Having grown up in coastal Mississippi, I’ve eaten my fair share of gumbo and jambalayas. At some point my dad decided to combine our favorites into one dish, enter gumbolaya! I admit this dish falls more on the gumbo side over the jambalaya side but darn it is tasty!!! My husband doesn’t handle super spicy very well so if you’re like me, kick this up a notch at the end with some Crystal’s hot sauce or a dash more of cayenne. This recipe is made without a roux so it is gluten-free!
To me, cajun food tastes like home and gumbolaya is definitely my definition of comfort. I love to make a giant batch and freeze the rest for times when I just need a good warm cuddle on the couch. I don’t get to visit New Orleans or southern Mississippi very often but at least I get to taste it. If I close my eyes hard enough, I can hear jazz and smell the sweet powdery air of fresh beignets.
Mardi Gras is a jubilant time when everyone is in the happiest of moods and good folks are biting down into plastic babies. In kindergarten, each student decorated a shoe box to march in the beach parade and we were each awarded with a slice of that beloved cinnamon sugar cake filled with sweet jellies. You know what I’m talking about, King Cake!!! My ALL-TIME favorite treat, I think I would ask for King Cake on death row as my last meal. But that is neither here nor there...in grade school my teacher stuck a plastic baby into every single student’s slice. I was ecstatic to have gotten the baby until I learned everyone else too had received the good luck!
I hope you make this gumbolaya and taste New Orleans for yourself!
New Orleans Gumbolaya
- 3 tbl olive oil
- 1 large finely chopped onion
- 3 stalks celery finely chopped
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 large bay leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 tbl chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 lb deveined and peeled raw shrimp
- 1 lb diced chicken breast (1/2 inch cubes)
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Brown rice for serving
- Place large stockpot over medium heat.
- Add olive oil and heat.
- Add onion and celery to oil. Sauté until the onions are translucent about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
- Add vegetable stock.
- Season mixture with thyme, oregano, bay leaves, salt, cayenne, chili, and black pepper.
- Bring to boil and let simmer for one hour.
- Let the soup cool down slightly before working in small batches to transfer 2/3 of the soup to a blender and puree. Add the pureed mixture back into remning soup.
- Add diced chicken and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add shrimp and cook for 5 minutes until the shrimp have turned pink.
Serve over brown rice with chopped parsley.