Weekend Cooking: Gumbo over Pearl Couscous

We were in New Orleans in October, and ever since then, I’ve been craving hearty, spicy food. And, since it’s cold and dreary outside, this is the best time of year to make it. What is it about cold weather that makes us want rib-sticking food? It’s ALL I want right now, so I’m constantly looking for recipes that aren’t too complicated, but are still delicious. I was happy to find this one; with a few tweaks, and some pearl couscous on the side (my new favorite thing—I’m a food texture person, and like it much better than quinoa), it was a huge hit with both myself and my husband.

Gumbo with Pearl Couscous

Gumbo over Pearl Couscous

adapted from The Cafe Sucre Farine


1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
3/4 cup all-purpose flour1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
8 oz. Andouille sausage, sliced (or Andouille chicken sausage, if you’re trying to be healthier)
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium bell peppers, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper (Or 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper if that’s what you have on hand)
1 lb shrimp, deveined and peeled
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Green onions, chopped

1 cup pearl couscous
1 1/4 cup chicken broth or water

Place the chicken breasts into a ziploc bag; add the Cajun seasoning and rub it into the chicken. Refrigerate until ready to use, preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat a dutch oven (or other large oven-safe cookware) over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. The flour will toast, turning light brown with a nutty aroma. Once it starts to smoke, move the pot off the burner and add the oil. Stir it until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the pot to the oven. Check on it every 15 minutes or so and stir. You’re making your roux here; the oven method ensures you don’t have to stand over the pot for 30 minutes stirring. If you prefer a stovetop roux, there are plenty of recipes for that in the ether, but this one is pretty foolproof. Once the roux is a nice brown color (about 35 minutes for me—just a bit darker than peanut butter), remove from the oven.

Put the dutch oven back on the stove over a medium burner. Add the onions, bell peppers, and sausage. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Add 1 cup of the chicken stock and the salt and pepper. While stirring, add the rest of the broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the veggies are cooking, pull the chicken breasts from the fridge and cut them into bite-size pieces.

Once the onions and peppers are cooked through, add the chicken. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the shrimp and stir. Cover the pot, then turn off the burner. Let it sit for 10 minutes, during which time the shrimp and chicken will cook (seriously—I was pretty skeptical about this step, but the chicken will actually fully cook.)

While you’re waiting for the gumbo to finish cooking, bring a small pot of chicken broth/water to a boil. Add the pearl couscous, then cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Garnish the gumbo with the parsley and green onions, to taste, with a small side of couscous. Serve hot!


  1. That looks yummy! Perfect for this time of the year since the high for today was about minus 10 Celsius here! (Not sure of my conversions…)

  2. That sounds so good. And perfect for our snowy day!

  3. My local grocery store, way up in central Michigan, has started carrying homemade Andouille. It would be perfect for this recipe.

  4. This would be great here today- it’s cold out there!

  5. Yum, that gumbo sounds so good! I like couscous too, but have never tried pearl couscous. Perfect winter dish. Thanks!

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever made an oven roux — I’d try the recipe just for that! But I love gumbo and pearl couscous and real andouille … thanks for this one.

  7. I know what you mean about the season calling for rib-sticking food! It’s like as soon as Daylight Savings passes, I need soup, stew, and chowder for every meal.

    I haven’t tried pearl couscous yet, but it looks lovely (I’m a food texture person, too).

  8. That looks delicious! I have never made Gumbo! I should!

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