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And I really do mean secret.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo | halfbakedharvest.com

Or at least it was before today anyway, but it’s time to share this recipe.

We’d be selfish if we didn’t. And I say we because I asked Mrs. Mooney about sharing this recipe way back when I started the blog. Not sure why I took so long to share it, but here it is. Just in time for Mardi Gras too!

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo | halfbakedharvest.com

I know I have talked about Mrs. Mooney before, but this is one of her tried and true recipes that is truly and utterly amazing. Every single time I make this gumbo my family says, over and over again, how good it is.

The reason this recipe is a secret? Well… sorry, that has to remain a secret, but at least you get the recipe.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo | halfbakedharvest.com

I cannot actually remember the first time I tried Mrs. Mooney’s gumbo, but I sure do remember the first time I ever made it.

I was pretty young, maybe fourteen or fifteen and I was so nervous. I remember having no idea what a roux was and I was totally freaking out that if I burned it,  I would then have to start all over again. Not only that, I actually had to sit and stir the roux for forty-five minutes and not walk away. Like not even take my eyes off the pot for more than fifteen seconds at a time. Yeah, I was scared.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo | halfbakedharvest.com

I still remember sending photos of the roux throughout out the process to Mrs. Mooney, just to make sure things where looking good and I was not screwing everything up. Just about every other minute I thought I had burned the roux and needed to start over.

And geez, when I finally got the roux to the color needed and I added the veggies? Yikes. Everything bubbled up and made noise. Loud sizzling noises. I thought for sure I screwed it up there too, but it turns out that is totally normal.

FYI, Mrs Mooney spent practically the entire hour or so it took me to make this on the phone with me talking me through every step. I may not have ever gone to cooking school, but at least I have Mrs. Mooney, and really, that’s better. If you knew her, you would agree.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo | halfbakedharvest.com

Long story short, the gumbo got made, turned out better than I ever thought it could and in five years of making her gumbo I have yet to burn the roux. YES.

Although, I still get a little nervous every time I make the gumbo. Old habits die hard.

If you are wondering, a roux is flour and butter, bacon fat and flour or in this case, oil and flour. You mix together the flour and oil and cook it over the stove to help thicken and flavor things like sauces, soups and stews. If you have ever made mac and cheese than you have made a roux.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo | halfbakedharvest.com

As Mrs. Mooney says, “The roux is the heart and soul of this recipe. If you burn it, start over and do not take your eyes off of it.”

I know it may sound scary, but it is honestly a super easy recipe and I scaled her original recipe down by half because the original recipe literally fed like sixteen people, so the roux took more like forty-five to sixty minutes to cook. This one will take thirty minutes tops because there is less to cook.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo | halfbakedharvest.com

Here is my little tip. Grab a stool, turn the TV on if you can or grab your phone. Then glue your butt to that seat right in front of the stove. Seriously, I am not messing around when I say that you have to whisk the roux every fifteen to twenty-five seconds. It is mandatory.

You know the roux is done when it turns a deep dark caramel or peanut butter color. I let mine go pretty dark because I think the darker the better, but just make sure you are not burning it.

Oh, and it is also mandatory to have all your ingredient prepped and ready to go before you start making the roux. Trust me, it helps so much.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo | halfbakedharvest.com

Okay, with all that said, please do not get scared off. I promise this recipe is very easy and simple to make. Once the roux is made all you need to do is let the gumbo simmer for a few hours. I let mine cook low and slow all day long. The longer it cooks, the better the flavor.

You must serve this over rice because rice is just the best, it is also very traditional. Beer bread is also delicious with it, but technically not traditional. BUT – you would be a little crazy not to serve it with some bread. Just sayin.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo | halfbakedharvest.com

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories Per Serving: 450 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large red pepper diced
  • 1 large green pepper diced
  • 1 large yellow pepper diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced or grated
  • 1 onion diced (optional, original recipe does not call for it)
  • 1 ounce large can diced tomatoes 14, I like to use fire roasted
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon creole seasoning rounded
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (less if you do not want it too hot more if you do)
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 cups chicken broth two 1 quart cartons
  • 1 1/2 pounds andouille sausage sliced + halved again into half circles (NO substitutions)
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs may sub chicken breast if desired
  • file powder for serving
  • white rice for serving
  • beer bread for serving

