Gumbo, and National Pig Day

Apparently, my order for a brief, mild winter got lost in the shuffle. So, while I wait for winter skies' shade of ugh to lift, I'll console myself with this stew. More precisely, Cajun Seafood Gumbo.

This dish originated in Louisiana, and it is a deliciously thick and spicy pool of shrimp, crab, and my favorite vegetable, andouille sausage.

However, the heart and soul of this Gumbo is the roux.

Wait! Come back!

This is not the whisk-until-your-arm-falls-off roux you've heard about. This roux goes from blah to a rich, chocolate brown in 20 minutes.
O,'tis true. And haven't I always told you some version of the truth?

Whether you use seafood, chicken, beef, pork, or vegetables, this dish will satisfy. Fact.
And, as is the case with most soups and stews, Gumbo will taste even better the following day.

Seafood Gumbo

2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (about 1½ cups)
2 small stalks of celery, trimmed and chopped (1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste (add additional salt only toward end of cooking)
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper*
1 tablespoon dried thyme, or 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1½ teaspoons dried oregano, or 1 tablespoon fresh
2 tablespoons fresh basil
¾ cup canola oil
1 cup AP flour, or more if needed
5 to 6 cups homemade fish stock, but chicken stock will do**
1 pound andouille (or other spicy sausage), sliced
1 pound crabmeat
2 pounds shrimp or crawfish
Cooked rice

In a Dutch oven, brown the andouille sausage, or meat of your choosing. Remove the sausage from the Dutch oven, and set aside.

To make the roux, heat the canola oil in the same Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the flour. Whisk constantly, until roux reaches a dark brown color, resembling chocolate buttercream. The whole process will take about 20 minutes.
When the roux is dark and thick, add the vegetables and spices. Stir for a few more minutes to soften vegetables.

Stir the fish (or chicken) stock into the roux and vegetable mixture. Bring to a simmer. Add the sausage, and simmer with the pot mostly covered for about 1 hour.
Gently stir in the crabmeat, and shrimp (or crawfish) during the last 3-5 minutes of cooking.

*You can substitute Kielbasa for the spicy Andouille sausage. If using the former, you might want to increase the cayenne pepper. But taste first, before adding more heat.

**Introduce flavor whenever possible. If you're out of fish stock, use chicken, or vegetable stock.

"Water? Never!" Marysol cried, recoiling in horror.

Adapted from the River Run Cookbook by Jimmy and Maya Kennedy.

Btw, did you know March 1 is National Pig Day?
My sources (Google) tell me this is an event most often celebrated in the Midwest.

...and this is what my Hamrietta thinks about this holiday...

Preach it, sister!


  1. I love soulfood! that gumbo looks so comforting, flavorful and delicious! A beautiful dish.

    What a cute little piggy!

    Here, Spring is on it's way. The temperatures have risen and nature is awaking!



  2. I have to admit my ignorance in that I did not know it was National Pig Day! Thanks to you and Hamrietta for informing me!

    My Golly, Miss Marisolly, your gumbo looks wonderful! Such a beautiful tureen too. My hubby loves Andouille sausage and I love shrimp and crab. I see a match here :)

    As always, your posts bring smiles to my face.

  3. Such a gorgeous stew (and piggie :). Looks like a meal from a fine restaurant, yummy!

    Thank you for your sweet comment. We are doing well.. just a few more months to go, so excited :D!

  4. Anonymous1/3/10

    Sol, what can I say for I am speechless. I love Miss Piggy!


  5. Rosa, rejoice in the new beginning! Temperatures will be climbing into the 40s later this week, so I'm thrilled to finally see some sign of Spring too.

    Susan, I accidentally stumbled onto the silly holiday. You'd think being a 'Midwesterner,' I would've known about it all along [G]

    Oh Sophie, it's hard to believe you're only a few months away from welcoming a precious new life; I'm really very excited for you! Be prepared to fall head over heels in love, again.

    Peppi, this may be hard to believe, but I'm speechless too!
    It's so good to see you here! But I thought you'd be taking the next 2...3 days off, to recover from a wild weekend with the CF reception committee.

    Thank you my friends; you guys are better than Mackinaw Island Fudge.

