One-Pot Wonders

Chili Gumbo

January 28, 2012
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
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! —aargersi

Test Kitchen Notes

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
In This Recipe
  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!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Drew Buckner
    Drew Buckner
  • mrslarkin
  • AmyW
  • Texas Ex
    Texas Ex
  • loubaby
I work in databases by day, but creativity is my outlet. Food - imagining it, making it, sharing it. And art, I come from a family of artists and have been collaging in my garage studio. You can see my work on Etsy in my shop AbbiesGarage

36 Reviews

JenVP March 10, 2021
This recipe is one of my favorite things to cook. I made a few small changes. As suggested by someone else in the comments, I ran the beer/chilies mixture through the blender to make sure the chilies were fully processed. I also add okra when adding the onion/green peppers and I throw some shrimp in at the end until just cooked through. Shrimp and okra are my favorite things about gumbo so I didn't want to leave them out.
Author Comment
aargersi March 10, 2021
Love it! I’ll have to try adding okra and shrimp too!
angie February 16, 2018
This was not for me- I prefer my chili and gumbo separate! I thought it had too much roux, but that may be me... added kidney beans and then added smoked paprika and chipotle powder to salvage it and make it more like chili
fearlessem December 3, 2017
I was so excited to try this recipe as the concept felt like genius... made it tonight and it was just ok for me... Very bitter, I guess from the beer and dried chilis... I had to add a few tablespoons of honey to balance it out. Somehow this felt like less than the sum of it's parts -- I'd rather eat either chili or gumbo...
Drew B. January 18, 2017
I made this for our company chili cookoff......I won!!!
Author Comment
aargersi January 18, 2017
That's awesome!
mrslarkin May 25, 2015
Chris G. January 15, 2015
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!
Author Comment
aargersi January 15, 2015
Oh please do, and post the recipe! Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this one ...
sydney March 5, 2015
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.
riegelhaupt1 November 9, 2014
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.
cutekatecooks November 7, 2014
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
AmyW November 19, 2013
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.
Briget L. November 11, 2015
how did you do in the cook off? I have one in two weeks and am thinking of using this recipe.
[email protected] November 12, 2013
I made your Chili Gumbo and it was delicious, as 3 other people also said. I love this site some great cooks and chefs here. Here is my blog mostly about pellet smoker cooking.
Your chili gumbo is down the page some. Don
[email protected] October 29, 2013
Looks great and love the story of how you created the recipe. I have the chilies bought and will try this. I am going to smoke the meat for added flavor. I have my own cooking blog, do you care if I repost your recipe with credtit or I can just link to it if you prefer. Don
Author Comment
aargersi November 11, 2013
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?
Texas E. February 17, 2013
Truly delicious! The flavors melded so nicely. Well done!
loubaby January 19, 2013
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....
loubaby January 19, 2013
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
BoulderGalinTokyo January 11, 2013
What a wonderful recipe and story! And thank you for introducing me to Cyril Neville. Love having a playlist to cook with...
boulangere December 11, 2012
Leave it to you...!
Author Comment
aargersi December 12, 2012
:-) how could I NOT?
hardlikearmour January 31, 2012
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!
Author Comment
aargersi February 1, 2012
:-) Thanks HLA! I was channeling the Tribe maybe !!!!
Midge January 31, 2012
What a great story and killer-sounding recipe. How fun that you and HLA got to hang out!
fiveandspice January 29, 2012
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.
Author Comment
aargersi January 28, 2012
Thanks everyone! HLA is here and she tried some and she looked like she was enjoying it :-)