This recipe for Slow Cooker Gumbo is very simple, even though it takes about 20 minutes of advance preparation. It is worth that few minutes of time to allow this delicious gumbo to simmer all day in your Crock-Pot.
I have a recipe for a gumbo that was given to my by my friend, Pat, who lived in New Orleans for a while. It’s a seafood gumbo and is just amazing. This isn’t it. I have promised her that I would never publish the recipe she shared with me.
But…I have come up with this recipe and it is equally delicious; using Andouille sausage and chicken, it has all of the components of an authentic gumbo. The advance preparation is comprised of chopping onions, bell pepper, celery, jalapeno; slicing and browning the Andouille sausage, and making a coppery-colored roux of bacon fat (sure you can use oil, but it won’t be the same) and flour.
The vegetables and the diced chicken go into the crock-pot raw, along with a host of seasonings, okra, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and water. Yes. Water. Normally I will flavor soups and stews with stock, but this gumbo doesn’t need it. Trust me.
The Andouille sausage I used for this gumbo was “hot” spiced, so I didn’t add any more heat than the jalapeno peppers. If you can’t find a “hot” version of Andouille, you might want to adjust the heat of this recipe by adding crushed red pepper flakes, or hot sauce to suit your tastes. Since the Andouille was smoked, it didn’t need to cook, but I wanted to brown the outside of the slices just a bit. I used my skillet with grill lines on it, but any skillet will work. And, honestly, this step could be skipped altogether. It’s just that the charring of the outside of the sausage does add an element of flavor to the gumbo.
With gumbo, the real trick is the roux. A roux for gumbo isn’t hard, you just have to be diligent to get the color of the roux dark enough without burning it. I used bacon fat for mine, for the added flavor. Of course, you could use oil. But why? *big smile*
I keep bacon drippings in a jar in my refrigerator to use for flavoring recipes. If you don’t, the amount of bacon fat you will need for the roux is what you would get from approximately 8 slices of fatty bacon. Just crisp up some bacon, reserve it for later (because it would be great to crumble on the top of your gumbo) and use the fat for the roux.
Combining the bacon fat with all-purpose flour, you patiently stir the mixture until it is a dark copper color. Imagine a tarnished penny. That’s the color you’re aiming for with the roux. It’s pretty imperative to stir the roux regularly so it won’t burn. It’ll take you about 15-20 minutes, over medium heat.
Everything is then combined in the slow cooker, which is covered and set to low to cook for 8 hours. I served mine over rice, but that isn’t even necessary.
This recipe freezes well, but I can promise you won’t have any leftovers. Try it for the Super Bowl on Sunday…everyone will love it!
- ⅓ cup bacon fat
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pound Andouille sausage, cut in ¼" slices, browned
- 2 cups diced, boneless, skinless chicken
- 3 cups sliced okra (frozen is fine...I used some from my garden I had in the freezer)
- 1 -14 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 -14 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1½ cups diced onion
- 1 cup diced bell peppers (any color works)
- 1 cup diced celery (about 2 ribs)
- 1 -2 minced jalapeno pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoons basil leaves
- 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon savory
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 cups water
- FOR THE ROUX:
- Combine the bacon fat and all-purpose flour in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan and heat on medium to medium-low for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir this mixture regularly until it turns a dark copper color, being careful not to burn it.
- FOR THE SAUSAGE:
- Slice the sausages into ¼" discs add them to a skillet, over medium heat, frying them until each side is slightly charred, then add them to the slow cooker.
- Add all of the other ingredients (the diced raw chicken, okra, diced tomatoes (with liquid), tomato sauce, onions, bell peppers, celery, jalapeno, and all of the spices.
- Pour roux over contents of slow cooker, then add the water.
- Stir the contents of the slow cooker to combine well.
- Place the cover on the slow cooker and set it to cook on low for 8 hours.
- Serve over rice, if desired.