change colour.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with extra spring onions. Serve with steamed rice.
You can swap chicken stock for salt-reduced chicken stock if preferred.
COOK. STORE. SAVE.
Clever storage: Freeze dollops of leftover tomato paste on a baking tray, then transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag to freeze for up to 3 months.
What is gumbo? Gumbo is a roux-based spiced stew of chicken, prawn and bacon. It is ‘the dish’ to try if you ever visit Louisiana in America. Onions, capsicum and celery are always included in every pot of gumbo. It is earthy, savoury and full of flavour, which makes steamed white rice the ideal pairing for it. Families in Louisiana make gumbo to feed a crowd at social gatherings or celebrations, because it can stretch a small amount of ingredients in a delicious way. Gumbo’s flavours develop more the next day, which makes it a great meal-prep recipe that you can store in the fridge or as a handy freezer meal.
To make your roux, choose oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil. This allows you to cook the roux to a dark colour.
Choose a pan with a heavy base to make the roux in.
Whisking the roux continuously until it becomes a dark coffee colour can take up to 1 hour, but this is what makes or breaks the gumbo, so be patient!
If there are black specks in your roux, this means it is burnt and the roux should be thrown out.
Use enough flour so your roux becomes a thick paste.
When prepping your veggies, dice them all to a similar size so they cook evenly.
The gumbo should be cooked low and slow for the best flavours, so don’t rush the simmering.
Pour in some Tabasco sauce to taste at the end of cooking to help brighten the flavour.
Serve the gumbo with fluffy white rice or some crusty white bread. You may also want to make potato salad as a side dish. To store your gumbo, cool it down, then transfer it to a large airtight container or several smaller containers and place in the fridge for up to 3 days. To freeze, cool it down and place in a freezer-safe airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Gumbo is the irresistible stew that will keep everyone coming back for more! Follow the tips above to make it at home yourself. If you want to make another popular Louisiana dish, try your hand at prawn jambalaya. For other Cajun-inspired mains, check out these recipes for Cajun-style pork and pineapple and this Cajun-style prawn and chorizo tray bake.