The Lexingtonienne




I was ten years old when my Cousin Kate was born. I was so thrilled to have a baby girl cousin, but I was equally thrilled about all the food that friends and neighbors had brought over to my Aunt Tara’s house.



Knowing that the new baby couldn’t eat the food, I decided to help out.



Someone had brought over this one soup in particular that kind of amazed me. It was sort of thick, a little spicy, had lots of vegetables, and was dotted with little shrimp.




I ate the entire Tupperware container of it.



“Oh, Mom,” I remember saying. “What kind of soup is this? Can you make some?”



She said she thought it was kind of like a gumbo — a word I’d never heard before — and that there was a new restaurant in town called Jozo’s that might have something similar.




Shortly thereafter, she took me to Jozo’s, where I began a sordid love affair with cajun food. Chicken etouffee, veggie succotash, shrimp creole, jambalaya, and yes — gumbo. Jozo’s had it all. And I ate it.



I remained a devotee through college, eating at Jozo’s at least weekly, right up until I moved to California. I’ve been here for 8 years now, and in all of Los Angeles — where there’s supposed to be something for everybody — I still have not found decent cajun food.





I have finally accepted that cajun food is now in the same category as pimiento cheese for me: if I want it, I’m going to have to make it myself.


Luckily, I happened across this fabulous crock pot gumbo recipe. Listen, y’all, obviously I recommend all of the recipes I put on here. But this one is extra special.



Hubba Bubba took one bite and declared it a winner. Ten-year-old me would have been so impressed.


1/4 C canola oil
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 lb Andouille sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 medium to large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 C frozen cut okra (or more if you’re an okra lover)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 small can mild diced green chilies, undrained
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sugar
black pepper to taste (but be pretty generous)
1 tsp Creole seasoning, such as Zatarain’s (If you happen to have it. If not, you’ll be fine without it.)
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and cooked

I love any dish that starts with a roux! A roux is an equal mix of flour and fat (either butter or oil), and it basically thickens and helps to flavor a dish. Depending on how long you cook your roux, it can be either light, medium, or dark. If your roux begins to burn at all, there’s no saving it. You’ll need to throw it out and start over. It’s disheartening, but it’s not the end of the world. To help prevent this from happening, you will need to:
– Make sure your heat is not too high.
– Stir constantly.
– Remove from heat before you think it’s quite done. The heat from the pan will continue to cook and darken the roux.

In a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat (closer to medium than high), combine oil and flour to make your roux. Whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes, until the roux becomes fragrant and just begins to darken. Turn heat down to low and whisk constantly for several more minutes, or until the roux is about the color of peanut butter.

Pour the roux into the crock pot. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT shrimp. The mixture will seem all raw and gross at this point. Trust. Stir and cover. Cook on low for 7-9 hours. (But if, like me, you don’t quite have 7-9 hours, you can cook it on high for a shorter amount of time. I did high heat for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours, then turned it down to low for a couple of hours. It’s a crock pot; you can’t go wrong.)

When you have about 20 minutes to go, add the shrimp.

Serve over rice. I also recommend a side of garlic bread.

Laissez les bon temps rouler,



  • Comment by Jeff Kuciapinski — September 30, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

    This looks really good. I’m thinking of trying it this weekend.

  • Comment by Katie A. — September 30, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

    YUM. WANT.

  • Comment by Hubba — September 30, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

    TRY THIS RECIPE. Amazing.

  • Comment by Shae — October 1, 2010 @ 6:04 am

    Please do a cookbook… :)

  • Comment by Amy — October 1, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

    My grocery list has all the stuff I’m missing. This is so getting thrown into a crock tomorrow for dinner. Mmm! Looks fantastic!

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  • Comment by Kerr — November 30, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

    Made this tonight and it was a huge hit. Thanks!

  • Comment by Bette Ramos — March 7, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

    I loved Jozo’s when I lived in Lexington. I’m in Va and my daughter is in CA and we have never found another like it! I’m going to make this. Do you have a creole recipe (Iloved the chicken and shrimp). I’m trying to make praline’s too. Thanks for the gumbo recipe.

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  • Comment by Hannilou — March 9, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

    Bette, so far I have never tried (or looked for) a creole recipe. I did used to LOVE Jozo’s etouffee, and if you double the amount of roux for the gumbo, you’ll have something very similar to the etouffee. I will say this gumbo recipe is great… I just made it again and my mom said it was the best gumbo she’s ever had. (!!!)

