New Orleans Gumbo | Tips From a Bad Cook

My husband lived in the culinary capital of the U.S. experiencing some of the best cuisine on the planet for many years, so he gets really bored with the food here in Texoma.

So being the wonderful wife that I am, occasionally I try to liven things up with a new dish at home to help break up my hubby’s boredom with the food options around here.

Much to our surprise, the middle child in our family discovered a love for gumbo last summer when we visited New Orleans.

So when I was trying to figure out how to liven things up around here, I tried my hand at New Orleans gumbo.

When I cook, things really get exciting because I mess things up and we never what we’re going to get.

So I attempted gumbo, and my family seemed pleasantly shocked the second time when I cooked it. The first time doesn’t count because I had no clue what I was doing.

NO matter what gumbo recipe you actually use, if you’re a really bad cook like me, PLEASE READ the following helpful tips so you won’t completely mess up your New Orleans dish:

{Holy Trinity}
  • HOLY TRINITY: There is a widely regarded trio of necessary ingredients that are essential to making any New Orleans dish, including gumbo. Those ingredients are referred to as ” THE HOLY TRINITY“. Without the holy trinity, don’t even pretend you’re making gumbo. You can call it seafood goulash without the holy trinity, but not gumbo. The holy trinity is bell peppers, onion and celery. Don’t even commit the sin of thinking you’re going to cook gumbo without these ingredients.
  • ROUX: It’s Pronounced “roo” and it’s basically combining oil and flour in a pot to make the base of the gumbo. The rous is serious business and it’s also the most risky part of making gumbo. This is not just your everyday roux. This is the kind of roux that requires real commitment because you have to stir and stir until the coloring turns to a dark chocolatey color without burning it. Achieving the perfect roux is a lofty goal that requires around 30 minutes of stirring. If your legs, hands, arms, hips or feet cannot withstand 30 minutes of intense constant stirring, then go ahead and enlist help from your family. Get them on a stirring schedule.
  • FILE: This is pronounced “fee-lay” and I really don’t know what the big deal is other than it’s a REALLY big deal. You can find it in a tiny bottle on the spice aisle. If a bottle of file can find its way to the shelf of our little rural store out here in the middle of nowhere, Texoma, then it shouldn’t be a problem to locate it anywhere.

There ya have it. Those are the three starting MUST HAVES if you want to make New Orleans gumbo.


  • Don’t accidentally dump your chopped bell peppers into the roux. I made that mistake. My beautiful bell peppers ended up turning into chunks of coal and I almost broke a tooth.
  • I think chicken stock or chicken broth works better than water for this recipe. However, please note that the container the chicken broth comes in automatically breaks the inside seal whenever you twist the top. I went through 2 containers of this stuff thinking the store sold me “already opened containers”. I almost called the grocery store to tell them that someone was going around opening their chicken broth.

Okay, now for the recipe. Being the really bad cook and not skilled at New Orleans gumbo cook that I am, I don’t have my own recipe. So I used an adaptation of this one from

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