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Cajun Food: Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

Updated on June 19, 2013

My pot of Gumbo

This should be renamed:  YUMbo
This should be renamed: YUMbo | Source

Please let me know what you think of this recipe:

5 stars from 3 ratings of Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

Gumbo vs. Jambalaya

I bought shrimp, sausage, and okra, because I knew I wanted to make something hearty for the cold snap that hit our area, but also, to honor the upcoming Mardi Gras. I knew both jambalaya and gumbo used shrimp and were served with rice...however, what was the difference?

I did some research to satisfy my curiosity and what I discovered is, "They both use similar ingredients." Here are the differences I found: gumbo is a dish that cooks the rice separately and the gumbo is served on top of the rice. Jambalaya cooks the rice right in the pot, along with the other vegetables and meats. It's similar to the Spanish dish, paella.

Also, jambalaya will include both fowl and seafood in one pot, but gumbo never combines fowl or other meat, (with the exception of sausage), with seafood. Jambalaya may also include tomatoes, however, it's an optional ingredient for gumbo..

With gumbo, a thickener is added to the base. It can be okra, roux, or file. But, jambalaya does not add a thickener. The rice is added to the pot and perhaps that is considered the thickener.

There seems to be more similarities than differences. For instance, they both use the 'holy trinity' of vegetables: bell pepper, celery and onion. They both have been standard cuisine in Louisiana since the 1800's. Each dish has some variances to them; and finally, they are influenced by a broad cultural range: Spanish, African, Native American and French.

It appears that the variations of gumbo can be partially attributed to the area of Louisiana one comes from. Tomatoes are added in some of the gumbos that have had the vegetable readily available to them. The areas which did not have access to fresh tomatoes had more of a brown appearance from the roux.

Gumbo is serious business in Louisiana-it is the official state dish. And, each October there are several communities in Louisiana that hold annual gumbo festivals. In fact, Bridge City proclaims itself the 'Gumbo Capital of the World'. That is a mighty big boast, and one has to wonder how its neighbors feel about that claimed title.

You don't have to be on the Gulf of Mexico to enjoy authentic Cajun fare. If you're in Southeastern Michigan you can visit the Gumbo Restaurant and enjoy homemade recipes by owners, Jimmy and Terri Taite.

Better yet, buy the ingredients for this delicious gumbo dish and make it yourself.

Where to find Awesome Gumbo

Bridge City, Louisiana:
Bridge City, LA, USA

get directions

Touts itself as the Gumbo Capital of the world.

Mt. Clemens, MI:
53 N. Walnut St., Mount Clemens, MI, 48043 USA

get directions

Authentic Louisiana cuisine at the Gumbo Restaurant.

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 2 hours
Yields: 4-8
Fresh colorful vegetables entices the appetite
Fresh colorful vegetables entices the appetite | Source

Notes on this recipe

To create this recipe I used a combination of directions from two sources: Food and Wine: Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo by Grace Parisi, (2/2003 publication) and Good Housekeeping: Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo by Good Housekeeping.

Although either cooked or uncooked shrimp can be used, I chose to use the already cooked shrimp and removed the tails before throwing them in the pot.

I used fresh Italian Flat-Leaf parsley, adding it as the very last ingredient.

Good Housekeeping called for frozen okra and canned stewed tomatoes. I adjusted those two ingredients by simply replacing them with fresh, dicing the tomatoes, and cutting the okra in threes.

If you have never cooked or eaten okra before, as was the case for me, do not be surprised when you cut into this vegetable. It has a sticky, slimy feel to the inside where the seeds are. I suppose that is what helps it to thicken the gumbo.

Although the recipe calls for hot sausage, I actually used sweet Italian. It was my preference, but a true gumbo has a bite to it that gets a boost from the hot sausage.

Usually green bell peppers are used, however, I find the taste rather bitter. I substituted a red bell pepper and enjoyed that much more.

Bon appétit!

Ingredients for Gumbo

  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage, Hot
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 Cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 Cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Cup fresh okra, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. shrimp-shelled and deveined, cooked or uncooked
  • 1 C. rice

Visual Steps for Gumbo

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Gumbo ingredientsSausage is part of the standard ingredients for gumbo.Gumbo uses a 'holy trinity' of celery, onion, and bell pepper.Gumbo includes a chicken stock or broth.Shrimp is always added to the gumbo last.
Gumbo ingredients
Gumbo ingredients | Source
Sausage is part of the standard ingredients for gumbo.
Sausage is part of the standard ingredients for gumbo. | Source
Gumbo uses a 'holy trinity' of celery, onion, and bell pepper.
Gumbo uses a 'holy trinity' of celery, onion, and bell pepper. | Source
Gumbo includes a chicken stock or broth.
Gumbo includes a chicken stock or broth. | Source
Shrimp is always added to the gumbo last.
Shrimp is always added to the gumbo last. | Source

How to make Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a 6 quart Dutch oven on medium-high until hot. Add sausage and cook for 8 minutes or until well browned, turning frequently. Remove the sausages to a plate to cool for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the bell pepper, onions, celery, chopped garlic, and cayenne to the drippings. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and cook on medium high for about 2-3 minutes or until softened. Remove the vegetable mixture into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the flour into the drippings in the pot and stir until well blended. Cook 4-5 minutes until the flour mixture, (roux), is deep brown, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the chicken stock and stir until blended. Return the cooked vegetables to the pot, along with the tomatoes, okra, bay leaf, thyme, and paprika.
  5. Cut the sausages diagonally in 2-3 pieces and return to the pot. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. While Gumbo is simmering, cook the rice according to package directions.
  7. After 30 minutes add the shrimp and, if uncooked, cook for about 3 minutes or until they turn opaque.
  8. Add the parsley and give the pot a couple of stirs. Ready to serve!
  9. Serve with rice and a loaf of crusty French or Italian bread.
  10. Bring out the Hot Sauce for those who enjoy it extra spicy.

