Chili Gumbo

By • January 28, 2012 30 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe had been percolating in my head, and then on my stove, since last May. Leo and I went to the Bayou Boogaloo in New Orleans, and the first night Cyril Neville and Tribe 13 played. They told a story about how after the storm they were displaced to Austin and lived here for three years. They were welcomed by the community and made to feel that they had a home here. After three years, it was time to leave their new friends and family and return to their home in New Orleans, but Austin had found a permanent place in their hearts. They said when they got back to NOLA they realized that Austin had put a little chili in their gumbo. Then they played the song -- recommended listening while cooking this -- Chili In The Gumbo!

This looks like a crazy long ingredient list, but it all comes together really easily one you mise en place. Don't feel overwhelmed!

Food52 Review: This gumbo is fantastic. It wasn't quite as hot as I would have liked, but I like my chili and gumbo fire-breath hot, so I won't hold that against the recipe. Many parts of the dish were so well thought out -- from toasting the flour in large batches (genius) to macerating the dried chilis in the dark beer, and toasting cumin in the fat from andouille. These steps helped load the whole dish with incredible flavor. Will absolutely be keeping this one to make again. Wish I had doubled it!Omeletta

Makes 1 large pot of chili gumbo

  • 1/2 cup toasted flour (see first step in directions)
  • 2 Dried Ancho chilis
  • 2 dried Guajillo chilis
  • 1 dark beer - I used an Abita Christmas Ale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 ounces Andouille sausage
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 pound coarsely ground sirloin (aka chili meat if you are in a Texas market)
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3 large cloves garlic - minced or pressed
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons red chili powder (just ground chilis - not with other stuff - this is what I use and it is incredible:
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • Cooked rice, limes and Louisiana hot sauce to serve
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Toast the flour - we do this in big batches so it is always on hand. (It's great for roux, gravy, etoufee, or whatever you might need to thicken and make delicious.) Heat the oven to 350°F. Put a couple of cups of AP flour in a baking dish -- I use a 9" x 13" metal cake pan. Stir every 20 minutes until it gets nice and toasty -- about an hour to an hour and a half. Test by mixing a little with some oil -- it should turn a very deep chocolate brown. Store in in the pantry in a jar and you will be happy every time you pull it out!
  2. Remove the seeds and stems from the chilis and chop them up. Put them in a bowl and pour the beer in. Let them soak.
  3. Heat the olive oil in your chili pot. Cut up the andouille and brown it in the oil. Remove it. Toast the cumin in the remaining fat for a minute or so, then add in the chili meat and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. When it is browned, put it with the sausage. Put the onions in the pot and get them sweated, then add the celery, peppers and garlic. Cook all of that for a few minutes until it is just starting to soften, then add the vegetable oil and toasted flour. Stir that around for a minute or so, then add the chili powder and tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes. Follow your nose -- everything should smell rich and toasty and not at all raw. Add the chilis and beer, and put the meat and any juices back in the pot. Stir it all, then add the beef broth and vinegar. When that is all simmering away, stir in a tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning. Let it simmer a bit, taste, and see if you want more -- this is all a tasting game, as your chilis, seasoning, and personal preference will vary.
  4. Turn the heat to low and let your pot simmer for at least a half hour -- it gets better with time.
  5. When you are ready to serve, put rice in your bowl, then chili gumbo. Squeeze just a bit of lime and add a dash of Louisiana hot sauce -- those two things really give it a final fabulous kick. That's it! Enjoy!

More Great Recipes: Beef & Veal|Stews|Tomatoes

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Comments (30) Questions (1)


3 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.



8 months ago Chris Glenn

Chris Glenn

I'm from the Seattle/Everett WA. Area. We used to have a restaurant called Alligator Soul in a hole in the wall in Everett. It became so popular that it outgrew it's space. In early 2008 it bought a larger free-standing building and spent a lot of money remodeling and etc. Well, unfortunately it just got up and running when the bottom fell out and the economy went to heck in a hand-basket! A lot of restaurants went belly up, as did my favorite Creole restaurant Alligator Soul. The point of all this is that they used to make a gumbo they called Crunchy chicken gumbo, with okra, Andouille Sausage coins & lightly breaded deep fried small pieces of chicken tenders. Amazing and wonderful!
That dish was just about all I ever ate there, I liked the dish so much I rarely ordered anything else! I did try their Shrimp Étouffée and their Crayfish Gumbo, (Mudbug gumbo)...both amazing. Thanks for your recipe for the Chili Gumbo, I will be making this soon! I've been for a long time thinking about trying to recreate their Crunchy Chicken Gumbo, maybe this year!


8 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh please do, and post the recipe! Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this one ...


6 months ago zelda

We visit the area occasionally. Sadly, we never knew of that restaurant. How does Toulouse Petit in Seattle stack up against it? Would like your opinion. Or do you know of others? Love anything with these ingredients.


10 months ago riegelhaupt1

I'm in the middle of making this and it is such an interesting fun recipe, can't wait to eat. Loved the flour. And what a great story.


10 months ago cutekatecooks

I love this recipe and always double it as it freezes nicely. we don't use rice but instead top it with Fritos, cilantro, chilis, cheese and avocado. My go to chili recipe


almost 2 years ago AmyW

I made this last night for today's office chili cookoff, minus the rice. It tastes amazing! Can't wait to see how it stacks up with all the other concoctions we have for the contest.


almost 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi there - sorry I didn't reply sooner! Link or post - either way - it's on the interweb so public domain right? Could we have a link to your blog?


over 2 years ago Texas Ex

Truly delicious! The flavors melded so nicely. Well done!


over 2 years ago loubaby

One other thing...because I don't make recipes like gravy, Etouffe etc very often that require brown flour, I just toasted the 1/2 cup flour in a Le Crueset pot on the stove over low heat, stirring occasionally about 30 minutes til adequately toasted....


over 2 years ago loubaby

This was really really good...loved the gumbo flavor addition to the chili flavor...the only thing I am going to do different next time is after soaking the dried peppers in beer, I am going to process them because I didn't like the bits of pepper..perhaps I didn't chop them finely enough


over 2 years ago BoulderGalinTokyo

What a wonderful recipe and story! And thank you for introducing me to Cyril Neville. Love having a playlist to cook with...


over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Leave it to you...!


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

:-) how could I NOT?


over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I'm not sure how you did it, but this is a perfectly balanced dish - the gumbo is not overwhelmed by the chili and vice versa! It is truly delicious and lives up to it's name and backstory!


over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

:-) Thanks HLA! I was channeling the Tribe maybe !!!!


over 3 years ago Midge

What a great story and killer-sounding recipe. How fun that you and HLA got to hang out!


over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yay!! I love this so much! I'm happy you posted this because I was just thinking to myself a little while back, 'hmmm, I wonder if you could put seafood in chili. No. Well, there's seafood in gumbo. Oh, what about gumbo chili. Would that be weird?' And look! You made gumbo chili! Because you are awesome! But, we already knew that.


over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love this and the story is amazing. Gumbo chili, so creative and delicious.


over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks everyone! HLA is here and she tried some and she looked like she was enjoying it :-)


over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow, Abbie, I love this.


over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I had a feeling you'd invent something like this, and so glad you did. It looks fantastic.


over 3 years ago wssmom

yum yum yum will be making this soon (sans celery hahaha)