The author and cook, Heather

Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo

Brown Sugar Kitchen

We don't really have many restaurants where I live that have great New Orleans style food. There have been a few in the past, some chains and some independent restaurants, but they didn't last. So it's a good thing it's not hard to make this gumbo! The hardest part was judging when the roux was dark enough, without burning it.

The ingredients are simple, as is usual for Cajun food. The hardest thing for me to find where I live was gumbo filé, or filé powder. Luckily, it was easy to order online. As written, this recipe is very light on the spice. I will double the amount, as a start, the next time I make it, and still be able to serve it to my children (who don't like spicy food!)

I noticed a discrepancy with the recipe in the book and the one I found online (linked below), where the book version uses a weight measurement for the chicken and the other version uses a cup measurement. So, if you go by that recipe there will be less chicken than I used here. (It will be delicious either way!)

The full recipe is online here:

Serving Size1/12 recipe, not including any rice -- she says it serves 6-8, but I think 12 is much more likely, at least if you serve over rice
Carbohydrates17g (3g fiber, 4g sugar)


[00:00]: [Music]
[00:04]: hello and welcome to cooking the books
[00:06]: with heather today we're going to be
[00:07]: working once again from brown sugar
[00:09]: kitchen and i'm really excited because
[00:11]: we're going to be making shrimp and
[00:13]: chicken gumbo um i have sort of
[00:18]: made sort of made this recipe before i
[00:20]: wanted something like it one day so i
[00:21]: kind of haved it and just did what i
[00:23]: could with what i had but i'm gonna make
[00:26]: it according to the recipe today exactly
[00:29]: so
[00:29]: um
[00:31]: first we're going to talk about all of
[00:32]: the ingredients this is
[00:34]: most of them
[00:35]: if not all of them but so the very first
[00:38]: thing we need a whole head of garlic
[00:41]: and just a little bit of olive oil to go
[00:43]: with that we're gonna need salt and
[00:45]: pepper
[00:46]: uh i did not bring that over here just
[00:48]: usual kosher salt and freshly ground
[00:51]: black pepper i don't think there are any
[00:53]: any
[00:53]: measurements for that so
[00:55]: that's fine
[00:57]: we're gonna have some uh vegetable oil i
[00:59]: just used grape seed oils neutral
[01:01]: flavored vegetable oil whatever you keep
[01:03]: on hand is fine
[01:05]: and some plain all-purpose flour
[01:08]: to make the roux
[01:11]: and then we're going to need some celery
[01:13]: some green pepper and some yellow onion
[01:16]: uh that's sort of the
[01:18]: usual three ingredients that are base
[01:20]: ingredients for
[01:22]: uh cajun creole type cooking
[01:25]: um
[01:26]: i have some chicken stock honestly i
[01:28]: made this who knows when and it's been
[01:31]: in my freezer so
[01:33]: it's probably not quite as much as the
[01:34]: recipe calls for but i can probably just
[01:36]: add a little bit of water or some
[01:39]: broth cubes whatever i have is fine um
[01:42]: we have this creole spice mix that we
[01:45]: did make previously
[01:47]: from this book and i will link it above
[01:49]: uh the recipe that we made that in it's
[01:52]: just you know mixture of spices you can
[01:55]: use probably
[01:56]: any creole spice mix you can buy in the
[01:58]: grocery store
[02:00]: um
[02:01]: this is
[02:03]: gumbo filet or filet powder um
[02:07]: it was really hard for me to find i
[02:09]: ended up having to order it
[02:11]: online and have it delivered because i
[02:13]: didn't want to go all over but i
[02:15]: couldn't find it on any of the
[02:17]: local grocery stores websites and i
[02:19]: couldn't find it on any of my
[02:22]: at my local grocery store
[02:24]: so i know that i was able to find it a
[02:26]: few years ago but i guess maybe this
[02:28]: cuisine isn't as
[02:31]: popular right now as it may have been at
[02:33]: the time because
[02:35]: cannot find this
[02:37]: at my grocery store at all
[02:41]: and
[02:44]: so
[02:46]: it is not okra season
[02:48]: but
[02:49]: luckily
[02:50]: this recipe works really well with
[02:53]: frozen okra so i bought just a bag of
[02:55]: cut okra
[02:57]: and i will defrost it a little bit
