Gumbo Ya-Ya

After a couple hours on parade route, few things taste better than a big bowl of Gumbo Ya Ya. Former Commander's Palace Executive Chef Jamie Shannon's recipe for the iconic dish is one of our most requested. Happy Mardi Gras everyone!


  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 2-1/2-pound chicken, cut into quarters
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup sifted flour, divided
  • 4 large or 5 small onions, diced
  • 1 medium bunch celery, cleaned and diced
  • 4 bell peppers (green or red), diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 5 fresh cayenne peppers, diced
  • 1 pinch dried basil
  • 1 pinch dried oregano
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
  • 2 quarts cold water or stock
  • 1-1/2 pounds andouille sausage, sliced (or any spicy smoked sausage; I also use alligator sausage when available.)
  • 1 tablespoon filé powder
  • Louisiana hot sauce
  • hot cooked white rice
  • chiffonade of green onions (for garnish)


Heat oil in a pot over high heat for about 5 minutes or until oil is smoking. (Watch carefully.) Season chicken heavily with salt and pepper; dust with about 1/4 cup flour (shake off excess flour). Sear floured chicken in hot oil until golden brown, about 1 minute on first side. Turn and sear 2 minutes on second side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Heat oil to smoking point again. Slowly add remaining flour to make a roux, cooking and stirring constantly for about 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture is the color of chocolate. (Scraping the sides and bottom of the pot while constantly stirring is the key to a good roux. Be careful not to burn it because if you do, you will need to start over.) When roux has reached the desired color, add onions; cook for 1 minute. Add celery and cook for 30 seconds. Add bell peppers and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot; cook for 1 minute. Stir in garlic and then add bay leaves, cayenne pepper, basil, oregano, and thyme. Add a touch of salt and black pepper. Slowly add water or stock, stirring constantly. Add seared chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat and simmer for about 3-1/2 hours. Skim off excess fat. When chicken falls off all of the bones, remove the bones from the pot. Return to a boil. Add filé, stirring vigorously to avoid clumping; continue stirring until filé is dissolved. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Finish with Louisiana style hot sauce of your choice and taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary—don’t be afraid to spice this up! Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Serves 10-12

Recipe compliments of Jamie Shannon, Commander’s Palace

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