  • Comment by Jerry — April 29, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

    Just finished eating a bowl of this and had to post a review. This gumbo is DELICIOUS. I never thought I’d be able to do a decent homemade gumbo, but this recipe jumped out at me for some reason and I’m glad it did. So. Good. The only slight alterations I made were adding salt at the end and using bacon grease instead of canola oil. I am confident in saying that this is the best dish I have ever made. If you are looking for a gumbo recipe, this is it. THIS. IS. AMAZING. GUMBO!!!!!

  • Comment by Hannilou — April 30, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

    I’m so glad you liked it! I love it too, and it really is quite easy. Thanks for your comment. :)

  • Comment by Jerry — May 2, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

    I’ve had the leftovers for the past two nights. I just can’t believe how good this is. So. Good. We are all out now, so I’m going to the store tomorrow to get supplies for our next batch on Friday. Thank you so much for the amazing recipe!

  • Comment by Rosemary — September 6, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

    I just found this blog as I was looking for a Jozo’s etouffe recipe. I am originally from Kentucky as well and miss this dish terribly! I was wondering if you were ever able to replicate that recipe?

    Can’t wait to try this gumbo recipe!

  • Comment by Hannilou — September 9, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

    Hi Rosemary! I do not have any Jozo’s recipes (and also miss Jozo’s terribly). However, this recipe does come pretty close to the ettouffe, in my opinion. You can also use more flour and oil to make a larger amount of the roux (just be sure to use equal amounts), which will make this dish even more ettouffe-like. On an interesting note, I just today met the writer of “Steel Magnolias,” who is a Louisiana native. We had a big conversation about creole cooking – roux, trinities, etc. What a treat for me! :)

  • Comment by val — January 13, 2013 @ 8:10 am

    just stumbled across your blog…..
    I live in Louisiana about 20 minutes NW of New Orleans and make a darn good gumbo myself. But a gumbo from a crock pot? Now that is a challenge I gotta try. I sure hope it is as good as people say it is because it would be awesome for those days I want to make gumbo but work late! Gonna pull the stuff together TODAY….I’ll be back with the verdict tomorrow!

  • Comment by Lily — February 1, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

    How many servings does this recipe make?

  • Comment by Hannilou — February 1, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

    Hi! I usually serve this over rice and with a side of garlic bread, and I would say it makes about 6 servings.

  • Comment by Lily — February 1, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

    Thank you. I’ll stretch it with extra rice and lots of crusty bread – I have six hungry women coming to my house in a week but they’re all bringing something too, so it should be enough.

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  • Comment by CCat — February 26, 2013 @ 8:44 am

    Quick question (and this may be a dumb one)…does the chicken go in the crock pot raw or already cooked?

  • Comment by Hannilou — February 26, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

    The chicken goes into the crock pot raw. It will seem a little iffy (and icky) when you mix that raw chicken up with all those other ingredients, but I promise it turns out great!

  • Comment by RJ — March 6, 2013 @ 11:35 am

    I also found this site searching for Jozo’s. I love this recipe and have made it 3 or 4 times this winter. Each time, I add the okra later and later to keep it solid when served. Thanks

  • Comment by Hannilou — March 6, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

    It’s a pretty great recipe, isn’t it? I think you’re onto something with adding the okra later. I have left it out altogether (when I’ve forgotten to buy it) and didn’t even miss it, actually. Lately I find myself making more roux in the beginning, which to me makes it taste more like Jozo’s etouffee than their gumbo. I loved their etouffee!

  • Comment by Stephanie — March 27, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

    How much flour and butter do I use to make this roux? I have no idea how to cook! Please help!

  • Comment by Hannilou — March 27, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

    I use flour and canola oil (not butter) to make this roux. As written this recipe is 1/4 Cup of flour and 1/4 Cup of oil, but the most important thing for a roux is equal portions of flour and oil. Here is a printable pdf of the recipe:

  • Comment by Kim — April 17, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

    I have looked and looked but am I missing the fluid…do you add water or chicken broth at some point. Or did I miss it?

  • Comment by Hannilou — April 17, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

    You’re not missing anything, Kim! You don’t add any additional liquid. I promise, it works! :)

  • Comment by Otto — May 7, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

    Would the integrity of the dish be ruined if I wanted to up servings from 6 to 12? Would i just have to double everything? Cooking time, roux prep?

  • Comment by Otto — May 7, 2013 @ 3:41 pm

    One more question I have read that crockpots tend to dry out chicken. Is this why you use thighs compared to breasts.

