Tiana’s Gumbo

“Hey, everybody! I made gumbo!”

Can I just say that the gumbo from Disney’s The Princess and The Frog was the reason I went to culinary school to begin with? Because it is. And that is not a lie. (But it is a story for another time.)

Anyway, I’ve decided to share the recipe that started it all. Without further ado… Tiana’s Gumbo!

You know the thing about good food? It brings folks together from all walks of life. It warms them right up and it puts little smiles on their faces.

-The Princess and The Frog


This recipe is adapted from the Food Network, with the aid of some good-home southern relatives who have been making gumbo since the dawn of time.

A spice blend ‘essence’ is a big part of this gumbo and really gives it some kick. It always pays to have some on hand. You can find the recipe for essence in the last post–it comes from Emeril Lagasse, who would know quality New Orleans’ cuisine better than anyone.

Gumbo starts with a roux, equal parts butter and flour. It gets all melty and bubbly and looks kind of like lava. Cook it until it turns the color of peanut butter.

Once the roux is ready, it is vegetable time! Gumbo is really forgiving, so any vegetables that are on hand will work great. Celery, onion, mushrooms… anything you’ve got! After all, Tiana made swamp gumbo using nothing but a pumpkin, some okra and a couple minced mushrooms. Luckily for us, the refrigerator is far more accessible than the local swamp.

After the vegetables are softened in the roux, add chicken stock and crushed tomatoes. Not only does it taste great, the crushed tomatoes give the gumbo a nice, rich, red color. Once it’s heated through, add some sausage.

At this point, the gumbo may be missing something. Need a little zing? Hit it with a couple of shots of Tobasco and it’s the bee’s knees!

(Direct movie reference for the win!)

Add shrimp and cook until pink. Share with the neighbors, impress your family! You can’t go wrong with a good bowl of gumbo.

Serve over rice and enjoy!


1 cup butter

1 cup flour

1 onion, chopped

2 ribs celery

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

4 bay leaves

2 quarts chicken stock

1 lb shrimp

1 package mild Italian sausage

1 package cut okra

1 lb crushed, canned tomatoes

Essence (to taste)

Tabasco (to taste)


1. Cook sausage in a covered pan until cooked through and golden brown on the outside. Cut into bite-sized pieces.

2. In a small saucepan, add two parts water to one part rice over high heat. Once the water reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover, untouched, about 20 minutes.

3. In a large pot, melt butter and whisk in flour until smooth. Cook over medium heat until roux is the color of peanut butter. Do not burn!

4. Add chopped veggies, garlic, bay leaves, and essence. Cook about 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

5. Add chicken stock and stir to combine. Add crushed tomatoes.

6. Add sausage and taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary, and don’t forget the Tabasco sauce!

7. Add peeled and deveined shrimp, cook until pink (about 8-10 minutes).

8. Serve over rice and enjoy!


2 thoughts on “Tiana’s Gumbo

  1. I grew up with a Cajun uncle who introduced us to all sorts of Creole/Cajun cooking. So I made this Gumbo because it’s cold and rainy and Gumbo’s good for that. What a hit! My house smelled amazing and my kids (who eat nothing) loved it. I did cut the butter and flour in half for a lower carb count and upped the protein by adding a chicken breast. C’est ce bon!

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