Daring Cooks: An International gumbo Incident

Chicken and smoked sausage gumbo with Crystal hot sauceOur Daring Cooks’ May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged us to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

Coincidentally, this month’s International Incident Party, hosted by the lovely Penny was also gumbo-themed…

I have to admit here, I was not a huge fan of gumbo when we were in New Orleans last March. I’m not sure I had a “good” one but I certainly had an authentic one and I just found it really heavy. So I wanted to make something “gumbo-inspired” (which is totally fine for the International Incident Party) but the Daring Cooks might be after me.  In any case I am not a huge fan of fish and a lot of seafood so I searched around for a gumbo involving chicken and came across one that could be made in the slow cooker. Could there be anything better in this, the last month of school, than an easy to assemble (and hopefully tasty) dish that would stretch across a few meals?

This recipe is adapted from Betty Crocker’s Slow cooker chicken ‘n rice gumbo soup.

Slow-cooker chicken and smoked sausage gumbo soup

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 3 hours 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 50 mins

A slow-cooker chicken and smoked sausage gumbo soup.

Yields 6-8


  • 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1/4 pound fully cooked smoked sausage (like kielbasa), chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes, in their juice
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons Joe's Stuff Seasoning *
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • about 6 oz fresh okra
  • 3 cups hot cooked rice
  • Hot pepper sauce, to serve
  • Fresh thyme leaves, to serve


  1. Mix chicken, sausage, celery, carrot, onion, tomatoes, pepper, stock, sage, thyme and seasoning in 4- to 5-quart slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on high setting 3 hours.
  3. At this point you can let the soup sit (refrigerated) overnight and when you are ready to finish it, bring it to room temperature.
  4. Stir in okra and tomato paste. Cover and cook on low heat setting 30 minutes longer.
  5. Spoon soup over rice in soup bowls. Serve with pepper sauce and sprinkle with some fresh thyme.



We ate it both as a soup (above) and as a thicker stew (photo at head of post) and whilst it was not authentic, it was tasty and I liked how you just made it as hot as you want with the addition of the hot sauce at then end. * The Joe’s Stuff Seasoning we bought is not that hot, though there are different varieties which you can purchase here.

A successful interpretation of, yet certainly not authentic, gumbo-style soup which tastes even better the next day. And the day after that.

This post also marks an end and a new beginning. It’s actually my 2 year blogiversary, my 575th post and my last Daring Cooks.  I originally joined the Daring Cooks in December 2009 as a way of keeping myself challenged in the kitchen when I started my PhD and had no time to continue pursuing the Food and Media Certificate at George Brown College.  Well this year, things changed dramatically and I have decided to take a break from my PhD at least for next year, mostly because I was not enjoying it and pretty much the whole time I was studying, I was thinking about what I could cook or photograph next.  Yesterday I received the grades for the course I managed, despite many obstacles, to complete this term and I feel like it’s time to turn the corner on the blog and branch out bit from some of the blogging challenges I am involved in.  Challenges are good and I have certainly learned a lot with the Daring Cooks but I am at a point in blogging where I need to find a path of my own and follow it.  I am not sure where this will lead me but I sure hope you will follow along with me!

In the meantime, check out what everyone else brought to the IIP Gumbo Party:

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80 Responses to Daring Cooks: An International gumbo Incident

  1. Belinda @zomppa May 14, 2011 at 21:29 #

    I’m going gag for your gumbo!! Many changes ahead…great that you recognize what makes you happy and going for it.

  2. Kimmie May 14, 2011 at 21:34 #

    I think you’d love our family’s recipe for gumbo, passed down through many generations in Louisiana. It’s just a great chicken and sausage recipe – so simple, yet so flavorful.

    Yours looks tasty – can’t wait to see the direction that unfolds!

  3. Paula May 14, 2011 at 21:36 #

    I would not be a big fan of authentic gumbo either (the fish 🙁 ) but your chicken gumbo (both versions) look good and hearty.
    Congratulations on your second blog anniversary, on successfully completing your term and for having the courage to finish one thing (Daring Cooks) and to begin another…on an entirely new path. YES, I will definitely be following along…wouldn’t miss it Mardi.

  4. penny aka jeroxie May 14, 2011 at 21:36 #

    2 years! Happy bloggy day and happy birthday as well Mardi! xoxo

  5. Tonya - What's On My Plate May 14, 2011 at 21:38 #

    Yay! Glad you’re emancipating yourself a bit from the challenges. I’m looking forward to where this takes you.

  6. Maya May 14, 2011 at 21:52 #

    Well, I’ve never had gumbo before so I can’t vouch for the authenticity of mine. Plus I tweaked it a lot! Hey, I really like your soup bowl and chili table cloth, so chic and apt to the theme.

    Happy Birthday and 2nd Blogoversary, Mardi. I hope you come out of this crossroads into something more exciting and fulfilling!

