Say, "HELLO," to your NEW best friend... the Easy Gumbo Recipe! Why will this recipe become your new best friend? It's all in the way we make the Roux...
I'll admit it, I'm a cheater. This recipe for easy gumbo is a cheater recipe for sure. We aren't going to spend 30-40 minutes developing a dark roux for this dish... I can almost hear the screams from Louisiana coming through my computer.
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I'm not paying attention to the protests, because... this EASY Gumbo Recipe is delicious and FAST to make! I'm not apologizing either... in fact, a frequent New Orleans visitor and eater of all things gumbo tasted this recipe and said it was the BEST gumbo he ever had. Truth.
I did not share how I made the roux with him and you don't have to share either, it will be our little secret kitchen hack. The BEST news is this trick works with just about EVERYTHING when you want to use a roux in pressure cooking.
I just used this hack to make a delicious Bacon Mac and Cheese too! You HAVE to try that recipe... it's heaven for sure.
Doesn't that look good??? Oh my goodness, it's my new favorite Mac and Cheese for sure.
What is a Roux?
Learning to make a great Roux (pronounced “roo”) is key to many wonderful dishes, so let’s spend a few minutes on what it is, different types, and how to make it.
Roux is a combination of equal parts flour and fat. Butter is most commonly used in French cooking, but you can also use vegetable oil, lard, or any type of animal fat.
There are 3 types of Roux; white, blond, & brown. I should mention a 4th type of roux, the dark roux (used in gumbo). The reason this may not be considered a true roux is because once it gets to this very dark stage, it is no longer a thickening agent, so is it really a roux?
THREE TYPES OF ROUX:
White: This is the base for many wonderful sauces; like a béschamel or white sauce like this recipe from The Kitchn. White roux starts out the same, equal parts fat and flour. Add your fat to a skillet and allow it to melt, add the flour and whisk constantly. You have to be very careful that you do not burn the roux. If you see dark specks, it is burnt and you will have to start over or your sauce will taste unpleasant. White Roux is only cooked 2-5 minutes so it keeps its white/beige color.
By cooking the roux 2-5 minutes, you cook out the flour taste which is super important or your sauce will taste like a sack of flour. Ask me how I know! Yep, been there & done that! When the flour/butter mixture starts to bubble and become fragrant, you are done. Remove from heat and congrats on making a white roux!
Blond: This roux starts off exactly the same way as a white roux, it just cooks longer and develops a darker more flavorful thickener. After you have a white roux, turn down the heat and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes, whisking constantly to avoid burning. You will end up with a golden roux that is perfect for making stock-based soups and creamy chicken or pork dishes.
Brown: You are probably starting to see where this is going. Yep, a brown roux starts off as a white roux, becomes a blond roux and once you take it a step further and continue cooking, you guessed it… you have made a brown roux. It will take about 5 more minutes on low heat and you really need to watch it so it doesn’t burn. Brown roux works great to make a flavorful beef gravy from pan drippings and, of course, it’s used a lot in Louisiana-style cooking.
I make a dark roux for my Cajun Jambalaya recipe and it's fantastic for sure. You don't get the nutty flavor when you use this hack, BUT this easy gumbo recipe turns out great and so will a ton of other dishes!
A traditional roux can take several minutes to almost an hour and it's labor-intensive when making a dark roux because you have to make sure the mixture doesn't burn.
Who has time for that? Isn't pressure cooking supposed to save us time?
YES! So, use my hack for making a roux that will not let you down and is wonderful to use when you just don't have the time to do it the traditional way.
Hack for Making Roux in the Ninja Foodi
Before I explain how I make this roux right in the Ninja Foodi, let me talk about why it can be a pain to make it the traditional way. While you can make a great roux in the bottom of the Ninja Foodi, you have to stir and stir and stir, so it doesn't burn.
You also have to remove it before going under pressure because you don't want to cook with a thick roux under pressure for a long time or it will thicken the liquid too much and can cause the water notice. If you want to read more about this and pressure cooking in general, I really encourage you to read my article on Pressure Cooking 101.
For this recipe, we will be pressure cooking the flour/oil mixture on the rack in a 6" Fat Daddio Cake pan that is covered with a silicone cover. You can also use foil, but check out these covers on Amazon because they are amazing! Walfos Silicone Covers (see picture below)
The best part and why this easy gumbo recipe is going to be your BEST friend... you can use this same technique when making ANYTHING that you want to thicken with a roux!
That's right, think pot roast gravy, beef stew, turkey gravy, mac and cheese... the list is endless.
What is the difference between Gumbo and Jambalaya?
Simply put, Jambalaya is made with rice cooked into the dish and Gumbo is served over rice. Is it really that easy? Of course not! I'd bet you could ask 10 Louisiana natives what the differences are you will get 10 different, and sometimes conflicting, answers.