Instructions

  • In a large bowl combine the chopped peppers (red, green and orange), chopped celery, garlic and onion, if using (I typically leave the onion out). Set aside.
  • In a small to medium size bowl combine the oregano, thyme, basil, creole seasoning, chili powder, cayenne pepper, pepper and salt. Set aside.
  • Before you begin the next step, make sure you have completed steps 1 and 2. It is very important to have all your ingredients prepped and ready go.
  • Grab a seat. No literally, grab a sit. You cannot walk away from the roux over the next 20-30 minutes. Heat a large heavy bottom soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the canola oil and flour to the pot and whisk to combine. Stir the roux EVERY 15-25 SECONDS. You will be able to smell the flour starting to brown. Continue to gently brown flour without burning it until the mixture turns the color of peanut butter or a dark caramel. This can take 30 minutes or so but it is the heart of the recipe. If you burn it, start over. This time just keep stirring and keep an eye on it! It took me 25 minutes to achieve a dark peanut butter color.
  • Once you have your roux made, add all your vegetables (everything in the bowl). The roux will bubble and thicken up immediately into a paste which coats the vegetables. Let the veggies cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring every couple minutes or so. Sprinkle spice mixture over the vegetables, stir and cook 3-5 minutes longer.
  • Add chicken broth, canned tomatoes, chicken thighs and sausage to the pot. Bring the gumbo to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered for at least 3 hours or up to all day (the longer the better for flavors to blend). The gumbo should be the consistency of stew. If too much of the liquid evaporates add water to thin and if there is too much liquid leave the top off the soup and cook 30 minutes longer. Once the meat has cooked through, skim fat from top and lightly shred the chicken. Serve over rice and sprinkle with file powder (sassafras powder) if you have it. [Beer Bread | https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/5-ingredient-beer-bread/] is great with this meal!

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo | halfbakedharvest.com

Oh and gumbo kicks Monday in the butt.

half-baked-harvestHEY GUYS, I NEED YOUR HELP!!

Better Homes and Gardens has nominated Half Baked Harvest as one of the top 5 Food: Family/Everyday Eats blogs. Between now and March 5 voting will take place to decide who is number one. Here’s the catch, you can vote every HOUR until 3/5/14.     I would be so appreciative if you could take the time to check out all the bloggers and vote for your favorite… as often as you can between now and then. Thanks for all your support, you guys are why I love doing what I do!       VOTE HERE

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Comments

    1. Hey there,
      Yes, the fully updated version with the instant pot instructions are located in the HBH Super Simple Cookbook:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  1. I followed this recipe exactly and it was the perfect balance of meat and veggies. The sauce thickened very well too. We ended up using leftovers for lunches and we both felt that it tasted even better heated up. I’m always on board with a recipe like that. We’re making this gumbo specifically for lunches this week!

    1. Hey Katie,
      I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Happy Sunday! xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    This is soooo good and I grew up on good Louisiana gumbo. Can you substitute seafood for the chicken with this bas? Or would you just add to it?

    1. Hey Beth,
      I am so thrilled that you have enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for making it:) You could totally do seafood in place of the chicken. xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    I just made this recipe out of the Super Simple book and it’s wonderful! I looked this up to send to a friend and noticed that you have 8 cups broth on the site and 6 cups in the book. 6 cups seems like plenty.

  4. 2 stars
    We had no success tonight because our instapot kept giving the burn warning. We stopped the cooking twice and discovered the roux had clumped on the bottom. The second time we tried using the steamer grate but the result was the same. Any suggestions?

    1. Hey Cynthia,
      So sorry about this, I have never experienced the burn message so I am not sure what could have happened here. Let me know how I can help! xTieghan

  5. Hi Teigen! I want to make this for Christmas dinner for a large party. Do You think it’s safe to double it?

    Thank you!
    Tawny

    1. Hey Tawny,
      Yes! You can double, just make sure you have a large enough pot. I hope you love the recipe! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Making it this Friday evening to comfort me through the weekend.
    Is this recipe freezable? It makes a lot more than I’m able to finish and I hate to waste.

    1. Hey Sydney,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, yes you can easily freeze this! Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  7. Hi– I don’t eat pork. What spices can I use to get the flavor of the andouille? I have tofu and mushrooms if that helps. Thanks.

    1. Hey Xan,
      I would just add the mushrooms to the recipe! Let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love the recipe. Thank you! xTieghan

  8. I know you once had directions for this in the instant pot, where can I find that? I had great success with those directions!

    1. Hey Cherith,
      This recipe has been updated and is now located in the HBH Super Simple Cookbook. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  9. Can’t wait to make this! You call for a large can of tomatoes and I think it reads 14 oz but isn’t a large can 28 oz? That line is unclear. I wish the instructions weren’t in such light print when the rest is all in bold. Just bought your cookbook for my daughter!

