Andouille Sausage, Shrimp and Oyster Gumbo


Real Stew

Published by Harvard Common Press

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

A gumbo is a whole meal in Louisiana. It’s hard to say how gumbo was invented, although its connection to Africa is not in doubt. According to one legend, it came about when okra was introduced to Mobile, Alabama, in 1704 by twenty five French mademoiselles known as the Cassette girls, who arrived in search of husbands. They came by way of the West Indies, where they had acquired okra from African slaves, who called the plant gumbo and used it in stews, also called gumbo. Today a gumbo does not have to contain okra to be called gumbo. The most popular ingredients used in a gumbo are sausage, andouille, shrimp, oysters, crabs, duck, and chicken. Backwoods cooks are known to throw alligator, squirrel, venison, and nutria (a water rat that populates the bayous) into the pot. I’m quite wild about gumbos, especially when they mix meats with seafood, as this recipe does. Serve over rice.

Makes4 servings

Cooking Methodstewing



Total Timeunder 4 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free



Taste and Texturerich, savory, spiced

Type of Dishsoup


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound andouille sausages or Polish kielbasa, sliced
  • ¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium size onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 1½ quarts cold water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1¼ pounds fresh shrimp with their heads on or 10 ounces previously frozen headless shrimp
  • 24 oysters, washed well, soaked in cold water to cover mixed with 1 tablespoon baking soda for 1 hour, drained, and shucked, plus the oyster liquor (about 1 cup liquor)
  • One 14 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, with their juices
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • ½ cup sliced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves


  1. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Brown the sausages, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a platter with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat and make a roux by adding the flour, stirring with a whisk or wooden spoon, almost constantly over medium heat until dark golden brown, about 45 minutes. Lower the heat if the roux is cooking too fast.

  2. Add the bell peppers and onion. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the vegetables are soft, stirring every once in a while, 6 to 10 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water to deglaze, the pan, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom.

  3. In a medium-size saucepan, bring the 1½ quarts of water to a boil with the bay leaf and salt. Drop the shrimp into the boiling water with their shells on, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon, reduce the heat to low, and let the water simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, peel the shrimp, throwing the shells and heads back into the simmering water. Strain the shrimp water immediately, discarding the shells and bay leaf. Pour the shrimp stock into a large clean pot and bring to a boil. Stir in the roux mixture, sausage, oyster liquor, tomatoes, thyme, oregano, cayenne, black pepper, Tabasco, and shallots. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

  4. Stir in the shrimp, oysters, and coriander and cook until the shrimp are pink or orange and the edges of the oysters have curled up, 3 to 8 minutes (keep checking). Serve immediately.

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