Monday, January 7, 2013

Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo AKA “Christmas Eve Gumbo”

Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo

I’m not even sure where to begin on this gumbo.  I guess I’ll start with why I would be posting Christmas Eve Gumbo on January 7th.  And it starts with our Friends David & Kelly.  Kelly works at the church with Paul, we all live in the same loft building, and over the last two years, they truly have become wonderful friends.

A few years ago, David and Kelly started an annual Christmas Eve gumbo tradition by inviting a large group  so-called “misfits” over for Christmas Eve dinner after Christmas Eve services for Kelly’s family’s gumbo recipe.  These “misfits” might not have family in town, they might be church employees, but I think some of them just stay in town now for the gumbo!  (Which is smart of them!)  This past Christmas Eve was the third year in a row for this tradition and each year it gets a little bit bigger than the last.

Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo

David makes two very large pots of this gumbo each year and people literally go crazy for it.  And, saying from first-hand experience, it’s craze-worthy.  Kelly’s mom has been making this recipe for as long as she can remember and what surprised me the most is that, aside from salt, pepper, parsley and bay leaves, all of the flavors of this gumbo are delivered naturally from the veggies and meat.

And it is that – so flavorful!  This year, I had the privilege of helping David the day before Christmas Eve prepare the gumbo.  I did lots-o-chopping and got to document the process from start to finish.

Yes, the roux is work.  Yes, it’s a little time consuming.  But when you taste the gumbo, all of the work becomes 100% worth it.

Roux progression for gumbo

PrintPrint Recipe

Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo

Yield: 2 very large post of gumbo (serves about 50 people)

A Christmas Eve favorite among friends: classic gumbo full of veggies, chicken, sausage and shrimp...and tons of natural flavor.


2 cups vegetable shortening
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 pounds large onions, diced
1 package (about 8 stalks) celery, diced
6 large green peppers, diced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped, divided
Salt & pepper to taste (about 4 Tbs. per pot)
4-5 bay leaves per pot
3 pounds Polksa Kielbasa-style sausage, cut into half moons
8 pounds chicken (mixture of thighs and breasts), bone-in
4 pounds shrimp, deveined and tails removed
12 (or more) eggs per pot
2-3 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes per pot

to serve:
White rice, cooked with diced onion added in (optional)


A few tips before you start:
-wear an apron.
-if you are by yourself, have all of the chopping and prep work complete before you start the roux, it will take all of your attention once you get started.
-be patient with the roux process; it will take about an hour-and-a-half to reach the right color.

to prep the soup pots:
Fill two (20-quart) stock pots with salted water and bring them to a boil.

for the roux:
While the water comes to a boil, make the roux. Melt the shortening over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet until it's melted - don't rush this step. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Once melted, add the flour until a sort-of paste forms. (Note: always add equal parts of flour to the shortening.)

Stir the roux continuously with a wooden spoon and continue to stir as the roux changes color. It will start very light in color and will progress as it cooks (see image above for color progression). Cook the roux for about 90 minutes and watch the color change as you go. You will know it's finished when you reach a "dark chocolate" color. Be very patient - the roux burns very easily.

to finish the gumbo:
Once Roux is a dark chocolate color, turn off the heat, stand back, and carefully add a little of the boiling water to the roux to "loosen it up". Be very careful during this part - it will be a little messy too! The roux is very active at this time. Stir carefully to get as much of the water and roux to mix – then carefully pour half of the roux into one pot and half into the other pot. The water should now look like dirty dish water. (Gross, I know. Maybe hot chocolate is a better description?)

Add the green peppers, onions, celery, parsley, bay leaves, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the pot and stir. Add the chicken to both pots equally. Boil the gumbo to cook the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken and let it cool. While chicken is cooling add the sausage equally to both pots.

Once chicken is cooled, remove all of the meat and add it back to the pots. Designate one pot as the "shrimp" pot and one as just chicken & sausage. Add a little more chicken to the chicken and sausage pot.

At this point, let the gumbo cool. The above steps are always done on the day before the gumbo is planned to be served and both pots are left outside to chill overnight. The longer the better.

Once ready to serve, bring both pots back to a simmer, add the shrimp to the seafood pot just before serving and cook just until they are done, 5-10, then bring the heat down to the lowest setting.

Gently “drop” in the eggs – about a dozen per pot (or more). Then add red crushed peppers to taste to both pots for a little added heat. Remove the bay leaves before serving; serve with hot white rice.

Cassie's Notes:
This recipe can easily be halved or quartered if you are feeding fewer people. If you need help dividing the recipe, please email me at or use the contact form above. I am happy to help any way that I can.

I would suggest having someone help to make this - it's not difficult, there are just lots of steps and the roux is time consuming.

You can make both post with seafood if you wish, just divide all ingredients equally. In addition, you can add oysters, lump crab meat, etc. to make it more "seafood-y".

Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo


57 Responses to “Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo AKA “Christmas Eve Gumbo””

  1. #
    leslie — January 7, 2013 @ 6:06 am

    WOW….that’s A LOT of gumbo! I can imagine working with that much roux. I would think the gumbo would be really thick.
    Looks sooooooo yummy!

  2. #
    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — January 7, 2013 @ 6:44 am

    Wow – that roux takes some dedication! This looks SO good though!!! I love this tradition. 🙂

  3. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — January 7, 2013 @ 6:51 am

    I’ve been dying to read this post since you shared photos on IG! Love that this is a tradition for all of the “misfits” 🙂

  4. #
    DessertForTwo — January 7, 2013 @ 7:08 am

    You know, I think this is going to be my new Christmas Eve tradition, too! I adore gumbo!

    I’m a little confused over the eggs because I don’t see them in the photo. Do you just swirl them in, or are they served like poached eggs on top? Thanks 🙂

  5. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — January 7, 2013 @ 7:15 am

    Such a gorgeous gumbo that I could dive right into, I know!

  6. #
    Tracey — January 7, 2013 @ 7:42 am

    What a fun Christmas Eve tradition! I’ve only made gumbo once but my husband went crazy for it. This one looks awesome, I need to try it! 🙂

  7. #
    Victoria — January 7, 2013 @ 7:43 am

    I love the story of this gumbo. 🙂

  8. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — January 7, 2013 @ 7:46 am

    I would love to join in on the “misfits” Christmas Eve! I think this gumbo may just have to be made one time this chilly winter. I’m so glad you shared it, Cassie because I am always looking for soup/chili/stew recipes. I’d love to make this with a bunch of friends one weekend. It looks VERY worth it. 🙂

  9. #
    Erin @ Texanerin Baking — January 7, 2013 @ 8:05 am

    That’s how roux works?! I had no idea it takes so long. But I’m sure it’s all worth it. And what a fun Christmas-time tradition!

  10. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — January 7, 2013 @ 8:07 am

    Gumbo is good all year around!

  11. #
    Kim | At Home With Kim — January 7, 2013 @ 8:23 am

    My man LOVES Gumbo…. If I make this for him I’ll think he’ll love me even more. 🙂 Looks delish Cassie and can’t wait to try it one of these cold winter nights. PS ~ Love the photo collage above.

  12. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — January 7, 2013 @ 8:24 am

    And this is what I’ve been missing all my life. Looks SOOOOOO yummy!

  13. #
    Gerry @ Foodness Gracious — January 7, 2013 @ 8:25 am

    I wanna be a gumbo misfit! I’m so glad you took a pic of the roux, just how it should be, awesome!

  14. #
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — January 7, 2013 @ 8:26 am

    That is an impressive amount of gumbo! I need to make it for the boys, they would love it.

  15. #
    Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats — January 7, 2013 @ 8:29 am

    This looks insanely delicious!

  16. #
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective — January 7, 2013 @ 8:47 am


  17. #
    Quinn Harper — January 7, 2013 @ 8:51 am

    I love their gumbo! We made it over to David and Kelly’s a few years ago and it was delicious! Thanks for getting the recipe 😉

  18. #
    Erika @ The Hopeless Housewife — January 7, 2013 @ 9:29 am

    Ideal for this time of year and this is a great looking gumbo.

  19. #
    Kathryn — January 7, 2013 @ 9:33 am

    What a lovely tradition to have and such fun to be part of it! This looks like a really delicious gumbo too – so excited to try this.

  20. #
    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes — January 7, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    What a lovely gumbo, Cassie! I could use some now to warm up my chilly bones…

  21. #
    katie — January 7, 2013 @ 9:55 am

    gah this looks like a labor of love but oh-so tasty! I totally want to be a gumbo misfit! 🙂

  22. #
    Jodi @Garlic Girl — January 7, 2013 @ 11:28 am

    Love gumbo – awesome!

  23. #
    Lauren @ Climbnig Grier Mountain — January 7, 2013 @ 11:32 am

    Cassie! I’m seriously in love with this recipe! My family does something similar…we make Shrimp Creole on XMAS Eve. I could use a bowl right now!

  24. #
    Joanne — January 7, 2013 @ 11:35 am

    I’ve never had gumbo before but you’ve convinced me that it’s something I need to experience at least once!

  25. #
    megan @ whatmegansmaking — January 7, 2013 @ 11:38 am

    what an awesome tradition! And it looks like some pretty amazing gumbo 🙂

  26. #
    Kansas Bob — January 7, 2013 @ 11:38 am

    Thanks for the recipe Cassie!

    This was our third Gumbo Eve and I think the gumbo gets better every year!

  27. #
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits — January 7, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    Cassie, this looks so great! In Los Angeles, we call those Orphan [Holiday] because no one is actually from LA, we are all transplants. So there ends up being quite a few people hanging around during holidays. I always host the Orphan Thanksgiving (which is why I had 14 people at my house this year, none of whom I was related to other than my hubs and daughter). I think it’s a really fun tradition because you get so much life in your holidays. It’s always new!