  7. leaf (the indolent cook) May 14, 2011 at 21:59 #

    Love the red gumbo – it immediately brings to attention tangy, spicy flavours, of which I’m a big fan!

  8. Jenn May 14, 2011 at 22:34 #

    Congrats on 2 years Mardi!! Love how easy your version sounds!

  9. Michelle May 14, 2011 at 23:05 #

    Good luck with your new direction Mardi! Your gumbo looks gorgeous… and it would be something I would love to try. I made the original one for the Daring Cooks, but found it had quite a bitter undertone, and yours looks more like my style.

    Lots of life changes for you eh? Just wanted to say that its really worth taking a break and looking back at things, especially if you’re not enjoying them as much. I gave my PhD when my husband pointed out how miserable and moody it was making me, and to be honest, an MPhil hasn’t really held me back careerwise…

    Its all about loving what you do, and its awesome what you’ve done with your blog!! Cheers!

  10. Nelly Rodriguez May 14, 2011 at 23:59 #

    Mardi, congrats on the 2 years and I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide your path to be!

  11. Cathy/ShowFoodChef May 15, 2011 at 02:18 #

    Mardi, we tweeted a little about the pics for Gumbo and wow yours turned out great (of course). My 2 yr comes at the end of July and I’m feeling in the exact place you mentioned too. I did challenges because I respond well to the stretch and now I’m thinking I need more definition for my blog, etc.. but not sure how that will show up yet. Best of luck as you advance to that next level – I’ll be glad to follow along and enjoy. Best and love 😀

  12. Sukaina May 15, 2011 at 07:06 #

    I have no idea what gumbo was before this- never heard of it or tried it. I’m glad you’re following your heart and instincts and look forward to seeing where your new path takes you.

  13. Ruth H. May 15, 2011 at 08:33 #

    I lovethe slow cooker version of the gumbo – I think I will have to try that next time. Your gumbo looks beautiful, both as a soup and a stew. I am sorry that you will not be participating inthe DC challenges any more, but please keep us posted on your adventures. You will be missed!

  14. Ethan May 15, 2011 at 08:55 #

    Well, for someone who doesn’t truly like gumbo, I think you did it proud and i’d certainly sit down for a bowl of it with that beer.
    Can’t wait to see where your new challenges take you!

  15. mademoiselle délicieuse May 15, 2011 at 08:57 #

    Happy blog birthday! As blogging is such a passion and hobby of people who do it, you can only continue in a way which makes you enjoy it. I guess this can be said about a lot of things in life, but as long as you find what you’re doing rewarding then that’s what you need to do =)

    PS. Love the chilli print in the background!

  16. msihua May 15, 2011 at 09:00 #

    Oh fantastic! Happy 2 years!! Loving the colour on your gumbo! Such a stand-out!

  17. MikeVFMK May 15, 2011 at 09:21 #

    Mardi, I’m a big fan of gumbo and anything with smoked sausage is going to be great. Congrats on making those difficult decisions and on your second anniversary! I can’t wait to see what’s next!

  18. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes May 15, 2011 at 10:10 #

    Congratulations on your anniversary! Wish you much continued success. Looks like a fabulous meal.

  19. Brian @ A Thought For Food May 15, 2011 at 10:19 #

    Happy Anniversary! It’s a wonderful accomplishment!

    And this gumbo looks delightful. I’m a fan of okra (which, I have learned, many people are not fond of). Great dish!

  20. Kate@Diethood May 15, 2011 at 10:23 #

    Happy Blogoversary, Mardi! Here’s to a million more!!

    I’m not a fan of gumbo, but I think I just haven’t found the right one, yet… I will admit that I am really liking this chicken/sausage mix with some okra and rice…sounds like a really good hearty meal.

  21. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having May 15, 2011 at 10:31 #

    Happy Anniversary!
    I think your light gumbo sounds great. I think part of the challenge is making a recipe your own, and you did that perfectly. I can’t wait to see what your future challenges will be!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 26, 2011 at 20:37 #

      Ah but the Daring Cooks don’t like for you to make the challenges your own. Why I am leaving…

  22. Lana May 15, 2011 at 10:53 #

    Happy 2nd anniversary! 575 posts make for a lot of writing. As we grow as bloggers, our goals and perspective change, and we have to adjust our initial thinking and decisions. I am staying with you for the ride:)
    That’s a good-looking gumbo, authentic or not (I will bend the “rules” to make sure we enjoy the dish – what’s the point in sticking to authenticity, if you don’t like it?)

  23. Simply Life May 15, 2011 at 11:33 #

    Wow, so many exciting new changes – I wish you the best! This dish looks wonderful!

  24. Mr. Neil May 15, 2011 at 12:53 #

    The wine pick for this dish, as you can see…was a BEER.

    Went for an American IPA; hoppier style, which worked well with the spice.

    The one in the pic is Duggan’s No.9, brewed in Toronto and closed up shop five hours after I left the palce. Yikes!