Gumbo is usually thickened with a roux, filé powder, and/or okra. Jambalaya is usually thickened with a roux.
I read several articles on the differences between Gumbo and Jambalaya and there are various opinions. My opinion is that both are delicious and can be made any way you like them. As long as it tastes good to you, who cares if it's authentic or not?
Truth be told, everyone's idea of authentic is very different when it comes to New Orleans cooking.
What is filé Powder?
Filé Powder or Gumbo Filé is a powder made up of ground sassafras leaves. It is used for flavor and also to thicken certain foods, like gumbo. I have always had a hard time finding it and, while I can order it from Amazon, I thought I'd use something that will enhance the flavor of the gumbo and is really easy to find! Root Beer!
Secret Ingredient in this Easy Gumbo Recipe
Root Beer! Yep! Root Beer used to be made with sassafras, but it has been removed because some concerns of the sassafras leaves containing too much of a weak carcinogen, safrole. This has since been proven false, while the roots and bark of the sassafras tree do contain this weak carcinogen, the leaves do not contain enough to be of concern. But... you still won't find it in today's root beer recipes.
Since I couldn't find filé powder and they say that sassafras tastes like root beer... why not just use some root beer! I do recommend using a good quality root beer and, quite-by-chance, my husband brought me home Virgil's Root Beer.
I will be forever grateful that he did, too! It is the best tasting root beer I have ever had. I love root beer, but not the after taste because it is usually so darn sweet. Virgil's Root Beer is simply perfect and I hope you give it a try!
They have other flavors and I can't wait to try them! Virgil's also has a zero sugar line of products and I bet they are great as well!
I'm a huge fan of the Virgil's Brand and I can see more recipes using their products in my future for sure! Stay Tuned!
How to make this Easy Gumbo Recipe in the Ninja Foodi
You can watch me make this Easy Gumbo Recipe in a step-by-step video right HERE: Easy Gumbo Recipe
While I happen to LOVE the Ninja Foodi, this recipe can easily be made in the Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker. If you don't have a Ninja Foodi and are interested in learning more about it, please take a peek at this article I wrote: How to Use the Ninja Foodi.
The first thing I always recommend doing is prepping all of your ingredients. Dice the onion, green pepper, and celery into ¼" dice. Slice the Andouille sausage into ½" slices. Mince your garlic. Thaw your shrimp.
Make up your seasoning blend. You can also use your own favorite gumbo seasoning, but I do hope you give this one a try because it is pretty spectacular!
PLEASE NOTE: This is a single recipe for the seasoning mix. In my video for Easy Gumbo on YouTube, I had made up a double batch and used 1.5 Tbsp. For this written recipe, I cut it down for you so you can use the entire amount and not worry about storing extra.
Easy Gumbo Recipe in the Ninja Foodi/Pressure cooker
- Pressure Cooker
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 vidalia onion or yellow onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 green pepper
- ½ Tbsp garlic minced
- 2 ½ cups chicken stock
- ½ cup rootbeer good quality suggested
- 14.5 ounce Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- 14 ounces Andouille Sausage ½" slices
- 1 lb chicken thighs boneless, skinless
- 12 ounces okra frozen or fresh cut into ¼" slices
- 1 lb large shrimp shelled and deveined, thawed
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup flour
- 2 cups white rice
- 1 ¾ cups water
- Turn the Ninja Foodi on high sear/saute. Add in olive oil and when heated add in the diced onion, green pepper, celery. Add in seasoning blend and saute for about 2 minutes. Add in minced garlic and continue to saute for about 3 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the Ninja Foodi. Add in rootbeer, fire roasted tomatoes, sliced Andouille sausage, whole chicken thighs, and frozen or fresh okra.
- Combine the vegetable oil and the flour in a 6" Fat Daddio cake pan and stir until a thin paste is formed. Cover with a silicone lid or foil and place on the rack in the high position over the gumbo.
- Put the pressure cooker lid on and set the valve to seal. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes and when finished, do an immediate release.
- Remove the rack and uncover the roux. Pour the roux into the gumbo, but do not stir.
- Rinse 2 cups of white rice under water until it runs clear and place in a 6" Fat Daddio pan and add 1 ¾ cups of water. Place on the rack in the high position uncovered over the gumbo. Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Pressure cook for 2 minutes and allow to natural release for 4 minutes.
- After the 4 minutes of natural release, manually release the remaining pressure. Remove the lid and the rack with the rice. Fluff the rice with a fork and cover loosely to keep warm
- Stir the gumbo and add the shrimp. Make sure the shrimp are covered with the gumbo and close the TenderCrisp lid and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Leave the Ninja Foodi off. The residual heat will cook the shrimp.
- Serve over rice and enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.