Chicken Gumbo Soup, that childhood favorite from the red-labeled can is now within your reach – homemade, tastier, and better for you!
When I was growing up, soup can from a can with a red label. If we were lucky, that can of soup cost only 15 cents at the grocery store, at which time my dad would heap the cart high with the chicken noodle variety.
On days when Mom was doing the shopping, she let me choose my favorite kinds. Sometimes I’d choose Chicken and Stars, sometimes Bean with Bacon, but more often than not I’d choose Chicken Gumbo Soup.
California-born and bred, I had no idea what true gumbo was like or what the heck that funny green vegetable was floating in there, but I sure loved Chicken Gumbo Soup.
Fast forward 15 years and I was a newlywed, having a grand old time playing Donna Reed in my little 200-square foot studio apartment that I shared with my husband.
One of our friends had gifted us a huge soup ladle and a copy of A Feast of Soups. Her advice to me was to learn to make soup, as that was an economical way to feed guests. You could extend hospitality without ending up in the poor house yourself.
And it’s true! Soups are good food. And good cheap eats.
That soup cookbook, originally published in 1982, back when I was ten and enjoyed canned soup, became a very important part of my food education. While there aren’t many soup recipes in that book that I make, the soup making INSTRUCTION in that book is invaluable. I have read it cover to cover several times over, and owe much to Ms. Heriteau for having taught me to make soup. If your family enjoys soups, then it is worth it to hunt down a copy of this book.
What is gumbo soup made of?
This Chicken Gumbo Soup recipe is an adaptation of one included in my favorite soup cookbook. The recipe, as named in the book, is called, “California Chicken Gumbo for a Mob.” I have no idea why it would be called Californian, and it only barely feeds my family of 8 at one sitting. But it is super good.
The original directions call for you to saute the butter, ham, celery, onion, pepper, and rice. Stir in the flour and a cup of chicken broth and then dump all the ingredients into a slow cooker, including uncooked chicken pieces. However, I prefer to make this Chicken Gumbo Soup with cooked chicken and to cook the soup itself on the stove top. I like the textures better. But, know that you can absolutely make it in the slow cooker if you like.
Here are all the ingredients:
- Vegetables – I used onions, celery, bell pepper, okra, and canned tomatoes
- The Proteins- I used cooked chicken, ham, and black eyed peas
- Chicken stock
- Flour (to thicken)
- Seasonings – salt, pepper, parsley, dill weed
What gives gumbo its flavor?
The flavor of a gumbo comes from making a roux. A roux is a mixture of flour that is browned in either butter or olive oil. It will thicken the soup and also gives it great flavor.
How do you make chicken gumbo?
- Saute the vegetables – In a large heavy pot over medium high heat, heat the butter and saute the onion, celery, and pepper until the onion begins to be translucent, about 7 minutes.
- Add the rice and ham – Add the ham, rice, and flour and stir for 3 minutes.
- Add the stock – Add one cup of the stock and stir to combine.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer. Add the remaining stock and the okra, tomatoes, peas, and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked. In the last ten minutes of cooking, stir in the chicken and dill weed. Serve soup, garnished with fresh chopped parsley.
What’s the difference between a gumbo and jambalaya?
Well both are meat and rice dishes that have originated from New Orleans. However, they are distinctly different. A gumbo is a soup or stew that is thickened with a roux and has vegetables like celery, onions, and okra added to it.
A jambalaya, like my easy jambalaya with Italian sausage and shrimp, is more of a casserole type dish.
Should gumbo be thick or soupy?
Even though it’s a “soup” it will be on the thicker side than a regular soup due to the roux that it’s made (flour cooked in the fat).
Can gumbo sit out overnight?
You want to make sure to not let the gumbo sit out overnight. Be sure to allow it to cool to room temperature, but after 2 hours make sure to store the gumbo, covered in an airtight container, in a refrigerator.
How can I thicken gumbo without flour?
You can also use cornstarch to thicken the gumbo. An hour before serving, you want to combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of warm water (or stock) and make a slurry of it. Then whisk it together and add it to the soup.
What side dishes go with Gumbo?
Chicken Gumbo Soup
- 1/4 cup butter or olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 rib celery chopped
- 1 bell pepper (any color) chopped
- 1/4 cup diced ham
- 1/4 cup long grain white rice uncooked
- 1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 10 cup chicken stock I use homemade
- 1 cup frozen sliced okra no need to thaw
- 8 oz diced tomatoes drained
- 1 cup cooked black-eyed peas rinsed and drained
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 cup chicken (cooked and cubed)
- 1/2 tsp dried dill
- parsley (chopped) for serving
- In a large heavy pot over medium high heat, heat the butter and saute the onion, celery, and pepper until the onion begins to be translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the ham, rice, and flour and stir for 3 minutes. Add one cup of the stock and stir to combine.
- Add the remaining stock and the okra, tomatoes, peas, and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked. In the last ten minutes of cooking, stir in the chicken and dill weed. Serve soup, garnished with fresh chopped parsley.
To prep in the slow cooker:
- Once you've sauteed the ingredients in step one, transfer the mixture to the crock of a slow cooker. Add the stock, okra, tomatoes, peas, and pepper. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4. In the last half hour of cooking, stir in the chicken and dill. Serve with the fresh parsley.