Just a quick note – I’ve roughly estimated the amounts of ingredients here to put this recipe into writing, but I usually do it by eye, so you should just put in however much of each ingredient feels right to you! (Gumbo’s a pretty forgiving dish for the chef, and it’s really varied and soulful, so you can get away with a lot of rough measurements. It’s an art, not an exact science!)
All right, let’s get started!
One chicken breast or thigh per person, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
12 baby potatoes, quartered
150g or so of chorizo, chopped
2 sticks of celery, sliced
1 green pepper, cut into little bits (about half an inch on each side)
3 bay leaves
4 tsp of cajun spice
1 chicken stock pot or cube
4 spring onions, sliced
fresh parsley, roughly chopped
– Heat up some oil in a casserole dish or saucepan. Fry the onion on a medium heat for a minute or two until softened (not brown). If you want to oven cook this you’ll need to preheat to gas 6.
– Add the chicken and fry it up a bit until coloured on the sides, or until you’re worried your onions might overcook
– Throw in the chorizo and celery. Fry everything up for another couple of minutes so the chorizo turns everything red and the celery softens a little bit.
– Add the cajun spice and stir it around, cooking for about 1 minute so that the flavour gets a chance to get into all the other components.
– Add the potatoes, enough boiling water to cover the contents of the pan, the stock pot and the bay leaves. At this point you can either simmer it on the stove (saucepan) or put it in the oven (casserole dish). I usually do it on the hob if I’m in a hurry or in the oven if I want to leave it and go do something else while it cooks.
– Cook it, covered, for about 15 minutes until the chicken and potatoes are cooked. If cooking on the hob you want it at a gentle simmer and you’ll need to keep lifting the lid to stir it. Put the rice on and get it ready to serve.
– When it looks and smells delicious, add the peppers and cover it again for another 5 mins(ish) so they can cook through, then serve it over the rice, with the spring onions and parsley scattered on top.
It’s a perfect dinner for guests or dinner parties, since it scales to more people extremely easily, it’s a very forgiving dish in terms of ingredients, and it’s unusual and delicious! If you can’t find an ingredient, don’t be afraid to swap it out – that’s the spirit of gumbo! The dish will still be great.
It’s also still an uncommon enough dish that it’ll really catch your guest’s attention and make the dinner party stick out in their minds. Just don’t tell them how easy it was to cook!