[02:59]: before i put it in but there's nothing
[03:01]: else i need to do with this and it'll be
[03:03]: perfectly fine just like this
[03:05]: and some
[03:07]: shrimp i bought these
[03:09]: peel devein tail off already she says
[03:12]: medium these say they're large but
[03:14]: they're 41 or 50 per pound and
[03:18]: they just have to be basically of a size
[03:20]: that you can eat it in one bite off your
[03:22]: spoon and that'll be fine
[03:28]: have to defrost all of that um
[03:32]: and i've got
[03:34]: some chicken uh pre-cooked shredded
[03:37]: chicken i bought a rotisserie chicken at
[03:39]: the grocery store and pulled all the
[03:40]: meat off and honestly it was less than
[03:43]: the
[03:44]: recipe calls for i added a few extra
[03:47]: legs that we happen to have in the
[03:49]: pre-cooked in the refrigerator
[03:51]: it'll probably end up being a little bit
[03:54]: less
[03:56]: chicken than it calls for but i'm sure
[03:58]: it'll be fine um i'm just not going to
[04:00]: cook any extra chicken just to
[04:03]: get the amounts exactly right
[04:06]: it's still going to be i think pretty
[04:07]: protein heavy with the amount of
[04:09]: chicken and shrimp in this dish
[04:13]: and we're gonna serve it over
[04:15]: cooked rice
[04:16]: so she doesn't tell you how to cook the
[04:18]: rice i just use a kind of standard
[04:22]: um small cheap rice cooker makes it
[04:26]: really easy and it's one of the things
[04:28]: my daughter can cook without any
[04:30]: any uh
[04:32]: interference from me so
[04:35]: uh the first thing we have to do because
[04:37]: this takes about an hour so i haven't
[04:40]: processed any of my vegetables
[04:43]: we're going to roast
[04:44]: this garlic
[04:47]: my oven is at 350 degrees and i'm we've
[04:50]: done this before but i'm just going to
[04:52]: cut it
[04:52]: across the equator
[04:56]: there we go i'm glad to see that it's
[04:59]: all pretty good
[05:01]: a lot of my garlic had started sprouting
[05:03]: already because i usually find that
[05:05]: starts to happen towards spring
[05:08]: it's harder to get really good onions
[05:10]: and garlic here
[05:12]: but
[05:13]: so now i have
[05:20]: [Music]
[05:22]: sorry
[05:23]: i have a small
[05:25]: um
[05:26]: baking tray just to hold this so i don't
[05:29]: get anything all over my oven
[05:32]: just in case it leaks i have
[05:34]: a small sheet of
[05:37]: uh aluminum foil which is very loud
[05:40]: and then i have
[05:42]: my garlic and i'm gonna put
[05:45]: just a tiny bit of olive oil this is the
[05:47]: only place we're using the olive oil on
[05:49]: this
[05:50]: recipe
[05:53]: there we go
[05:56]: and salt and pepper
[05:57]: so i've drizzled it with the oil and now
[05:60]: i'm just gonna
[06:02]: put a pinch of salt
[06:05]: and a little bit of pepper
[06:09]: and we're gonna
[06:11]: sort of just wrap this up
[06:19]: and put this in the oven 350 degrees for
[06:22]: one hour so i've got plenty of time now
[06:26]: to deal with the rest of my ingredients
[06:28]: while we wait for this it doesn't have
[06:29]: to be completely done
[06:31]: by the time we are um ready to do
[06:35]: everything else
[06:36]: but we're gonna
[06:38]: get this started real soon so our garlic
[06:41]: will be done
[06:42]: in about nine minutes so this will go
[06:44]: beep but i'll have to take it out but
[06:46]: um what we're gonna do now is make the
[06:48]: roux so this is going to be basically
[06:51]: what
[06:52]: makes the color of our gumbo and will
[06:55]: provide
[06:56]: nice toasty flavor
[06:58]: um so i have my
[07:00]: vegetable oil my grape seed oil heating
[07:03]: over medium high heat until it is very
[07:07]: hot and almost smoking
[07:09]: is what she says
[07:11]: kind of
[07:13]: kind of scares me a little bit
[07:15]: it's pretty warm
[07:19]: so
[07:20]: we're going to add our flour to this and
[07:22]: we're going to stir it constantly and
[07:24]: we're looking for a
[07:25]: deep caramel color
[07:29]: but she says it'll only take about five
[07:31]: minutes so
[07:33]: i'm gonna have to be on the ball
[07:36]: all right i'm gonna go ahead and add it
[07:40]: it's just all of our flour
[07:42]: and this will help thicken
[07:45]: and
[07:46]: provide flavor to our gumbo
[07:53]: she says to use a
[07:56]: heavy
[07:57]: bottomed pot for this i've got this
[08:01]: skillet because it's a little bit easier
