After a four-state trip to The Scintillating South (Mobile, AL; Biloxi, MS; New Orleans, LA and Pensacola, FL), you can guess that I ate VERY well.
The Great American South has not only some of the best cuisine in the U.S., but in the world. It combines the flavors of the French, Cajun, Creole and Soul and the results are always worthy enough to put the brass in the best of jazz bands.
And so it would be foolish of me if I returned from a trip to the Gulf without cooking up one of the greatest Southern Creole dishes of all time: GUMBO!
Not only is this Gumbo going to be even better (and quicker) to make in the Instant Pot, but it’s going to be one of the finest your lips & mouth ever danced with! PERFECT for a frigid night or a summer’s day!
Here’s How I Made It!:
“Gumbo” literally means “okra.” So we’ll be wanting to use some. Take a frozen box of it (even better if it’s pre-cut)…
…and because it’s as frozen as I am at the time of writing this recipe, you’re gonna wanna thaw it out.
Place it in a strainer and run under hot water until room temperature and the pieces become individual and set aside for later (they will be slimy, but that’s how okra is).
Now let’s chop up some veggies. Finely dice a green bell pepper…
…a yellow onion…
…and a few stalks/ribs of celery (and keep their leafy tops).
Take a bunch of scallions and slice them up and divide them into two halves: the whiter, crunchier bottom part and the softer, greener top part. Set the veggies aside.
Now take some chicken tenders (or boneless, skinless thighs or breasts). But when I say chicken tenders, I’m not talking the kind that’s already breaded and/or fried! Just the raw chicken tenders ;)…
…and cut them into small chunks.
Then grab some andouille (or any smoked, pre-cooked) sausage…
…and chop it up into little pieces.
Now go to the Instant Pot and toss in some butter.
Once it melts and sizzles…
…take all the veggies (except the okra and softer, greener top half of the scallions).
…and add it to the pot.
Allow it to cook in the butter for a few minutes until they soften.
Then add in the chicken and sausage…
…and cook for a few minutes more until the sausage is lightly browned and the chicken is lightly whitened.
Once done, transfer EVERYTHING in the pot to a bowl…
…and set aside.
It’s okay if there’s a few remnants of onion and such in the pot. Now it’s time to make the Cajun roux. Add some vegetable oil…
…and some flour.
Whisk together constantly for a few so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot…
…until you have achieved this color (note the onion remnants from previously in the pot that are now charred from the roux? That’s gonna give it some nice flava!)
Now comes a little trick that some people are going to attack me for (love you too). Because a Cajun-style roux isn’t the EASIEST thing to make in a stainless steel pot (which the Instant Pot comes with), add just a little Gravy Master.
The color and flavor is going to really make it sing.
We’ll also add in some lemon juice…
…and Worcestershire sauce.
Whisk immediately. You’ll see that the roux will now bubble up and become a little fluffy. Good. Very, very good.
Now add in just a little of that incredible Zatarain’s concentrated Shrimp & Crab Boil…
…some crushed garlic…
…while stirring very well and deglazing (scraping) the bottom of the pot.
Now take some ham base to create some ham broth…
…and pour it into the pot.
And take some chicken base to create some chicken broth…
…and pour it in the pot too.
Toss in a can of diced tomatoes while you’re at it…
…and give it a good stir, deglazing once again (we really don’t want anything sticking to the bottom of the pot – get any roux up that may have stuck there and make sure your mixing spoon easily glides along the bottom of the pot).
Now let’s season this Gumbo up! Use some brown sugar…
…and that Creole/Cajun seasoning. Stir together to combine.
Allow the pot to bubble, and when it does, add the chicken, sausage and veggies back into the pot.
Give it all a great stir with a final deglaze, secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
When done, it’s going to smell like a N’awlins kitchen in your house!
Heat the pot back up on “Sauté” so it comes to a bubble and add in that thawed okra…
…and the softer, greener top half of the scallions.
While the pot’s heating to bubble, take some cornstarch…
…and some water and mix together well to form a cornstarch slurry.
When the pot’s bubbling add the cornstarch slurry…
…and stir immediately. This is going to thicken that incredible gumbo up a a little.
While the pot’s bubbling, take some raw, peeled and deveined shrimp (tail on or off)…
…season it with more of that Creole/Cajun seasoning…
…(toss with your clean hands)…
…so the shrimp is lightly coated…
…and then add it to the pot and allow it to cook for just a few minutes until done (keep an eye on it as shrimp cooks fast!). It will be pinkish-white and will have curled up a bit when done.
Now comes another ingredient I may get poo-poo’d over. And that’s fine – just remember, I don’t mess around when it comes to food and know what I’m doing when I play with ingredients 😉
Add some of that All-American goodness in there. (The reason we add this now and not before pressure cooking is because the ketchup will separate too much when under pressure, which is ideal for a sauce but not for a Gumbo!). Stir it in as the shrimp cooks
Speaking of which, when the shrimp looks like this, it’s done!
Take a bowl and put some rice in it (you can make my super easy white rice recipe here and make the rice ahead of time).
And then top it off with some Gumbo…
…and some more Gumbo! Clearly I don’t mess around – this Gumbo is PACKED full of creole goodness and flavor!
And then mix it up with the rice and BOOM! Some of the BEST Gumbo you’ve ever had! Transported right back to New Orleans!
Enjoy with some buttery crackers like Club or Lance Captain’s Wafers!
