Southern Gumbo (Gluten-Free)

I’ve been craving a really good bowl of gumbo. The ones that I made in the past all had wheat flour as the base for the roux. I decided to experiment this weekend and try making it gluten-free.

I am so glad that I did. And so was my family who got to eat the results.

Here’s what I have come up with.

Southern Gumbo

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour mixture (I’ll share mine at the end of the post with a separate recipe)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 onion diced

2 ribs celery diced

3 cloves garlic

 1 28oz. can whole tomatoes with juice

2 cups sliced okra, fresh, frozen, or canned, just not battered

1 tsp thyme

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

hot sauce to taste (I used 5 drops and it was mild but tasty, perfect)

2 pounds shrimp ( or chicken, sausage, ham, fish, scallops, or any combination of any of these)

2 tbsp file powder (this is ground sassafras leaves. You can find it in the spice section. If you can’t just leave it out, but to use it is authentic and lends that something that just makes gumbo)

A good gumbo begins with a good roux. This is the base and foundation of all the flavor and you can not rush it. It takes about 15 minutes from start to finish and you have to stir it constantly. It will be worth it. I promise.

Melt the butter in a heavy dutch oven over low heat. Add the flour mixture and whisk constantly. The point here is to brown the flour until it is the color of brewed tea. A dark caramel brown. Do not stop stirring. Do not leave for a moment. If you go past dark brown into burnt, throw it out and start all over. This is the most important part of the whole dish.

Once your roux is dark caramel add the chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, okra, and garlic. Continue to saute over low heat stirring 4 or 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and give up some of their liquid. Add the tomatoes to the pot squeezing the tomatoes to begin breaking them down or processing them in the blender with their juice before adding them to the pot.

Add thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. If using chicken or sausage add it now.  Cover and simmer over low heat 45 minutes to an hour.

Add the shrimp and file powder if using.  If using fish or other seafood add it now. Simmer 5 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through. You don’t want to overcook the shrimp. Just pink and then you’re done.

Serve over white rice with file powder and hot sauce at the table.


Gluten-Free flour mixture

This is a good all purpose flour mixture. Use it where you would use plain all purpose flour in the same proportions.

24 ounces brown rice flour (I make mine in my blender)

20 ounces cornstarch

22 ounces potato starch (not potato flour)

24 ounces tapioca starch

6 teaspoons xantham gum

Mix until well blended and store in an airtight container. Can also be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.


March 29, 2010. cooking.

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