[08:03]: to get to see for you guys to see but it
[08:05]: is pretty heavy bottomed one
[08:08]: it's starting to
[08:10]: get thicker um it's starting to brown
[08:15]: now i have to be very very careful
[08:22]: all right
[08:24]: i think that is deep caramel enough for
[08:26]: me
[08:28]: and i'm going to keep stirring this a
[08:30]: bit we're supposed to set this aside i
[08:32]: don't want it to keep cooking so i'm
[08:34]: going to put it in this bowl here
[08:35]: [Music]
[08:38]: so it will cool off a little bit instead
[08:40]: of burning
[08:42]: because that is really close to burnt
[08:44]: but i think that's exactly the color
[08:46]: that it is supposed to be for this so
[08:50]: we're gonna put this
[08:53]: aside
[08:54]: garlic's done i'm just going to take it
[08:55]: out and set it on the counter over here
[08:57]: so it'll cool off a little bit until i
[08:59]: need it
[09:01]: so i've got a little bit
[09:04]: more oil just vegetable oil just like i
[09:06]: used um for the roux
[09:09]: in this pot this soup pot
[09:13]: heating on medium low heat
[09:17]: okay so now i'm going to add
[09:19]: our celery onions and green pepper
[09:23]: all of which have been diced i i was not
[09:26]: super
[09:26]: [Music]
[09:28]: careful with it because they're just
[09:30]: gonna
[09:31]: cook all together
[09:34]: down into our gumbo
[09:38]: and we're supposed to cook this
[09:41]: stirring occasionally until they are
[09:43]: very soft 20 minutes she says
[09:46]: quite soft 20 minutes we'll see how long
[09:49]: it takes us you probably won't see the
[09:51]: entire 20 minutes but
[09:53]: i'm just going to use the same um
[09:56]: spatula because it doesn't really matter
[09:58]: at this point
[09:59]: so it's been a little more than 20
[10:00]: minutes um but i think at 20 minutes we
[10:03]: could have called called it good so
[10:06]: not too bad good timing um
[10:09]: now
[10:11]: this is our garlic
[10:12]: and we're supposed to squeeze it out i'm
[10:15]: going to use a little
[10:17]: butter knife over here i'm just gonna
[10:18]: try to
[10:22]: get all of this out into our pot
[10:27]: um sometimes squeezing it just seems to
[10:31]: be really messy
[10:32]: and leave behind quite a bit so
[10:35]: i'm gonna do what i can to get most of
[10:37]: it out without doing that but it's
[10:40]: nicely soft and roasted
[10:43]: okay i'm gonna call that good from a
[10:44]: garlic
[10:46]: and now
[10:48]: we're going to add
[10:50]: the stock so you see my stock is really
[10:53]: seems pretty thick
[10:55]: so and i don't have as much as i'm
[10:58]: supposed to here
[11:01]: so i'm gonna add water for the rest and
[11:03]: then if i feel like i need a little bit
[11:05]: of um
[11:07]: chicken soup base which i keep in the
[11:09]: refrigerator and cake and times like
[11:12]: these when i might need it
[11:15]: i'll add some but
[11:17]: i defrosted it
[11:19]: pepper
[11:20]: and heated it up on the stove so it
[11:22]: won't take so long
[11:24]: for this to uh come back to a boil
[11:30]: so that's all the liquid we're supposed
[11:32]: to add
[11:34]: so we're supposed to bring this to a
[11:35]: boil now
[11:37]: so i'm gonna turn it up to bring it to a
[11:39]: boil
[11:40]: okay so i'm going to call this a boil
[11:43]: we're going to reduce it a little bit
[11:46]: because we want it to simmer at this
[11:48]: point
[11:51]: that's probably good because we're about
[11:52]: to add
[11:54]: our
[11:55]: deep caramel roux that we made
[12:00]: and just
[12:02]: put all of this in here
[12:05]: it is just this side of burnt at the
[12:07]: bottom for sure
[12:09]: and we're going to whisk that in
[12:16]: now we're going to simmer this for about
[12:20]: 10 minutes i'm trying really hard to
[12:22]: make sure we get it all whisked nicely
[12:24]: all the pieces
[12:26]: all the flour all the roux
[12:29]: mixed in pretty well i see a few
[12:32]: pieces that look like they want to float
[12:35]: occasionally
[12:36]: there we go
[12:41]: there we go
[12:43]: generally as it thickens it becomes a
[12:46]: little bit easier to find those and
[12:48]: whisk them in
[12:49]: okay so we're going to put this at a
[12:51]: simmer for about 10 minutes
[12:54]: okay so it's been
[12:55]: less than 10 minutes at this point but
[12:57]: it is definitely starting to thicken
[12:59]: and
[13:00]: my okra is frozen so i'm gonna go ahead
