Cafe Home This Month's Menus All Recipes

Phil's version of Fred's Chicken Gumbo

I think Gumbo is Cajun for Stew, at least that's what it looks like to this Yankee. Craig Loest says this version is not Gumbo because it doesn't have okra. Craig says Okra and Gumbo are the same thing like you can't be Texan unless you have an attitude and were actually born in the state. Craig has a response to this - as usual - you can read it at the bottom of this page. At any rate, the difference between what I am calling Gumbo and stew is the addition of a few key ingredients. First of which is the Rue prepared by adding flour to heated oil while stirring constantly and then continuing to stir constantly until it turns a lovely shade of brown. Cook it longer for a dark brown, shorter for light brown. If you burn your Rue - throw it away and start again. The other stuff is Gumbo File, a greenish substance that gives Gumbo its distinctive color and taste and then some Cajun spices to add some heat.

This recipe is intentionally vague - no amounts given and not a lot of direction because it comes from Fred who told me not to tell anyone or he'd have to hurt me and Fred is a really big Cajun so I believe him.

Stuff You'll Need

  • You'll need chicken, of course, boiled, deboned, deskinned and cut into a bunch of pieces.
  • You'll also need some chicken broth which you could make yourself if you were so inlcined.
  • Oil and flour for Rue
  • Some Vegetables for flavor - chopped onions, bell peppers, maybe Okra, but only if you're from the South, Celery if you're a Yankee.
  • Some of that special Cajun Sausage, sliced and fried is a nice addition as is a fistful of shrimp, peeled and deveined.
  • Spices include garlic, salt & pepper, Gumbo File, Celery Salt and a Creole Spice of ill repute



  • Make the Rue as I described earlier put it in a big pot - cast Iron if you got one
  • Add all the vegetables
  • Add broth
  • Add seasonings and simmer for awhile
  • Add meat and cook for a long time over low heat adding water as necessary - and don't scrape the bottom until the pot is in the sink.
  • Serve over Rice

Sounds like a stew doesn't it? But OOOOOOwwwweeee dat's good stew.

Craig's Response
If you used Okra, you wouldn't need this artificial color and flavor chemical additive called "Gumbo File". You would get real okra flavor, real okra texture (read slimy), and real green okra color. Besides, It was not me who said that OKRA=GUMBO, it was the dictionary in the church office.

Craig (A real Texan with an attitude whose parents spent enough time in Louisiana to properly train their issue in the art of gumbo and the ability to distinguish it from soup, which itself is different from stew.)