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  • Writer's pictureCheré Dastugue Coen


Autumn means gumbo weather.

Artigues Gumbo (credit Randy Schmidt)

It’s gumbo weather, y’all, that time of year when temps begin to descend and we in Louisiana have an “envie” for our iconic dish made with a roux and all kinds of delectable ingredients (depending on your taste and chef). And this week marks two important gumbo-dacious events. National Gumbo Day is Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, and the 33rd Annual World Championship Gumbo Cookoff is this weekend, Oct. 14-15, 2023, in downtown New Iberia, Louisiana.

And that's not all! Louisiana is bursting with festivals for their favorite dish.

The Louisiana Gumbo Festival is Thursday through Sunday (Oct. 12-15, 2023) in Chackbay, Louisiana, as well as the 50th Bridge City Gumbo Festival in Bridge City outside New Orleans. There will be plenty of arguments here, but Bridge City was designated the "Gumbo Capital of the World" by Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards in 1973, when the festival began. There will naturally be gumbo stewing at the annual Blackpot Festival and Cookoff Oct. 27-28, 2023, in Lafayette and the 19th annual Gumbo Cookoff Oct. 28, 2023, in Crowley, both, naturally, in the Bayou State.

Gumbos always begin with a roux, a mixture of flour and oil that’s painstakingly sautéed on the stove for many minutes. The texture and color of a roux depends wholly on the chef, and usually ranges from a light roux to be used with seafood, like those Creole gumbos made in New Orleans and surrounding parishes to a rich dark roux on the Cajun prairies with meats such as duck, andouille sausage and chicken.

Want to know more? We posted last fall a full examination of the different types of gumbo and you can read it here.

This fall, we're offering a few Louisiana restaurants that offer gumbo, compiled by Mallory Furry of Mindy Bianca Public Relations. Below you'll find recipes if you want to try your hand at gumbo at home.

Featuring mouthwatering seafood, tender meats, and a perfect balance of spices, this gumbo will transport you to the heart of Louisianan cuisine. Chef Ron created a stuffed gumbo recipe that’s proudly featured at his restaurant. We recommend the Mumbo Gumbo, which features chicken, shrimp, crabmeat, crawfish, sausage, tomato and okra … all the best flavors of Louisiana! Take it up a notch with the Yumbo Mumbo Gumbo, which includes the addition of golden fried shrimp on top (see photo at right) for a little extra seafood deliciousness.

When you’re the destination that’s home to the notable Cajun Bayou Food Trail, it only makes sense that there are not-so-hidden gumbo gems found both up and down the Bayou. Especially since nearby Chakbay, Louisiana, is the “Gumbo Capital of Louisiana” and is where the Louisiana Gumbo Festival is held every October. In short, this parish knows its gumbo! A popular local place is Griffin’s Restaurant, which serves chicken gumbo, sausage gumbo and okra gumbo. Owner Gina Griffin says the secret to a delicious gumbo is the stock. While she’s a true Cajun chef who uses her palate to measure ingredients rather than pulling out a measuring spoon, Gina’s gumbo recipe is easy enough that it can be made at home. The recipe can be found at the end of this release, though it doesn’t mention one of Gina’s favorite add-ins … potato salad! People in these parts often eat potato salad with their gumbo, either on the side or in the gumbo itself (it’s totally personal preference, and locals are split right down the middle). As for Gina, she prefers the potato salad in the gumbo, along with a boiled egg.

Though Lake Charles is still considered a Gulf Coast destination, its location on the border of Louisiana and Texas brings a unique twist to the area’s culinary offerings. You’ll find fresh seafood from the Gulf, Cajun and Creole influences, and a twinge of Texas thanks to the presence of smoked meats. When it comes to gumbo, you want your roux to be nice and dark – chocolate-colored, if you will – and that sets the stage for the taste of the entire dish. Luckily for the hungry patrons in Lake Charles, Mama Reta has perfected her roux and her gumbo. Her chicken and sausage gumbo features perfectly seasoned, tender, bone-in chicken and flavors that encompass the many culinary influences found in Lake Charles.

Griffin's Gumbo (credit Louisiana's Cajun Bayou)

While it’s no mystery that some of the most scenic views and charming Louisiana towns can be found on The Northshore, what IS a mystery is the gumbo being served at Artigue’s, a family-owned and operated market offering all the essentials … including bowls of signature gumbo. It’s only available on select days, making it a special treat for market-goers. Until it’s announced on social media, no one knows the flavors being offered. You could get shrimp and okra, chicken and sausage, seafood … the possibilities are both endless and delicious!

Chicken and sausage gumbo.

What to try your hand at gumbo at home? Here are a couple of recipes. And if you really need help, Explore Louisiana has created this helpful video.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Courtesy of Gina Griffin of Griffin’s Restaurant

Ingredients (seasonings are measured with the heart, not a measuring spoon):

2 onions, diced

3 bell peppers, diced

Smoked sausage, about 2 pounds

Better than a Bouillon chicken base

Onion powder

Garlic powder

Celery salt

Tony's seasoning

Boneless chicken thighs, about 5 pounds, cut into bite-sized pieces

Savoie’s Roux in the jar, about a cup

Directions: Fill your pot with water – about 2 gallons or half of your pot. Add diced onions, bell pepper, smoked sausage and about 2 to 3 tablespoons of chicken base. Add all the powdered seasonings and let boil for about 20 minutes. Then taste the juice and add what you think it needs. Usually, it’s good, but if you think it needs a little more of something, add it now! Add the chicken and let the mixture come back to a boil. While you’re waiting, scoop some Savois Roux into a bowl (about a cup, but you can add more if you want it thicker). Melt it in hot water so it is soft with no clumps. After your gumbo is boiling, add the roux, stir well and let it cook about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through but not falling apart. Taste again, adding some seasoning and pepper if needed. You may also want to add a little Kitchen Bouquet for color.

Note: If you want to amend this recipe for seafood vs. chicken, use a seafood base and shrimp. After it’s boiling well with the shrimp, add oysters. Once it’s done and everything is cooked, turn it off and add crab claw meat.

Cheré's ingredients for chicken and sausage gumbo.

And here’s a gumbo recipe by “Cajun” Karl Breaux of Lafayette from Breaux’s “Cookin’ in Cajun Country” cookbook.

Avery Island Shrimp Gumbo

64 ounces shrimp stock or seafood stock

32 ounces water

2 cups roux

2 medium onions, chopped

1 medium bell pepper, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 ounces dry shrimp powder (available in Asian grocery stores)

5 teaspoons Cajun/Creole seasoning

3 pounds medium shrimp, cleaned and deveined

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 bunch parsley, chopped

Directions: Bring the shrimp stock and water to a boil in a large soup pot. Add roux and stir until completely dissolved. Add onions, bell pepper, celery, shrimp powder and Cajun/Creole seasoning and cook on medium-high heat for 45 minutes. Gumbo will reduce. Add shrimp and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Turn off heat under the soup pot.

Add the green onions and parsley. Let sit for 30 minutes and serve in a soup bowl over 1/2 cup of cooked Louisiana rice.

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