    1. Hi Patti,
      So sorry for the confusion, you will want to use a 28 oz can of tomatoes. Thanks so much for ordering the book:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  10. 5 stars
    I’VE MADE THIS RECIPE SO MANY TIMES IN THE PAST YEAR. IT IS SO SO GOOD. ONE OF MY FAVORITE RECIPES I’VE EVER MADE. NO JOKE.

    1. Haha I love that!! Thank you so much for trying this one, Stephen! I hope you continue to enjoy this and others of mine! xTieghan

  11. 4 stars
    I loved this recipe but at the end of the meal, I just felt like something was missing. However, the instructions were very clear and well thought out and I enjoyed the backstory! I would make again, just with a few minor adjustments!

  12. 5 stars
    My father in-law calls me the “Gumbo Queen” now! This is amazing. I have been coming back to this recipe for years. Is the recipe in your cookbook? All of your food looks and tastes fantastic!

  13. I made this recipe a couple weeks ago and it was amazing!!?? We let it cook all day and it was the perfect combination of salty and spicy. The chicken was so tender and it went perfectly over rice.

  14. 5 stars
    Roughly, how many servings does this make? I’ve made it in the past and loved it but I don’t recall how much it makes.

    1. This should serve around 6 people. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  15. 5 stars
    I was nervous to make the roux, but this is delicious. I also didn’t read/ realize how much it made; my 8 qt Dutch oven was to the brim, so do not skimp on the pot size.

    Totally worth the time/ effort – especially on a cold day!

  16. Is the Andouille sausage cooked or raw before you put it into the mix? Only asking because I know my local Whole Foods counter has fresh sausage that they make in house, but given how you discuss prepping the sausage (cutting it into half-rounds), it sounded like maybe it was already cooked before you add it. Also, any tips that would alert you that the rue is burned and not just browned? Thanks!

    1. Hey Anne! I use fresh sausage and I buy mine at whole foods too! Love it! You know the rue is burnt if it turns super dark brown. Go for a golden peanut butter brown. Let me know if you have questions. Hope you love this! Thank you!

  17. Has anyone made this with seafood? I’ve started a tradition of serving gumbo for Christmas (we have a seafood fest!) and am always looking for an awesome recipe to try.

  18. This gumbo is unreal! Absolutely delicious. I also made your beer bread to go along with it. I’m getting hungry right now just thinking about it, haha. I froze the leftovers- it defrosts very well. I was sad when my leftovers were gone! Time to make it again soon.

  19. Hi, Tieghan! I found your blog a couple of weeks, and I am in LOVE with all of your recipes! I have currently made this gumbo, which was AH-mazing with your beer bread! And I’ve made your crock pot Philly cheesesteaks, your Jameson Blue cheese burger (da bomb!) and your 3- ingredient blue cheese appetizer! You are truly talented, and I enjoy your beautiful photos as well! Any chance you’ll do a Seafood Gumbo like this one? ?

    1. Hmm, a seafood Gumbo sounds great!! In the future that will happen for sure! thank you so much! 🙂

  20. I made this tonight and it was soooo good that we practically licked our bowls clean. My husband took one bite and said, “You are making this again!” I followed the recipe exactly as written and I was already familiar with making a roux as my family has a shrimp creole recipe that we use for special occasions. This gumbo may replace that old family favorite!

  21. Okay, I have to have this! Only challenge is I’m gluten free. I scanned the comments and didn’t find any adaptations mentioned. Anyone out there make this GF? Of course I can sub Bob’s GF flour, but a cup is a lot and I hope it doesn’t throw the flavor! Course, I guess I’ll never know the difference! But I was thinking I could use arrowroot or cornstarch and use less. If anyone has tried his lmk! Thanks for another fab recipe!!!!!

  22. You said that you like to make it the day before for best results. Could you share how you re-heat it (how long on the stovetop? Do you add more broth?). Thanks!

  23. Yep, it’s delicious and not difficult. The roux did take me 45 minutes in Le Creuset large pot, but I didn’t heat the pot first as written. I don’t care how long it took the results were so good and it’s the first time this has ever worked for me. I love gumbo and feel empowered now. Maybe a tad spicy so I’ll subtract a bit of cayenne next time. I just love this!

  24. Lot’s of ingredients in this one but it doesn’t seem too difficult to make. I think I’ll try this one tonight. Thanks so much for sharing!

  25. My Cajun family would look very skeptically at me and a chicken and sausage gumbo with tomatoes in it, but it might be interesting to try one day. That’s just not the norm for gumbo. But a head’s up on roux – you can buy it in a jar and skip all the additional cooking time. It is better if you make it yourself, but if you want to throw one together quickly one night, the jar works! It comes in light and dark versions. Personally don’t like roux that darker than peanut butter color (light version), but everyone seems to have their own preferences. I serve it with potato salad (think mustard/vinegar/celery, not the sweet relish version).

