Authentic Chicken Gumbo

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My family lived in Louisiana for 5 years when I was young, right on Bayou LaFourche in REAL Cajun country, south of New Orleans.

The food, the people, and the environment were so unique it was like being in a foreign country. Life was great - filled with good food, friends, parties, festivals and people speaking Cajun French.

I remember most going to Mama Pietre’s (prounounced Mau-mau Peet) every Sunday for lunch. A dozen friends and family members would eat a huge pot of gumbo with fried chicken and fresh French bread. Mmmmm! Sha-bonjour!

Serve with Fried Chicken or fried shrimp, fresh French Bread, and Bread Pudding for dessert. (See below for how to identify good french bread.)

Serves: 8-10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30-45 minutes


  • Chicken (I use 2 skinless/boneless breasts)
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 6 Tbsp flour
  • 5 cups boiling/hot water
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 lb sliced Polska kielbasa, Polish or smoked sausage
  • Cooked rice


  • This dish can also include or be exclusively made with Shrimp.
  • Oysters are an interesting addition if you like them.
  • The Cajuns often put okra (pronounced okrey) in their gumbo, but I have omitted it here out of personal preference.


  • Deep cooking pot
  • Large skillet


  1. Add chopped onion, celery and sausage to lightly oiled skillet. Stir fry till sausage is browned.
  2. Heat ¼ cup oil in cooking pot over med to med/low heat.
  3. Lightly brown outside of chicken. Remove chicken.
  4. Critical Step - the roux: Add flour to the warm oil (med to med/low heat), stirring constantly. DO NOT walk away. Stir until the roux is thick and a beige-brown color. (The smell is quite unusual.)
  5. Add cooked onion, celery and sausage.
  6. Add 5 cups of boiling water.
  7. Chop chicken and add to gumbo.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Simmer 30-45 minutes, or until you can’t wait any longer!
  10. Serve over rice with lightly toasted French Bread.

What you should know

  • Roux is pronounced like roo (rhymes with boo). See Wikipedia.org for Roux and Gumbo definitions.

  • A good French Bread is crunchy on the outside but very, very soft on the inside. Buy fresh if you can find. If not, test it: should be very soft when you squeeze, and very airy and light. The top should be lightly brown. I often get the Francisco brand from the market. Toast it till it’s crunchy, then slice and butter. Mmmm!

Re: Authentic Chicken Gumbo

Nice recipe. But to qualify as “gumbo” you’ve gotta have okra. Otherwise all you have is goulash.

Re: Authentic Chicken Gumbo

well I love the fact that you have spent some time in my beloved bayou Lafourche!!! Where is it that you lived? my family is all “up” and “down” the bayou but mostly from Galliano. I have to say you pretty much nail the gumbo recipe, but would like to add that my mom usually cooks down the chicken, (we mainly like legs and thighs) in the roux and “chef seasoning” before adding the water. I think it gives the chicken great taste and no, you don’t always have to have okra, (love that you said “okrey”!) in your gumbo. We never put okra in our chicken gumbo but ALWAYS in our seafood or shrimp gumbo. My favorite gumbo is shrimp and okra gumbo!

Re: Authentic Chicken Gumbo

Casie: Thanks for the compliment on the recipe. Though I can’t take credit for it as I got it from a lovely old woman who lived in Cut Off. I went to Junior High in Golden Meadow and of course South Lafourche High, WAY back when. Had lots of friends all along Lafourche, including Galliano. My family is not Cajun, but we sure loved the people and of course the food!

I didn’t put the “Chef Seasoning” in the list because I’ve never found it where I live now but will look again. I did find some File Gumbo and often add a pinch of that. Looking forward to seeing some of your recipes. I especially need a good one for Etouffee! And though I haven’t seen it out here, I’d love to know how to BBQ Alligator tail. Take care.

Re: Authentic Chicken Gumbo