I love a good bowl of Gumbo with a pile of rice and a piece of crusty baguette! Gumbo, which is indigenous to West Africa and in French language translates to okra. The dish gumbo is essentially a light stew of vegetables. Gumbo is typically prepared with a variety of essential meats including bacon, chicken, andouille or other sausages and sometimes even rabbit and other game meat and birds. Fresh seafood and shellfish such as shrimp, crawfish, oysters or crab can also be a delicious addition. Although fresh okra is seasonal it is available throughout most of the year. Frozen okra makes an acceptable substitute, I do not recommend pickled okra. Gumbo file powder is ground sassafras root which works as a thicker and adds a unique flavor to the dish. Red ales are usually mellow in hop character with a reddish amber hue which adds a wonderful flavor dimension without making the gumbo bitter or dark. This recipe will feed four to six hungry guests and will take about two hours to prep and cook. Serve with rice and a cold red ale.


½  pound slab or sliced bacon, fine diced

2   pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs, diced

1   pound Andouille sausage, slice ¼ inch rounds

8   cloves garlic, chopped

1   white onion (1 cup), diced

3   stalks celery (1 cup), diced

1   green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1   red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1   jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

8   fresh okra, stemmed and sliced ¼ inch

1  Tablespoon unsalted butter

1  Tablespoons flour

2  Tablespoons Cajun blackening spice, to taste

2   bay leaves

2   teaspoons gumbo file powder

1   cup red ale, heated

14 ounce can diced tomato

4   cups chicken broth, heated

6   scallions, sliced

2   teaspoons Brew Chef’s Hot Pepper Hopzalt*

1   teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1   Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1    teaspoon Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce

4   cups cooked rice


1. Heat a heavy bottom 4 quart pot over medium high heat.

2. Add the bacon and cook until just crispy, stirring occasionally.

3. Season the chicken with some of the Cajun spice and add it to the pot, stir and cook golden and crispy. 

4. Add the sausage, stir and cook for 2 minutes. 

5. Reduce heat to medium and add the vegetables, stir and cook for 5 minutes.

6. Add the butter, spices, bay leaves and file powder, stir and cook until butter is melted. 

7. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes until all the ingredients are fully incorporated. 

8. Add the beer, tomato and broth, whisk well and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes while the gumbo thickens.

9. Season with Hopzalt, pepper, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces. 

10. Serve in a bowl with a scoop of rice and a sprinkling of scallions.