One of my bucket list items was to travel to Louisiana and experience all of the famous southern cuisine that hails from that state. Just as I reached the age and place in my life to begin traveling in earnest, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, which drastically changed my eating habits. This recipe for Shrimp and Sausage Stew is a paleo-friendly rendition of the classic gumbo. By studying original recipes by the great chefs of that region like Leah Chase, and testing in my kitchen, I’ve been able to recreate this dish with ingredients that are as close to the original as possible, but that my body appreciates.
Creating this recipe took a lot of research considering I haven’t been able to actually taste the real deal. While I loved reading through tons of recipes for it in cookbooks and on blogs, I did notice one thing. Some had okra and some didn’t. It seemed that the most traditional and beloved versions incorporated this vegetable, something that isn’t often found in California produce.
I did a little digging and was surprised to read that the word “Gumbo” is derived from the word “gombo,” which translates to “okra” in many West African languages. So it appears that a true gumbo must include okra. After reading through lots of blogs on this subject, I came across the Netflix show High on the Hog and was eager to learn more about how many different cuisines that are now popular in the United States derived from traditional African cuisine and were preserved (and modified with ingredients available) by enslaved people. If you haven’t watched it, I highly suggest it. It’s fascinating, so beautifully shot, and incredibly educational and eye-opening.
This paleo-friendly version of gumbo is chock-full of shrimp, chicken, sausage, okra and tomatoes, just like the flavorful original. You can serve this Shrimp and Sausage Stew on its own or alongside cauliflower rice to keep it 100% paleo, white rice if you tolerate some grains, or my Skillet “Corn” Bread from page 131 in my cookbook Celebrations. I have both Instant Pot and stovetop instructions below, so if you are short on time you can make this incredibly fragrant dish in less than 30 minutes. This recipe is packed with flavor and makes for a fun and easy weeknight meal.
The traditional way:
Traditionally, Gumbo is a thick stew made with chicken, sausage, seafood and vegetables. The key to this Shrimp and Sausage Stew is the roux used to thicken the stew, which is commonly made with flour and oil, or sometimes bacon fat or butter. It is typically cooked together for about 30-45 minutes until it becomes dark brown and a doughy consistency. The roux is what adds the deep, rich flavor to the gumbo. I found that the okra also helped thicken the stew.
For this paleo-friendly version, I used a mixture of onions and arrowroot to obtain that same flavorful and thick consistency!
The Bacon and Sausage:
My favorite way to prepare bacon for my kids on the weekend is to bake it on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 400F, and I always save the drippings afterwards in a jar. Once I accumulate enough to cook with it, I love to use it in this flavorful southern gumbo recipe, or to drizzle over vegetables before roasting. Ghee will work well, but the smokiness of the bacon drippings really makes this dish.
My favorite clean brands for andouille sausage are Niman Ranch or Teton Waters. I have no problem finding either of those brands at my local Whole Foods. If you can’t find either of those brands, Thrive Market and ButcherBox also have some sausage options.
📷: Ashley Lima
I hope you love this recipe as much as my family did! If you love this recipe, be sure to pre-order my next cookbook, Healthy In A Hurry for more flavor packed recipes that can be made in a half hour or less!
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Shrimp and Sausage Stew
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 18 mins
- Total Time: 38 minutes
- Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Instant Pot
- 1/2 cup rendered bacon fat or ghee
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cups chicken Bone Broth (page 000)
- 1 (14-ounce) jar diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 8 ounces frozen sliced okra
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder, if needed to thicken
- 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on
- 6 ounces andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions, white and tender green parts
- Basic Cauli-Rice, for serving
- On an electric pressure cooker, select the sauté setting on high, then heat 1/4 cup of the bacon fat. Add the onion and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown. Pour the onion and bacon fat into a blender and set aside.
- Heat the remaining 1/4 cup bacon fat in the pot, add the celery, bell pepper, and garlic, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and the celery and bell pepper are beginning to soften. Select the cancel button.
- Meanwhile, pour the broth into the blender with the onion and blend on high speed for 30 to 45 seconds, until very smooth. When the vegetables are ready, pour the pureed broth mixture into the pot, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, salt, paprika, and cayenne, and stir to mix. Secure the lid, select the manual button, and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Quick release the pressure, then remove the lid and add the parsley and okra. If the stew base seems too thin, in a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot and 1 tablespoon water to form a slurry, then stir the slurry into the soup.
- Select the sauté setting on high heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the okra softens and the liquid has thickened slightly. Add the shrimp and sausage and cook for 1 minute more, until the shrimp turn pink and curl slightly and the sausage is heated through.
- Select the cancel button and remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the green onions and serve with the cauli-rice.
To Use the Stove Top: In a Dutch oven, sauté the onion in the bacon fat over medium heat as directed, then transfer the onion to a blender. Add the celery, bell pepper, and garlic to the Dutch oven and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, salt, paprika, and cayenne and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add the broth and arrowroot to the onion and blend on high speed for 30 to 45 seconds, until very smooth. Pour the puree into the pot, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring the mixture back to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened. Add the parsley and okra and cook for about 5 minutes, until the okra softens. Add the shrimp and sausage and cook for about 2 minutes more, until the shrimp turn pink and curl slightly and the sausage is heated through. Turn off the heat, stir in the green onions, and serve as directed.
Keywords: Danielle Walker, gumbo, southern, paleo, seafood, dinner, gluten-free, against all grain