[13:04]: and get the next step going even though
[13:06]: it's not quite 10 minutes
[13:08]: um
[13:10]: the next thing we stir in is the spice
[13:12]: mix which i've already measured out
[13:14]: and the gumbo filet
[13:17]: powder
[13:20]: which i also measured out and we're
[13:22]: gonna stir that in
[13:29]: there's not too much spice mix in here
[13:31]: so it really shouldn't be that spicy in
[13:34]: my
[13:36]: um estimation here go ahead and whisk it
[13:38]: to try and get that
[13:42]: those powders in here
[13:44]: and now i'm going to add my okra which
[13:47]: has been sitting out for a while but
[13:48]: it's still pretty frozen
[13:58]: that's okay for this application
[14:02]: there we go
[14:04]: and now we want to cook this um
[14:06]: again
[14:08]: about 10 minutes until the okra is
[14:10]: tender so we'll see you again in about
[14:13]: 10 minutes i might turn the heat up just
[14:16]: a little bit since that okra is frozen
[14:19]: too so it doesn't
[14:21]: stop cooking but i'll turn it back down
[14:23]: once it gets a little gets back to a
[14:24]: good simmer
[14:26]: okay so it took a while for my
[14:31]: gumbo to come up to a boil after i added
[14:33]: the frozen
[14:36]: okra so i cooked it for about an extra
[14:39]: five minutes at this stage just to
[14:43]: get that a little bit more done and now
[14:46]: we're going to add this is the chicken
[14:48]: that i talked about at the beginning
[14:50]: um it was
[14:51]: a rotisserie it's a rotisserie chicken
[14:54]: that i just sort of pulled apart and
[14:57]: shredded some of the pieces might be a
[14:59]: little large that's all right plus a
[15:02]: couple of chicken legs that we had
[15:03]: grilled so that's why there's some
[15:06]: darker grilly bits here
[15:10]: because it was not quite as much
[15:13]: um
[15:15]: chicken as i was expecting it
[15:21]: the amount of chicken she calls for
[15:22]: seems like it would be
[15:24]: rather a lot because this is not quite
[15:26]: enough um
[15:30]: but
[15:32]: we'll see
[15:34]: and now
[15:35]: that the chicken's all in there
[15:38]: i'm going to add this shrimp that's been
[15:41]: defrosted
[15:43]: and i picked over it because quite often
[15:45]: um
[15:46]: even if it has been
[15:48]: peeled and deveined and tail off you can
[15:51]: find bits of something so there are a
[15:54]: few
[15:56]: leggy pieces and
[15:58]: vein bits like that right there
[16:04]: so i picked that over
[16:08]: and now we're gonna cook all of this for
[16:11]: about five minutes i'm gonna stir this
[16:13]: in this is filling up the spot i'm gonna
[16:15]: stir this in and we're gonna cook it
[16:16]: about five minutes just until the shrimp
[16:18]: is done this has been cooking for about
[16:20]: i don't know six minutes or so and i've
[16:23]: sort of messed with the heat to bring it
[16:25]: up and
[16:26]: back down just to keep it
[16:29]: um
[16:30]: not too
[16:31]: bubbly and also not taking too long so
[16:34]: now we need to taste it and season it
[16:38]: because if you remember
[16:39]: um
[16:40]: we haven't put any salt in this we put a
[16:42]: little bit on the garlic and then there
[16:44]: were some in the
[16:46]: creole spice mix but
[16:49]: and then i don't even have any idea how
[16:51]: much was in the stock if any so
[16:54]: now we taste and season with salt and
[16:56]: pepper as desired
[16:59]: definitely definitely needs salt it's
[17:01]: not at all spicy currently
[17:06]: i'm going to add quite a bit of salt and
[17:08]: some pepper
[17:09]: and taste it again
[17:13]: so i'm going to put a little bit more a
[17:14]: little bit more salt
[17:17]: tastes good to me i'm going to call that
[17:19]: done i'm going to turn it down
[17:21]: to low just until we're ready to eat it
[17:24]: and we're going to serve it over some
[17:26]: plain white rice
[17:28]: and we'll let you know what we think of
[17:30]: it in just just a minute
[17:32]: [Music]
[17:40]: on this episode of cooking the books
[17:41]: with heather you watched me make shrimp
[17:43]: and chicken gumbo from tonya holland's
[17:46]: brown sugar kitchen cookbook
[17:48]: and i have to say we all really enjoyed
[17:52]: it
[17:54]: it's not really difficult it's
[17:55]: definitely something you can use a
[17:58]: frozen
[17:59]: sliced okra for
[18:01]: so you don't have to make this during
[18:03]: okra season unlike um
