I think many people shy away from Creole and Cajun food because they think it’s going to be too spicy. They hear words like gumbo filé and Creole seasoning and they automatically shy away. And it’s true, some Creole and Cajun dishes can be very spicy, but they don’t have to be. And this recipe, based on a recipe from Marcela’s Creole Cookery in Seattle, contains a bit of heat but only enough to compliment the other ingredients. And that’s good. The last thing you want is a sauce that is so spicy hot that the wonderful taste of your expensive shrimp is completely obliterated. (Along with your taste buds, I might add!)

So figuratively speaking, this sauce is the perfect foil for shrimp. Then all you need is a big old ball or two of cooked rice, and you have a simple and delicious one course meal.

Now like any other stew like dish, there are about as many recipes for gumbo as there are Louisiana residents. And many of them are fabulous. (The stews that is; I don’t know about all the residents!) But we especially like this gumbo recipe because it is fairly mild. (Did I mention that both Mr. C and I are both kind of wusses when it comes to really spicy food?)

So if you are a person unfamiliar with Creole or Cajun food, but consider yourself in possession of a sophisticated and educated uraniscus (palate), step on out of your comfort zone and travel “culinarily speaking” down to the land of Marti Gras, hush puppies, and bread pudding. Make yourself up a batch of this gumbo honey and there will be no turning back.

  • ¼ c. canola oil
  • ¼ c. flour
  • 4 c. chicken stock, heated to almost boiling
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 4 chopped green onions
  • 2 lg. stalks celery, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. gumbo filé powder
  • 3 bay leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. commercial Creole seasoning or see recipe for homemade Creole Seasoning below
  • 1 lb. uncooked large shrimp
  • cooked rice

In a large covered saucepan, cook the oil and flour over medium heat until it is chocolate colored, about 25 minutes, stirring continuously. (If it burns, throw it away and start over!) Carefully whisk in the hot chicken stock, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Add the onion, green onions, celery, garlic, thyme, gumbo filé powder, bay leaves, pepper, cayenne, and Creole seasoning. Cover the pan and gently simmer for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. (Add additional chicken stock if needed.) Adjust seasoning (probably will need salt), remove bay leaves, add the shrimp, and simmer until the shrimp are just cooked through.


Serve with cooked rice.

Creole Seasoning:

  • 1/3 c. paprika
  • 3 T. dried oregano
  • 3 T. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T. dried basil
  • 2 T. kosher salt
  • 1 T. cayenne pepper
  • 1 T. onion powder
  • 4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 4 tsp. granulated garlic

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Makes about 1 cup.


Please let me know if you like this recipe. Thanks