  • Comment by Hannilou — May 8, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

    You could definitely double everything, as long as your crockpot is large enough. You probably won’t need to double the cooking time. It will probably take some additional time, but I doubt double. You’ll want to keep an eye on it. And yes, I do find that chicken breasts tend to dry out some. In my experience, chicken thighs always work better in the crockpot. In fact, even though I personally prefer white meat chicken, I usually substitute chicken thighs in any recipe that calls for chicken breasts.

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  • Comment by Quinnie — November 22, 2013 @ 9:58 am

    Sounds yum. I’m going to try this recipe today. But as a new Orleans native, you gotta have gumbo file in your gumbo. It’s a seasoning found all over the city but you may have to order some if you live elsewhere. Trust me, it really sets of your gumbo. It has a very faint, discreet tast.

  • Comment by Mai — December 19, 2013 @ 8:49 am

    THANK YOU! It was a hit during Thanksgiving and I’m going to make it again for Christmas. I was able to find pre-made roux so that even saved me more time.

  • Comment by S.Fitz — February 9, 2014 @ 8:50 am

    Made this first time for a get together & was my first gumbo.I was nervous. Big HIT- Def better the next day. One of my crockpot go to recipes now. Have since found it also freezes & reheats REEEALLY well! Wonderful recipe! The chicken thighs def make it better. I’m using them in other recipes now because of trying them in this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment by Mick Kalber — May 23, 2014 @ 1:22 am

    never made gumbo before… never even thot about making gumbo before. threw it all in a pot and oh, my god… what a fabulous dish! everyone totally loved it… just made another batch tonight. can’t wait for dinner tomorrow! mahalo from the big island of Hawaii!

  • Comment by Michelle — July 20, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

    This recipe is unbelievably scrumptious. I’ve made it for guests, and it’s been a huge hit! Now it’s in my regular recipe repertoire. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Comment by Hannilou — July 21, 2014 @ 11:50 am

    So glad you like it!

  • Comment by Hannilou — July 21, 2014 @ 11:52 am

    Happy you enjoyed it as much as we do!

  • Comment by Mick Kalber — August 1, 2014 @ 4:36 pm

    I love this dish! It’s easy to make (altho it takes awhile to acquire and prepare all the ingredients)… even a hack like me can do it!

  • Comment by Cynthia — September 4, 2014 @ 1:35 pm

    I am making this right now and decided to use leftover rotisserie chicken in it. I wondered if that would make the mix too thick since using the raw chicken would give it extra juice. Should I add anything to it or make extra roux?

  • Comment by Hannilou — September 7, 2014 @ 8:28 am

    Sorry I’m just now getting to your comment! Since the uncooked chicken does produce a lot of liquid, I would probably add some chicken broth rather than extra roux. But by now you have probably already made this, so… What did you decide to do? And how did it turn out? I’m curious to hear! :)

  • Comment by Matt — September 15, 2014 @ 7:12 pm

    No rice in the gumbo??? Looks amazing! I am going to make it!

  • Comment by matt — September 16, 2014 @ 7:24 am

    Nevermind… put it over rice…my bad lol.

  • Comment by Shawn S. — September 27, 2014 @ 7:13 pm

    I looove this recipe, but when I had guests and went to doubling the quantities, all of it wouldn’t fit in my small crock pot. So, I cooked it on the stove top.

    I boiled the chicken first separately.
    Made the roux. Then, I added all of the ingredients to a pot, except the shrimp.
    I cooked on med low heat for 2hrs, stirring occasionally.
    I added the shrimp 10 min before finishing.
    Came out perfectly.
    Thanks for the awesome recipe.
    My in-laws think I can cook, it’s great!

  • Comment by Baker — December 8, 2014 @ 7:01 am

    Every year when my husband’s side of the family gathers for Christmas everyone brings a huge pot of soup and a bread to go with for lunch (there are a lot of us… lots of soups/breads YUM). It has turned into a really fun tradition. Even though this isn’t a competition, it’s always my goal to find the next greatest soup. I like find a new recipe every year. Your recipe sounds like a WINNER!
    How many does this recipe serve? I have a 7 qt crockpot and I’d like to make as much as possible without altering the quality of the recipe.

  • Comment by Hannilou — December 8, 2014 @ 3:10 pm

    This is definitely a solid bet and is guaranteed to please! I serve it over rice and would say it will feed six people that way. Maybe more, especially if everyone is eating a little bit of everything. Hope that helps!

  • Comment by Baker — December 14, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

    WINNER!!! Followed the recipe exactly (x2, in a 7qt crockpot). Perfection! Thanks!!

  • Comment by Jonetta — December 29, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

    Never would have thunk I would find this so iniepsdnsable.

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