[18:06]: some of the okra recipes we've done like
[18:08]: roasted okra
[18:10]: um
[18:11]: i think it was i can't remember what
[18:12]: they called it with some deep brown
[18:14]: roots i'll put that up there some of
[18:15]: those don't work
[18:17]: very well with
[18:19]: frozen okra but this is something you
[18:21]: can do with frozen okra
[18:24]: and
[18:26]: you can use just a rotisserie chicken
[18:29]: or if you have leftover chicken although
[18:32]: you would have had to have a relatively
[18:34]: large roasted chicken to have enough
[18:36]: left over to
[18:37]: make this recipe because it does call
[18:39]: for quite a lot of cooked shredded
[18:41]: chicken
[18:43]: but that that was good for us we like a
[18:44]: sort of meat heavy dish in this house
[18:47]: because there's a lot of chicken and a
[18:49]: lot of shrimp in this but it makes a
[18:51]: whole ton a whole lot of
[18:53]: of gumbo so we do we did end up freezing
[18:58]: probably about enough for another
[18:60]: another dinner you know with with some
[19:01]: sides or with like a salad or some bread
[19:04]: to go with it or something and
[19:05]: definitely rice um
[19:07]: our kids love rice so adding that is
[19:09]: great if you are
[19:11]: it's not to say if you're more low carb
[19:13]: you know the rice is an addition you
[19:15]: don't need you can eat it like a soup
[19:17]: but there's a lot of flour in that roof
[19:19]: so
[19:20]: probably not very low carb i haven't run
[19:22]: the nutrition on it yet but probably not
[19:24]: very low carb
[19:27]: one of the things
[19:29]: i did
[19:32]: modify when we had some reheated was
[19:35]: that it is not very spicy as written we
[19:39]: did use her
[19:41]: um creole spice mix so it should be
[19:45]: you know as spicy as
[19:48]: she made it um but it was there was
[19:51]: barely any spice to it which was great
[19:53]: for our kids um
[19:55]: but
[19:56]: i ended up adding more spice when i
[19:59]: heated it up and it was still fine and
[20:00]: it was nice to have a little bit of that
[20:02]: spice
[20:03]: to be able to taste the spice for me um
[20:06]: and the kids still were fine with it so
[20:08]: that was good
[20:09]: um but i would probably at least double
[20:12]: the spice in this recipe and you
[20:14]: probably still won't have
[20:17]: a problem with that even if you don't
[20:19]: like very spicy things that's that's my
[20:22]: suggestion
[20:23]: that that ruse a little difficult to
[20:26]: make
[20:28]: because you want it dark but you don't
[20:30]: want it burnt so that sort of in the
[20:31]: middle is is kind of hard
[20:33]: i would rather pull it a little early
[20:36]: than
[20:37]: burn it
[20:39]: but that's me
[20:40]: um and also i probably would salt as i
[20:43]: go i ended up having to add quite a bit
[20:45]: of salt
[20:46]: rather than um at the end
[20:49]: uh which you know you don't want it to
[20:51]: be too salty especially if you're adding
[20:53]: sort of a pre-cooked pre-salted chicken
[20:55]: and and shrimp tends to be maybe a
[20:57]: little bit on the salty side being from
[20:59]: the ocean um you don't want to over salt
[21:01]: it but i would probably do a little bit
[21:02]: more salt as i go salt the vegetables
[21:05]: while i'm cooking them
[21:08]: but but that's just sort of picking
[21:11]: picking ears splitting splitting hairs
[21:13]: that's that's what i'm looking for um
[21:15]: because you can it does work fine to
[21:17]: salt it
[21:19]: after because it goes into the broth and
[21:20]: that's sort of in all of the
[21:23]: the the bites that you have so
[21:26]: yeah we really enjoyed it i will
[21:28]: definitely be making this again and i
[21:31]: may not
[21:32]: follow it quite as
[21:37]: perfectly
[21:39]: other times that i make it because this
[21:40]: is a recipe that you can sort of
[21:43]: um just use what you have make an amount
[21:45]: that you have rather than making the
[21:48]: full amount i have that and that worked
[21:50]: fine so i would probably do that next
[21:53]: time so we don't have so much left over
[21:55]: i think half would be just enough for us
[21:57]: to eat and then have
[21:59]: lunch or two the next day
[22:01]: um
[22:02]: so if you enjoyed watching me make this
[22:04]: please give me a thumbs up hit the
[22:07]: subscribe button and come back next week
[22:10]: and watch me make something else
[22:12]: [Music]