I’m on a southern kick of sorts. I did a seed swap with a friend in Germany and to be different I sent her seeds for our okra which she had hitherto never heard of. Then of course she requested recipes to go with. This got me pulling out both my southern cookbooks and my Indian cookbooks. Both groups love this southern staple and member of the hibiscus family. For me in Ohio it’s almost as exotic as in Germany because you rarely find it at farmer’s markets and such (and when you do it’s hideously overgrown, grr. I hate when farmers grow something they clearly have no clue how to cook. So they will put enormous pods of okra on top of their display in an effort to sell it better, not realizing that seeing that will make me refuse to buy it (well that and the price tag…) When I have it I love to make okra and veggies (a southern Johnnie Marzetti if you will), but it also inspired me to dust off my gumbo recipe. Now my gumbo starts as a sacrilege because it has no shrimp or other seafood. That’s because my family doesn’t much like shrimp etc. So this is a chicken and sausage gumbo. Otherwise it’s more traditional then much of what you see on the web because it actually uses okra which many don’t. I’m going to send my friend some file powder along with the recipe so her southern experience is complete (I’d send beignet mix too, but it won’t fit into a standard letter envelope!)

Serves 10-12

Reheats- Yes

Freezes- Yes

Kid Friendly tasks- Sausage taster


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces
  • 1 pound cooked dark meat chicken
  • 1 tbsp Creole seasoning (I use McCormicks, but an alternate recipe is below)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 package frozen cut okra
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or two whole dried hot peppers
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 9 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon file powder
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar

Creole Seasoning Mix

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  •  1 tablespoons salt
  •  2 tablespoons garlic powder
  •  1 tablespoon black pepper
  •  1 tablespoon onion powder
  •  1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  •  1 tablespoon dried oregano
  •  1 tablespoon dried thyme

White rice for serving


  1. In a heavy bottomed pan fry sliced sausage in the one tablespoon of vegetable oil over high heat until well browned (8 mins or so). Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. If you have any chicken fat on hand or bacon grease (I save mine from when I roast a chicken) you can swap it one for one with the ½ c vegetable oil. Otherwise add the ½ c vegetable oil to the fat in the pan and the flour. Stir slowly and constantly for about 20 minutes or until mixture turns a rich brown (brown as an old shoe they used to say), but being careful not to let it burn, (this line can be a very fine one).
  3. Add the chopped onion, celery, and bell peppers and cook until they start to soften (about 5 minutes). Then add reserved sausage, salt, garlic thyme, tomatoes, bay leaves, cayenne. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Slowly added the chicken broth and cook for one hour.
  4. Add the sugar, file powder, Worcestershire sauce, stewed tomatoes, okra, parsley, vinegar and Cajun seasoning to the mix and cook and additional 45 minutes. When cooking is complete check for salt and pepper.

Serve ladled over hot white rice and enjoy!







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