- 10 oz box of frozen cut okra
- 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) of salted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
- 3 stalks/ribs of celery, finely diced with leafy tops
- 1 bunch of scallions, sliced and divided in half (crunchy white bottoms in one half and softer green tops in the other)
- 1 lb of chicken tenders (the cut of chicken, not the breaded kind), cut into small chunks. (You can also use boneless, skinless thighs or breast)
- 1 lb (or a 12 oz pack) of andouille sausage (or any smoked cajun-style sausage you wish to use), diced or cut into 1/4 inch – 1 inch slices depending on your preference
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 tbsp of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (or you can use any Louisiana Cajun/Creole Seasoning if you can’t find this), divided
- 4 cups of Chicken Broth (I used 4 tsp of Chicken Better Than Bouillon + 4 cups of water)
- 4 cups of Ham Broth (I used 4 tsp of Ham Better Than Bouillon + 4 cups of water – you can totally use 8 cups of chicken broth instead if you don’t have the ham, but I assure you, this makes it so much more special)
- 14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes (you can add a second can if you wish or leave them out completely if tomatoes in a Gumbo isn’t your thing and you prefer it Cajun style over Creole)
- 1/4 tsp of Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet
- 1 tsp of Zatarain’s Crab Boil concentrate
- 2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice (juice of half a fresh lemon)
- 2 tbsp of garlic, minced/crushed
- 2 tsp of light brown sugar
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp of white pepper
- 1 tsp of cayenne pepper (use more or less to taste)
- 1 tsp of cumin
- 2 tsp of paprika
- 2 tsp of dried thyme
- 3 tbsp cornstarch + 3 tbsp of water to form a slurry
- 1 lb of raw (or frozen raw) shrimp, peeled and deveined (tail on or off), lightly rubbed in some more Tony Chachere’s seasoning
- 1/3 cup of ketchup (yes, you read that right. And quit your hollerin’)
- White rice, to add in each finished bowl (see separate recipe)
- Lance Captain’s Wafers, Oyster Crackers or Club crackers, for crumbling
- Thaw the frozen okra by placing it in a strainer and running hot water over it until it becomes room temperature and breaks apart. Set aside
- Add the butter to the InstaInstant Pott Pot, hit “Sauté” and Adjust so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting. Once the butter’s melted and bubbling, add in the onions, bell pepper, celery and white part of the scallions. Cook for 5 minutes until softened
- Now add in the sausage and chicken and cook for another 3-5 minutes in the butter with the vegetables and cook until the sausage is lightly cooked and the chicken is white (it shouldn’t be fully cooked). When done, remove the liner pot and dump the veggies, chicken and sausage in a large bowl and set aside (it’s okay if a few stragglers remain in the pot)
- Next, create the Cajun roux (which is a thickening base and gives a Gumbo its color) by adding in the vegetable oil, flour and 1 tsp of the Tony Chachere’s Creole/Cajun seasoning. Whisk/stir often for a solid 5 minutes until it becomes a nicely browned roux (the color should look like peanut butter) Note: Make sure you whisk often/constantly or it will want to burn onto the pot. Deglaze (scrape the bottom of the pot) often with a wooden spatula or spoon
- After about 5 minutes of stirring and once the roux is beginning to darken, add the Gravy Master, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and Zatarain’s crab boil. The roux will puff up now! Add the garlic and stir for another minute
- Now, add in the ham broth, chicken broth and diced tomatoes. Deglaze the bottom of the pot again to make sure none of the roux is sticking to it. Then add in the other 1.5 tbsp of Tony Chachere’s Creole/Cajun seasoning, light brown sugar, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin and dried thyme. Stir well and add back in the chicken and sausage
- Secure the lid, hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” and hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 10 minutes (it will take 10-20 mins to come to pressure considering how much is in the pot so just be a little patient). When done cooking, allow a 10 minute natural release (meaning you do nothing for 10 minutes) followed by a quick release
- When the lid comes off, hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” and then hit “Sauté” and adjust so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting. Stir in the okra and the softer, greener half of the scallions. Once bubbling, add in the cornstarch slurry and ketchup and let bubble for 2 minutes
- Lightly rub the shrimp in some Cajun/Creole seasoning, add them to the pot and cook for about 3-5 minutes (depending on their size and if raw or frozen), stirring occasionally and checking on the shrimp so they don’t overcook (they cook fast)! They should be a pinkish-white color and curled up when done
- When ready to serve, hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” until the pot is on low heat and keeping the Gumbo warm and the bubbles die down
- Serve with some white rice scooped into the bowl and some buttery crackers (like Oyster Crackers, Lance Captain’s Wafers or Club) on the side
The darker the Cajun roux, the darker the Gumbo! So don’t skimp on that step and make sure you keep on whisking it up until it’s a nice toasty-brown color!
People may get cranky and say there’s no filé in this recipe, which the Gumbo they’re used to usually has. Well, that’s great! Now they can have one that gives their taste buds a slight change of scene and make them equally as happy. I have some uncommon specialities in this special Gumbo that make it sing. (Oh – and if you don’t care and still want filé, by all means, add filé ?)
Want to top it off with some hot sauce? Go for it!
Add double the cornstarch slurry if you want it much thicker.
On a scale of 1-5, the spice level here is a solid 3. If you want it spicier, use more cayenne and another tsp of the Zatarain’s. If you want it less spicy, use less cayenne or omit it completely.
This makes a LOT and can easily feed 8 people…or 2 with plenty of leftovers! Like so many soups, chilis and stews, Gumbo tastes even better once the flavors have cooled and melded in the fridge and then reheated!
Don’t like shrimp or sausage? No problem! Leave ’em out! (But I strongly suggest you give ’em a try if you want the true ultimate Gumbo!)