Foodie Fights Winner
Gumbo and Rice

A Glimpse At Process: First Draft Gumbo


I want your help. I NEED your help. But more on that later…

Over a week ago Marc at No Recipes posted a kick-ass recipe (I know, ironic right?) for Shrimp and Duck Gumbo. I haven’t tried to cook gumbo in maybe four years. Reading through the post it became obvious I needed to give it another shot.

I mean come on, all the components are perfect for a California coastal town! Fresh produce? Fresh seafood? My new found bounty of goose fat in the freezer? I’ve got everything I need!

But see, you don’t just start chucking goose fat around like it grows on trees. If I plan on using ingredients I regard as precious, expensive, or just plain a pain in the ass to get, I’ll make a first run just to work out any major flavor problems beforehand. As with this example, it’s done quick, taking shortcuts and disregarding a few standard procedures entirely. You’ll see: adding the rice straight to the gumbo pot? What the hell is that? It was at a friends house, I had to get it done quick, and I didn’t want to use an extra pot.

Oh, and a trazillion dollars to whoever invents the goose fat tree.

What I Used

  • Onion, diced
  • Celery, diced
  • Green Bell Pepper, diced
  • Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • Serrano Peppers, diced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Andouille Sausage, cut into bite sizes
  • Large Shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Chicken Broth
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Sweet Hungarian Paprika
  • Bay Leaves
  • Flour
  • Butter, clarified
  • Short Grain Sushi Rice

What I Did

  1. In a pot melt some butter, add salt, and sweat the Holy Trinity, garlic, and Serrano peppers.
  2. Remove them from the pot, add more butter, add flour, and make the roux, stirring until it reaches a medium blond color.
  3. Add the chicken broth and fully incorporate the roux. Add Andouille, old bay, bay leaves, paprika, and the vegetables back in. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the rice to the same pot and cook for per the rice packaging directions. Do not do this after adding the shrimp. Do this so that it syncs up with the shrimp being fully cooked.

You’ll notice the ingredient list is almost identical to Marc’s. I’m missing a few things. I’ve obviously completely horked the typical gumbo procedures. But it’s fine, I got what I was after.

No flavor problems. Time to do this for real.

By the way, you may notice the picture looks a little different. I shot it with my friend’s D80. This wasn’t even going to be a post at first but he had it lying around so we said What-The-Hell. I’m glad because it gave me this chance to elaborate on my process, but more importantly ask:

What should I do?!?! I already know the procedural changes I’ll make. I know a couple of the ingredients I’ll change. But there’s so much potential for awesomeness here I want to take any suggestions you might have. Seriously, shoot away in the comments.


I would be tempted to substitute Smoked Spanish Paprika from Penzey’s in place of the Sweet Hungarian…it would change the flavor focus of the dish for certain, but I love to experiement.

I would add bacon drippings to the roux for a flavor boost!

[...] we have here is the baby born out of my first draft of Gumbo. Just like last time, this was influenced heavily by a recent post at [...]

Add to the Commentary

Photo of Caleb Troughton

The Author

Caleb Troughton is a professional front-end web developer and amateur food enthusiast. He loves to cook, write, code, and refer to himself in the third person.

Flickr Photostream