  28. #
    Shari | Tickled Red — January 7, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

    Gurl!! This has me written all over it, welcome to the y’all club {wink}

  29. #
    Ashley - baker by nature — January 7, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

    I have been on the search for a gumbo recipe all winter! Made a few and while they were good, they weren’t perfect. This looks amazing, and I’m definitely giving it a try.

  30. #
    carrian — January 7, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

    ok, that is too awesome. I’ve never had Gumbo, but my neighbor is from Mississippi and loves it! This will be a fun surprise to take over

  31. #
    Meghan — January 7, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

    What a fun tradition! Who wouldn’t want to be a misfit for this?! It looks fantastic!

  32. #
    Noble Pig - Cathy — January 7, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

    I love this tradition! We too have a soup Christmas tradition but its Lobster Bisque. Yes it’s work but so worth it so I get it. May have to try thid one for Mardi Gras.

  33. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — January 7, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

    What a fun tradition, this gumbo looks so good!

  34. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — January 7, 2013 @ 5:20 pm


    I love this.

  35. #
    Jennifer @ Mother Thyme — January 7, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

    What a fun tradition! Loving all these flavors. I could definitely dive into a big bowl of this right now!

  36. #
    Kari@Loaves n Dishes — January 7, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

    I’m definitely a misfit, can I come for gumbo? Looks delish!

  37. #
    Jess — January 7, 2013 @ 7:59 pm

    I’ve been seriously thinking of making gumbo, and this might be just what I need to finally do it. Beautiful photos of the process and what a fun tradition!

  38. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — January 7, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

    I know EXACTLY what you mean by the roux is the most tedious and yet the best part. I made a dark chocolate (well the color was) roux a month or so ago and man, it was a pain but it was SO worth it. I can only imagine how great your gumbo tasted!!! It looks so good!

  39. #
    Anna (Hidden Ponies) — January 7, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

    This is amazing! I love the story, any good food tradition makes me smile 🙂 We do tourtiere on Christmas Eve – otherwise I would totally start a gumbo tradition!

  40. #
    Shaina — January 7, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

    We made gumbo this fall, and that roux is definitely for the patient, but so worth it once it’s all finished. I love how this is tradition for you. Gorgeous and comforting.

  41. #
    Amy Tong — January 8, 2013 @ 12:14 am

    I’m loving your Christmas Eve Gumbo! Who cares if it’s already January. I love the story behind this Gumbo too. 🙂 Can’t wait to give this a try.

  42. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — January 8, 2013 @ 2:06 am

    Awwww, what a fun Christmas Eve tradition! And this gumbo? Amazing! I’ve never made gumbo before but it has everything I like. Plus, Jason would be so thrilled to dive into this. Bookmarking this for next weekend!

  43. #
    Laura — January 8, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    Love gumbo. So comforting on cold nights, and great to feed a crowd. It looks great, Cassie!

  44. #
    Angie@Angie's Recipes — January 8, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

    Must be very flavourful!

  45. #
    dixya @ food, pleasure, and health — January 8, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

    what a comforting dish and woaah that is a lot of gumbo. I didnot realize the serving was 50 people and saw 2 cups of shortening, almost had heart attack 😛 . Can I be part of the misfits too please? I promise to cut onions or gaze at the roux 😉

  46. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — January 8, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

    I love this little tradition! The gumbo looks amazing!!

  47. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — January 8, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

    I’m going to need your address for next year ; )

  48. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — January 8, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

    Wow, that is a LOT of gumbo! Sounds delicious, and what a great tradition to be a part of!

  49. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — January 8, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

    I need a REAL gumbo and that looks like just the ticket!! Such a lovely tradition.

  50. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — January 8, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

    This looks insane… INSANE! I’m totally in love and now craving some gumbo!

  51. #
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — January 9, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    Great story, Cassie! And I’d love a bowl!!

  52. #
    Tara @ Unsophisticook — January 9, 2013 @ 11:58 am

    Definitely looks worth the effort!

  53. #
    Cindy — January 9, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

    Eggs? I’m from across the lake from New Orleans, and grew up eating a lot of gumbo. Still do! But eggs? Never heard of putting them in gumbo. Put them in raw, cooked, peel on, peel off, why???

    • Cassie replied: — January 9th, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

      Hi Cindy, this is just part of the recipe from my friends. You actually crack the eggs into the hot pots, as if you were poaching them. If you ladle one into your bowl, it’s supposed to be good luck. But they can be left out.

  54. #
    Teri — January 28, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

    How many servings do you get out of this recipe.?

  55. #
    Kelly — February 26, 2017 @ 11:10 am

    This looks AWESOME. I’m really nervous to do the roux but here goes nothing! Only one question – how much water do you use? Filling those 2, 20-quart pots would be too full to add anything.

    • Cassie replied: — February 27th, 2017 @ 8:16 am

      Probably 2/3 full, not all the way. Similar to how you would fill a pot with water if you were boiling pasta.

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