  6. What a cute looking piggy! Is it a handcrafted sugar art?

    I love the look and sound of your stew. It looks rich and comforting, and I like that it tastes even better the day after :)

  7. Sol, I can almost taste your Gumbo. Is it wrong to want Gumbo for breakfast?

    What a cute little piggy.

  8. Belated National Pig Day, dear Marysol (shame on me, how could I have forgotten)! Even at this early hour, I'm salivating and off to print this yummy recipe (my kids will love it since it looks better than my recipe). Happy Michigan March!

  9. NC, naughty Hamrietta was made of marzipan. One of my favorite mediums to play with...and eat, but only the defective pieces.

    Dear Ann, of course Gumbo for breakfast would be perfectly acceptable. In fact, Gumbo is meant to be enjoyed year round, and at all hours of the day or night. Or so I seem to think.

    Joey, don't be too hard on yourself, my friend. This holiday seems to be one of those monumental events only 3 people in the entire nation know about.

  10. I'm not used to seeing non-dessert on your blog but it looks delicious and the pictures are just as beautiful as usual. The piggy is too cute! Squeel!

  11. Marysol
    Always a delight to spend a few minutes with you; that gumbo looks and tastes wonderful: I could tell by the list of ingredients that it is nothing short of exceptional
    Plus I adore the little pig, he is a delight. Anyone would adopt the little creature

  12. Thanks Jessica! True, it's not often I post anything savory, but I make this dish so often throughout the year, that I just had to add it. Now, back to sweets!

    Jo, Hamrietta and I thank you!

  13. Yummo gumbo. It looks so comforting....

    Cute little piggy too :P

  14. Hi, Marysol. Great post - as always - and it makes me want to do this over the weekend. One question: I have a jar of file powder (it's very old now and awaiting its first use!), but why isn't it an ingredient in your gumbo? I know it's just a thickener.

    Maybe I'll do pork-free, in honour of Hamrietta (or, else, just marzipan-free...).


  15. I just visited a fellow blogger who wrote a post about the Yassa dish, a Senegalese delicacy and now you post this. Oh my God! And it's only mid-morning in GB. And I only have a paltry sardine sandwich for lunch. You know what? The Ganaian restaurant just down the road beckons me after this succulent and yummy post of yours. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  16. Hello there Tigerfish!

    Dan, Filé is considered an important ingredient in Gumbo today. And you're right, it is used to thicken and flavor the stew.
    But I'll let you in on a little secret, I have tried Filé, and, honestly, was not impressed by it.

    So I use several herbs, including Thyme (which tastes similar to Sassafras) for flavor, and roux to thicken the Seafood Gumbo.
    Of course, many people prefer to use Okra for its thickening properties. But, well, I can't.

    While I realize admitting my disdain, for...gag...Okra, might get me blasted with a Bazooka, at close range, by its countless aficionados, I just can't get that stuff past my lips.

    In any case, if your filé has been kept tightly sealed, and stored in a cool, dry and dark place, it should be fine to use.
    If the smell is faint, you could just sprinkle it over the finished Gumbo, instead of incorporating it into the dish. Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do.

    Greetings Cubano! You know, I learn so much from you. I looked up "Yassa," and agree, it's a delicacy that demands the spotlight. And I need to explore this one further.

    Btw, what's so bad about sardines? Have you tried sardines in hot Louisiana sauce? Ay Dios mío, those are my favorites.
    If you're a fan of heat and spicy foods, you and I should get together, for a lovely lunch of sardines. Or, let's splurge and go for the Yassa! I'll take either.

    Thank you all very kindly!

  17. Marysol, I don't know which is more gorgeous, your gumbo or your photos themselves! I am always just astonished by your glorious photography, not to mention the foods you create, with every new post.

    The pig is pretty darn cute too!

  18. Your seafood gumbo looks really appetizing Sol! I'm copying your recipe. The pink marzipan pig is here typical of Christmas, where they are sold in the pastry shops. Don't know why it is associated with Christmas, but my German hubby said that every Christmas morning, as a child he received a pink marzipan pig at his place at the table. So now I also buy one for him for Christmas morning every year. (I love marzipan in any shape!)
    Un abrazo amiga.