  26. So if I did want to make this as in original Mrs Mooney recipe for like 16, as you said, I would just double all ingredients exactly?

  27. I made this recipe and substituted two poblano peppers for the bells, came out very flavorful and spicy! I did have some trouble getting the roux to brown initially with the heat on medium-low – I had to turn the heat up quite a bit and then it turned brown right away. Thanks for the recipe!

  28. I made this recipe minus the colored peppers – it came out AMAZING! super, finger-lickingly delicious 🙂

  29. I made this on Saturday. It was WONDERFUL! My first time making a roux..I was afraid I had burned the roux, as I saw some dark specks in it, but I think I did OK as the flavors were amazing. I let it simmer on the stove for 5+ hours, served it over rice and with beer bread. It was SPICY! I used 1 rounded tsp of cayenne. Also, used 5 chicken thighs. And added about 1/8 cup of file powder once it was done cooking to thicken it up. YUM YUM YUM!

    few notes: you don’t say when to add the tomatoes..I added them right before I added the broth. Also, in the recipe list you say yellow pepper, but in the pictures and instructions you have orange. And for those who can’t get it to thicken, once it’s done cooking, add the file powder to the pot a little at a time to get it to your thickness liking. I added about 1/8 cup.

    Can’t wait to eat leftovers!

  30. Pulled a muscle scrolling down to the actual recipe through the dozens photos and “housewifey” dribble. Ruined a good recipe. I assume all of the entries are Dear Diary like this? Uggggh.

    1. Tieghan, I love your blog. Joe Blough can just get over it! Obviously not man enough to give his/her real identity.

  31. I probably didn’t let it caramelize enough because mine didn’t turn that rich chocolate brown as your pictured one. However, it was DELICIOUS so I can only imagine how much better or would be if I did get it right. I have also hear that you can make the roux via oven. Have you tried it that way?

    Will forever refer to this recipe. Thank you!!!

    1. Whoa, an oven? No, But I will bee looking into that for sure!

      Thanks so much and I am so happy you loved this!

  32. Okay, I am back because I made this last night for Mardi Gras and OH MY GAH, it rules!! If y’all haven’t made it yet, you must! It was hard not to want to drink the roux — so caramely and nutty! — but I didn’t in the name of gumbo and I was very pleased with the end result. I think I added too much chicken broth, so I took your advice Tieg and let the lid off of the pot for about 30 mins to help thicken. It didn’t thicken up a whole lot after that, so I removed it from the heat and let it stand for about 10 minutes and that did the trick! I also love the idea of cooking the raw chicken (I used breasts) in the pot– so easy, flavorful, and the chicken was super moist. Made this with your beer bread per your suggestion and OMG, incredible!! Thanks Tieghan and Mrs. Mooney!!

  33. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out too well. I think I should have added the broth gradually, stirring while I added it; or maybe heated the broth before adding. Do you do that? I will definitely try it again to see if I can figure out what went wrong. Thanks for your response.

    1. Hey Ellen, Can I as what was wrong? I do slowly add the broth, but just so it does not splatter. Otherwise I have never had any problems. Let me know if you have any more specific questions. Thanks!

  34. Hello,

    I made it last Sunday, and it’s so delicious! The smell of the roux – something like walnuts and caramel – great.
    But: When will the tomatoes go swimming in the pot? I missed it in your description and put them in with the broth.

    Greetings from Germany
    Torsten

  35. I made this recipe today, and, oh my, is it good. Besides keeping an eye on the roux and stirring it for the first 30 minutes, this recipe really isn’t that hard to make. The result is a rich, flavorful gumbo full of hearty veggies and chunks of tender chicken and sausage. We loved it. Thanks for sharing your secret.

  36. Gumbo! It’s raining in San Diego, and this looks like the perfect comfort food. I might have to rethink dinner tonight.

  37. Mrs. Mooney, way to go! Yum, yum, yum!!! Made this last night and it was a huge hit! I’m with MLEENICHOLS, I wish there was a column for comments that actually had to do with the recipe and one for people that comment “looks amazing!” Duh! I don’t think you’ve made anything that doesn’t look amazing. Get out and try those recipes people! Thanks for sharing Tieghan! Adding this recipe to our favorites! Btw, I didn’t exactly read the recipe all the way through so when I got to the part where you’re supposed to cook it 3 hours, uh, I had about 1 hour for it to be ready. I threw it in my pressure cooker and got it up to pressure for about 9 minutes. After the pressure released, I let it simmer on the stove to thicken and it was perfect! I wonder what it would taste like with coconut oil? Hmmmm….

