Photos by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg; Table linens and serving ware courtesy World Market, Chevy Chase

Talk about a melting pot.

Louisiana gumbo is the classic American hodgepodge, a stew of many ingredients and diverse heritage, including West African and American Indian. 

Like most gumbo recipes, this one begins with a roux, a thickener that comes from French cuisine and gives the stew its distinctive flavor.



Serves 8 to 10

For the Cajun Spice Blend

1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon hot paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1½ teaspoons black pepper
1½ teaspoons white pepper
1½ teaspoons dried thyme
1½ teaspoons dried basil
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
1½ teaspoons dried celery or celery seed
¾ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon cayenne

For the Roux

½ cup flour
½ cup vegetable oil or bacon fat

For the gumbo

2 tablespoons gumbo file powder (see tip)
½ pound okra, chopped into star-shaped coins
1 onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
½ cup chopped scallions
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons Cajun spice blend
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 pound boneless, skinless duck or chicken breast, diced
1 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
Ground white, black and cayenne peppers to taste
Salt to taste

Tip: Gumbo file powder, made from dried sassafras leaves, is available at Penzey’s Spices, 1048 Rockville Pike, Rockville, or can be ordered online at

For cooking instructions, see the gallery below: