Cast Iron

Sausage and Lentil Gumbo

December 27, 2010
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 3 hours
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

I love the richness of gumbo, a roux-based soup. It is hearty and comforting cold weather fare. Gumbo commonly uses okra or filé powder as a thickener -- I decided to use some red lentils instead, and I was quite pleased with the result. I had an orange bell pepper on hand so used it in the "trinity." I added lacinato kale to add some contrast in color and texture. I prefer to make my roux in the oven (so easy), but feel free to do it on the stove-top if you'd like.

It makes a great hearty meal for a casual get-together, and it tastes even better if made the day before. You only need to rewarm the leftovers and make some rice (and a pan of cornbread with whipped honey butter, if you're so inclined). This soup is like love in a bowl, so it should definitely be shared! —hardlikearmour

Test Kitchen Notes

This dish was yummy! The bacon flavor is nice and strong -- and there is nothing better than bacon paired with lentils. The addition of sausage and kale really rounds out the dish. —audrey kasindorf

What You'll Need
  • 3 ounces diced bacon (or pancetta)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bell pepper (color of your choice)
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 pounds Zatarain's Andouille Smoked Sausage
  • 1 cup red or yellow lentils (split and skinned-style lentils)
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons creole seasoning, plus more to taste
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F. Sauté the bacon in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or another oven-safe skillet) until browned and crisped, then strain it through mesh strainer to collect the fat. Place the bacon in the fridge -- it will be added to the gumbo later. Wipe down the skillet well. Strain the collected fat into a liquid measuring cup, using a very fine strainer or some cheesecloth. Add vegetable oil to the pancetta fat to get 1/3 cup total.
  2. Place the fat and flour into the cast iron skillet and mix together. Bake in the oven for about 90 minutes, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes, until you have a dark roux. It should look similar to melted chocolate.
  3. While the roux is cooking, do your prep: Dice the onion, bell pepper, and celery, then combine them in a bowl. Mince or press the garlic. Slice your sausage on the bias. Pick over and rinse the lentils well. Wash, derib, and coarsely chop your kale.
  4. Once your roux is done, place the skillet on a burner, and add your onions, bell pepper, and celery. Heat the skillet over medium to medium-high heat, stirring continuously, until the veggies are softened. Stir in your garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Transfer your roux and vegetables to a 4 to 6 quart stock pot. Use 1 to 2 cups of your stock to deglaze the skillet and mix it together with the vegetables in the stock pot. Add the rest of your stock, the bay leaf, thyme, allspice, and creole seasoning to the stock pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low.
  5. Brown your sausage in the now empty skillet. Add the sausage to the stock pot. Simmer for 30 minutes, then add your lentils. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until your lentils are soft and start to fall apart. Add the kale -- you will need to stir this a bit to get all of the kale wilted. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the bacon. Taste for seasoning, then add creole seasoning, salt, and pepper as needed.
  6. Serve over long-grain white rice with Louisiana hot sauce as a condiment.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Julie Vasek Finch
    Julie Vasek Finch
  • Lynn
  • Emilio Abrego
    Emilio Abrego
  • Hilarybee
  • aargersi
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

17 Reviews

[email protected] February 7, 2021
It was really a fantastic bunch of flavors. I did alter it due to what I had available. The only thing was I added way more veggies such as, Red and yellow pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, white onion and topped it with bacon and diced red onion. I used Trader Joes already cooked lentils at the very end and just simmered for about 8 mins. Thank you for all the suggestions and recipes.
Julie V. October 29, 2020
Food 52 recipes are my goto and this one was another all-Star!
eatlikeachef October 24, 2014
I highly recommend making your own creole seasoning since there is a ton of salt in the prepackaged ones. I like Emeril's , and I make it without the salt. That way I can add it at whatever point in the recipe I want to, and just add the salt separately. I made this recipe today, it's delicious!
Lynn October 12, 2014
This looks amazing. But: can you recommend a creole seasoning recipe? It's pretty unknown in the Netherlands...
Transcendancing October 12, 2014
I am also eager to try it and would love a Creole seasoning recipe...
Transcendancing October 12, 2014
I just found this with 2 recipes, for Creole seasoning, both of which look very good:
hardlikearmour October 13, 2014
The Gumbopages are a great resource for cajun and creole recipes. The first gumbo I ever made was the leftover turkey one from that site.
Transcendancing October 13, 2014
I'm definitely going to have to look at some of the recipes on the site!
Emilio A. October 12, 2014
Just want to try this recipe
Hilarybee December 3, 2011
I'm making this for dinner tomorrow! I'm super excited about it! It looks amazing. Can't wait to report back.
hardlikearmour December 3, 2011
yay! I can't wait to hear your thoughts. I'm a huge fan of gumbo in the winter; it is great comfort food.
aargersi December 28, 2010
LOVE this - love gumbo, I have never made oven roux so I will try it for sure. And thickening with lentils is a stroke of genius!!!
hardlikearmour December 28, 2010
Thanks, aargersi. Oven roux is awesome - you don't have to stir continuously & and can get it nice and dark w/o much risk of burning it. It takes a long time, but it's mostly inactive.
dymnyno December 27, 2010
Looks gorgeous and sounds like the perfect dish for a cold day...which I will be experiencing in two days!
hardlikearmour December 27, 2010
Thanks, dymnyno! I had a heaping bowl today, and it's definitely a belly warmer. I bet you have some great mulled wine recipes for cold days!
dymnyno December 27, 2010
Actually, no mulled wine...I like it straight from the bottle to my glass! I lived in Portland for 8 long cold winters so I appreciate your recipe. Isn't it time for an ice storm?
hardlikearmour December 27, 2010
Yep. We're supposed to have a snow/rain mix later this week. Brrr.