    1. Whoa! The pressure cooker? What a cool idea. Thanks for sharing!
      I am not sure about coconut oil, but let me know if you give it a try!
      Thanks Jenae! So happy you loved this!

  38. Oh my, this gumbo looks crazy delicious 🙂 so much flavor. I am just dying to whip this up and enjoy a giant bowl!

  39. I made this gumbo so amazing but I misread the directions and put a TB of cayenne pepper instead of a tsp and almost died after the first mouth full. Made this dish for everyone who likes spices and they LOVED it great recipe and fantastic blog.

  40. Looking for some thoughts from Tieghan or anyone who has made this – I had quite a layer of fat rise to the top. I skimmed off a whole cup. I thought it might be the fat from the sausage, but is it possible that the roux separated? Anyone have this happen? The rest of the gumbo seems to be thickening up ok. It is not as dark as in the picture, however. After I added the tomatoes, I felt like maybe there was some separation. Not very experienced with roux so any thoughts on this would be helpful.

    1. Hey Ellen, It was the fat from the sausage and chicken. That happens to mine too, not normally a full cup though. Did the gumbo still taste good?

  41. I was wondering about the tomatoes too. I got to the end where I was bringing everything to a boil and realized I had not added the tomatoes. Oh No!!! Decided since it was going to be bubbling away for so long, it shouldn’t hurt if I put them in the pot then. Glad to hear that is when they are intended to be added. It is bubbling away on my stove now and I can’ wait for supper.

  42. Do you really only use 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs or is it supposed to be 3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs?

  43. Mrs. Mooney checking in! You described our first gumbo experience perfectly! So scarey…I have burned my roux before because I can really be a “high fry cook” as my dad calls me (too many pans going at once and in a hurry to get it all done!) I use shrimp too sometimes instead of chicken for those who like seafood! Congrats on your nomination!! It was great to have your family with us (miss them all) but you know C will be staying with us until he joins you in CO-lucky you!

    1. Haha! You can keep that only red meat eater. I am tired of the beef and he says he doe snot even like chicken and more. I mean seriously.
      🙂

  44. Looks delish! With all the lovely photos you posted, I’m surprised you didn’t show one of the roux. Will be making this soon.

  45. I have made Gumbo with the ‘baked flour’ roux which Cook’s Illustrated has developed. I would love to try your gumbo with that technique. Any comments??

  46. I only wish there were two comment channels..one for those who have not tried the recipe and only voice their support and another for those who actually tried the recipe and have some value to be added.

  47. This gumbo looks so good, and Mrs. Mooney sounds like one incredible woman! Love that she let you share her secret recipe with us :).

  48. This looks delicious! I have to admit, I’ve never tried cooking gumbo, and I’ve always said it’s because I haven’t found the right recipe. But, after seeing this recipe, I think it’s now because I’m afraid to. What other sorts of tips would you recommend to beginners?

  49. SO glad you shared this secret recipe because it looks insanely good! Beer bread seems very, very necessary as well.

  50. As someone who has made many pots of gumbo, yes, you’ve got to continually stir the roux until it gets to that peanut butter/dark caramel color. As the oil and flour brown, you’ve got the scrape the browned parts from the bottom of the pot, so constant stirring is a must. It’s a little bit of work..but SO worth it.

  51. Looks awesome Tieghan! And I love all these photos. Also, didn’t comment on your last post, but I am in Cleveland OH now! Can’t believe you used to live there! And Malley’s chocolates? We are all over those! We’ve bought so much from there I’ve lost count haha!

  52. This looks so incredible and I bet your house smelled wonderful! And a big congrats on the nomination! That’s so fabulous!

  53. This gumbo looks like the real deal. This one is going on the menu for this weekend. My husband is going to love you forever. Pinned and shared. Oh, and I voted. Good luck, Tieghan. Thanks for not keeping this beauty a secret.

  54. Looks so good Tieghan – reminds me of our family’s visit to New Orleans years ago when a local family hosted our entire little league baseball team for gumbo and etouffee. Good luck with your contest – just voted!

  55. YUM! My hubby and I first tried gumbo when we drove through New Orleans on our move down to Florida, and we both fell in kuurrve! I have never known how to make it, so this recipe is perfecto.
    I mean, like all your recipes. 🙂
    Love the lighting in these pics!

  56. Looks sooo appetizing, Tieghan … even at 10am! I wonder if this could be done in a crockpot as it needs so long to cook? After making the roux, of course! And do you mean literally stir the flour and oil for 30 minutes at the beginning, or did I miss something?