The finished product:

Serve with rice or bread
Serve with rice or bread | Source


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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      Oh, gosh, Vespa, I've been away for awhile...thank you for reading this hub and commenting. It is a wonderful cold weather meal!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      This sounds delicious! I didn´t realize there were so many similarities and differences between jambalaya and gumbo. I appreciate your substitutions, especially the red for the green pepper.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi, Thanks for pinning this, Vicki. I loved making this recipe, although there are a lot of components to it. And, it was so good. Hope you give it a try soon...or wait for the cold, winter months. :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This recipe looks awesome. I made gumbo years and years ago. I need to try it again! Pinning this one!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Linda, I'm glad you are inspired by this. I thought it would be way harder to make then it was, and trust is delicious!

      Hello ChitrangadaSharan Nice to see you here and I hope you give it a try soon. :)

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This looks very tempting and definitely warm, with all the interesting combination of ingredients!


    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Yum!! I am going to make my first ever Gumbo Soup soon!! Thank you!! :)

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi DDE Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope you try this recipe, it is just right for cold weather.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Cajun Food: Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo looks so delicious and is definitely worth a try.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Nell Forget about finding it over there, just make yourself a big batch and enjoy with a crusty loaf of bread. YUM!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      It all looks totally delicious! I have never tried either before, but I will have to take a look around to see if they make it over here, totally yum!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Sherry, it was very good. I haven't made the jambalaya yet. I didn't think I'd like okra, but found it perfect for this dish. Thanks for commenting.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 

      7 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I like to make jambalaya, but I've never tried gumbo. I'll have to give it a try. Sounds heavenly!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Dianne-any cold day is a great opportunity for chili, stew or soup. This was my first attempt and I really enjoyed it. I'll be cooking up another batch before the winter is over. I hope you and your husband enjoy your gumbo.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      This is the perfect recipe for a chilly day in Florida. I love the combinations listed in the recipe. I haven't had okra in quite awhile, may be it's time to make a pot of this wonderful gumbo.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much Suzie, for the information you gave me. Well...if I am EVER in Dublin I'll have at least one restaurant that is recommended, lol

      Hi Eddy-this is one of those recipes for a cold winter day. :) Enjoy!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      Mmmm another wonderful recipe for me to save.

      Have a wonderful day.


    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Denise,

      The restaurant is called "Tante Zoes" and is in Temple Bar district of Dublin city centre. I tend to have fish or chicken based dishes and have not been unfortunately for a year or so but fond fond memories of food and whole ambiance. Cajun & Creole cuisine, yummy!!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Go for it Susan-this was my first try and it turned out wonderfully.

      Ha ha, Danette! That's a good one. I'll take you up on that offer. I think I need to add 'hot sauce' to the ingredients as a 'serve with'. Thanks for the vote up.

      Hi Praseito, if that photo is making your mouth water just wait until the pot starts to simmer and wafts throughout the house! Thanks for commenting.

      Leslie-thanks for stopping by...your comments always crack me up. No, nothing of the kind regarding any of your hubs or comments. I have been trying to keep up with a certain # of hubs each month to prepare for the possibility of applying for apprenticeship. So, I'm really behind in my reading. Hugs to you!

      Hi Ruby-thanks. I think I can say that "I love gumbo" too! It was delicious.

      Hi Suzie-wow-what is the name of that favorite restaurant? Give it a go and tell me what you think. BTW-what do you order from their menu?

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Sounds delicious Denise, have never made Cajun but it is my favorite restaurant in Dublin so will have to give Gumbo a try!! Many thanks for a tasty dish!! voted up +++

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Yummy Yummy Yummy. I love gumbo and i am in the mood for a good hot dish.....Thank you Denise..

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      7 years ago

      to be honest - i saw this hub on the feed and it looked SO interesting...i felt like i was back in jamaica for a minute - altho - because i'm a terribly picky eater (and NO - that doesn't necessarily mean i'm bad in bed..LOL) i had a hard time finding sustenance in jamaica..

      miss ya over in my little hub-corner, dear - hope the opinionated bitch in me didn't offend you in any way! it certainly never meant to!

    • prasetio30 profile image


      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I am hungry just looking at the picture above. I love the recipe and it sound delicious. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!


    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Dee, you need to add Alton IL to your map. Quincy makes an awesome gumbo! Next time you are in town, I'll have him make a batch. This looks good and I'm glad it turned out well for you. Voted up

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I was thinking of making Jambalaya this week but have wanted to try Gumbo. After reading your hub I think Gumbo it will be. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Frank-you're welcome. I hope you whip up a batch and enjoy it. I know I did and can't wait to make another batch. It's probably the only way I will ever eat okra! lol.

      Wow, Nancy, I'm impressed. This was my very first time making it and I was pleased with the results. It was delicious. Happy cooking to you.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      7 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Thanks so much Denise. I used to make this all the time in the crock pot. Will get back to it.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      7 years ago from Shelton

      see you're getting me ready for the New Orleans Football this weekend!!! Ha! thank you


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