  19. I love your piggy and my husband would be your slave for a day in exchange for that gumbo. Maybe I should make it for him and get him to plant all my bulbs for me. :-)

  20. HOw cute is Hamrietta! I'm hoping your Winter order got sent here instead. I'm still waiting for it to get cool enough for me to attempt something like gumbo. Yum!

  21. Lynn, it may not be Spring, but I've already started Spring cleaning, so I'm going to need all the help I can get. When can I expect your DH?
    This is so timely! :-)

    Thank you all very, very kindly!

  22. Love your photos and that gumbo does sound wonderful! Cute Hamrietta, too!

  23. Anonymous9/3/10

    Hi, Marysol. Just a quick update: I did make your gumbo Saturday, and it turned out really well! I substituted more of our local spot- and side-stripe-shrimp for the crabmeat (not available on the island right now). With my own home-made shrimp stock, it turned out rich and flavourful.

    Thanks again,


  24. Oh Mary! the gumbo looks scrumptious. It s dark and really enticing. ive heard of gumbo and how good it is but i must rry making it .

    That little pig is so cute LOL..youre an artist!

  25. Dan, I'm very pleased you enjoyed it! That's one of the many reasons I love Gumbo, I can use whatever is available, and adapt it many different ways.

    Thank you very kindly Zurin and Elle!

  26. At the moment, it is very cold and there's a nasty Northern wind blowing...

    Have a good day!



  27. I love your gumbo... so beautifully done and such lovely accessories... I feel all warm inside looking at it!

  28. How exciting to have Lebanese/Syrian blood! I am totally addicted to the foods of the Middle East...

    Have a great weekend (here, the sun is shining),


  29. Sueeee, sueeee...Belated Pig Day to you. I have missed seeing your delightful pages Sol, but oh that recipe for gumbo. We had some down in SC and I'm wondering if you couldn't do a roux in the oven. btw, I saw roux in a jar down in LA years ago. Bought it but never tried it, and I suspect it got pitched when we did the renovation. But dear Sol, 20 min? I need a stove stool...

  30. Rosa, finally, the weather here bares a striking resemblance to Spring, and I'm as happy as Hamrietta in mud!

    Oh, c'mon Maureen, 20 minutes is a walk in the park!...Except you'd be stuck in the kitchen, standing over a hot stove, and stirring.
    Have I convinced you?

    I've honestly never considered making a roux in the oven. But with the oven's even heat, I'll bet there would be less chance for the roux to burn. Now, I'll have to try this. You and your wonderful ideas.

    Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments!

  31. Marysol,
    Your pictures transport me! This look like an impressive dish. I have never made Gumbo--not sure why but it's about to change.:-)
    The little pig is so cute. When I was a kid in France my mom's favorite treat at our local pastry shop was a little marzipan pastry shaped like a little pig.

  32. Been out of commission for a while, and I am sorry to have missed your gumbo! Looks gorgeous and delicious! but being allergic, I'm going to have to pass, but I am sorry to have missed National Pig Day. However at my house, every day is Pig day, especially when you have college age boys to feed on a daily basis :)

  33. Anonymous22/3/10

    Um, Sol? I didn't know you'd made your gumbo? I made it without having seen this (like say, March 6th)! So when you said your "gumbo post", I came and looked. Great minds think alike!


  34. I'm loving Hamrietta. Did you eat her?
    And I'm loving the Gumbo. (I'm a fount of love these days!)
    As I have no fear of roux (she says smugly) I might just whip this up over the weekend. Will let you know how it goes.

    Have a good week ahead, Marysol!

    It's 8am, 32C and oppressively muggy here.

  35. Alexa, I didn't know you once lived in France. I can just imagine all the spectacular pastry shops you've been to.

    Carol, you can always make a vegetarian Gumbo! It may not make you dance, without the seafood and sausage, but it might still be good. Oh, who am I kidding! Don't do it.

    Rob, someday you and I must have a cook-a-thon. The boys can be our assistants, assuming they're willing.

    Dee, how could you ask me that? Of course I did not eat Hamrietta.
    She remained—mostly intact—until Thumper got a hold of her. And so, she is now residing at the Hog Heaven Hilton. But I had nothing to do with it.