    An excellent American IPA is Southern Tier, in New York near the shores of Lake Erie. But there are many others.

  25. Mr. Neil May 15, 2011 at 12:54 #

    …and needless to say, I’m along for the next two years! 🙂

    The quality of eating in the hosue has risen substantially since 2009. 😉

    Congrats on 575 Mardi, and – while you’ve discarded it – the great marks on your coursework too.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 26, 2011 at 20:38 #

      I love how the course and the Daring Cooks all of a sudden are so successful now that I have discarded both!

  26. cooking rookie May 15, 2011 at 12:58 #

    Wow, looks like you are going through so many changes this year. Good luck with that! I personally think that we have a lot of inflation in degrees nowdays, too many people are getting PhDs and anywhere outside of academia it does not count as much as it used to. On the other hand, if you don’t enjoy PhD, it’s almost guaranteed that you won’t enjoy an academic career, so I think unless one is really into a specific research topic that can only be studied in academia, PhD is a waste of time.
    Regarding your gumbo, I think you’ve made a great decision to use a slow cooker. I sufferred so much through this challenge with constant stirring that I don’t think any stew is worth that much effort (and I am not a huge fan of gumbo too). So at least you probably saved yourself a lot of time and sweat over a hot pot of roux :-). Looks like you’re making a lot of right decisions 🙂

  27. Trix May 15, 2011 at 13:43 #

    Whatever you do, please don’t quit doing the IIPs!! I am a huge fan of gumbo, and I like your lighter version. Of course mad props for displaying the Crystal hot sauce so prominently!! My fave : )

  28. Liz May 15, 2011 at 14:58 #

    I’m a gumbo fan and yours looks terrific, Mardi!

  29. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } May 15, 2011 at 15:08 #

    I have yet to make gumbo – your recipe looks simple and delish! Happy Sunday!

  30. Emily @ Life On Food May 15, 2011 at 16:08 #

    I love gumbo but it is something I have never tried at home. I love that this is for the slow cooker. I definitely will be trying this soon. Thanks for sharing!

  31. Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz May 15, 2011 at 19:00 #

    Happy Birthday and blogiversary. I think you gumbo inspired soup is great. I think your decision is wise for you, funny this is my last DC too, I just did not write it. Good luck with your new vision to come

  32. Tami May 15, 2011 at 19:07 #

    Goodo….a slow cooker recipe to try. With the cold weather already here, the slow cooker is making more of an appearance.

    Happy blogiversary and happy (belated) birthday and of course you know I’ll be around reading for the next how many ever years until there’s no more to read. Will be inspiration for me when I move to Christchurch for 12 months to do my chef diploma!!

    Noticed the Book Depository link too!!

  33. merry jennifer May 15, 2011 at 19:58 #

    Congratulations on your 2 year blogiversary, Mardi. I’m so happy that we met through the interwebs, and then in real life last August. I love sharing this world of food blogging with you.

  34. chef_d May 15, 2011 at 22:32 #

    Congratulations on your anniversary. And that gumbo looks delicious and rich!

  35. Winnie May 15, 2011 at 23:18 #

    Congrats on 2 years! And 575 posts? That’s outrageous!
    I think it’s great that you stuck with DC and DB for so long, and great also that you recognized you’re ready to move on. I did both for a while, too, but stopped when I was no longer enjoying the challenges- I really need to do my own thing with my posts and found those groups a little constricting. See you soon 😉

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 26, 2011 at 20:41 #

      Yes, a little ridiculous how many posts I have written… Glad to be in great company with other DC dropouts!

  36. sawsan@chef in disguise May 16, 2011 at 11:52 #

    Happy anniversary and good luck in whatever it is you decide to do 🙂
    Your gumbo looks stunning and your pictures are really beautiful

  37. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction May 16, 2011 at 20:52 #

    Oh… This looks amazing! I have to give this a try ASAP. I was just working on my menu for the week, and I think I need to add this!

  38. Corinne @ Gourmantic May 16, 2011 at 21:37 #

    Congrats on your 2 year blogiversary Mardi! That’s quite a lot of cooking and eating documented 🙂 Here’s to many more!

  39. Magic of Spice May 16, 2011 at 22:43 #

    Happy 2nd Blogoversary! Both of these versions sound like they came out wonderfully 🙂 And I am sure your new path will lead you in the right direction 🙂

  40. T. May 19, 2011 at 16:07 #

    Gah, a slow cooker! What genius! And I love the bright red color the broth took on….looks so yummy!


  41. Yuri May 21, 2011 at 11:29 #

    Happy Blogiversary, Mardi! So glad I “met” you and found your blog. You inspire me with your pretty pics and your petite chefs series.
    Gumbo isn’t the most photogenic dish out there and still you managed to get a good shot 🙂

  42. Aggie June 20, 2011 at 19:14 #

    I haven’t had many gumbos in my life…I do love seafood though but yours looks so light and fresh! Look at that okra! looks delicious!


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