Can’t get to Disneyland? Bring Blue Bayou Square to your kitchen with this delicious Blue Bayou Gumbo recipe!
Confession: I have never actually tried gumbo before … that is, until now.
I had always wanted to try it. Although I’ve been to both Blue Bayou and Cafe Orleans in Disneyland, where this New Orleans classic is served, the gumbo did not seem to be on the menu at the time.
With Disneyland’s recent reopening, my heart has been longing for the Happiest Place on Earth. So, I thought, why not try to make Disneyland’s gumbo in my own kitchen?
While I dream of chef Princess Tiana showing up at my doorstep with a big pot of gumbo, I decided to channel my favorite entrepreneurial princess by making it happen myself.
If you want to make it too (and trust me … you do), pull up a lily pad and keep reading to learn how it’s done!
Blue Bayou Gumbo Recipe
Find everything you’ll need here, including ingredients and instructions, at Food is a Four Letter Word. The blogger who recreates this recipe for Blue Bayou and Cafe Orleans’ gumbo uses her Instant Pot as a time saver.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot, no problem! In the instructions on the blog, follow step one as normal, follow step two by using a frying pan to sautée the ingredients. Once you get to step three, simmer the ingredients in a large saucepan altogether on the stove for about half an hour.
I used my Instant Pot. Any excuse to break out my little R2D2. Isn’t he adorable? Oh, how I wish all my appliances were Disney-themed.
What You’ll Need
Don’t get intimidated by the vast amount of ingredients, and don’t fret if you can’t find everything. For example, one of the ingredients is tasso ham.
I could not find tasso ham near me, and truth be told, ham isn’t my favorite anyway, so I added shrimp instead. I’m sure regular ham would work well too.
One thing to make sure you do have is gumbo file powder. Maybe it’s more commonly found in the States, but this Canadian had never heard of it before.
I was lucky to source it, and it’s essential to use, as it helps along with the okra and the flour to give your gumbo that sumptuous, thick broth.
TIP 1: THE KEY IS PATIENCE
The first step of gumbo, making the roux, is a long and slow game. But, when done right, it is oh so perfect.
You’re using fat (such as butter) and flour (I used gluten-free buckwheat flour instead of all-purpose flour. If you cannot tolerate wheat, this worked perfectly) to create a thick sauce you need to whisk constantly as the roux changes color and consistency.
Once it gets to a dark, melted chocolate-looking brown, you’re on the right track.
TIP 2: USE A STICKY RICE
Get that beautiful presentation for your gumbo with the perfectly clean white rice in the middle; stickier rice will help you achieve the shape you want. I used white jasmine rice, which I found to be the perfect consistency
Once my rice was cooked, I packed it tightly into a ceramic ramekin dish and then carefully placed it into my gumbo-filled soup bowl.
TIP 3: DO EXACTLY AS PRINCESS TIANA SAYS
“Hit it hard with a couple of shots of Tabasco, and it’s the bee’s knees,” Tiana advised Mama Odie when she pondered what was missing from her pot of gumbo.
Tiana is right. I like things just a little bit spicy, but I am not overly huge on spicy dishes.
That said, when you have a soup consistency that’s nearly as thick as gravy, the Tabasco (or whichever hot sauce you choose) is necessary. It helps cut through the thickness of your gumbo and makes it so much more flavorful.
I fell head over heels for this dish. Seeing as this was my first time making and even trying gumbo, I can’t wait to try it when I’m back in Disneyland!
It is so rich, delicious, and satisfying. The weather has been chilly here (real spring doesn’t hit my area of Canada until mid to late May), so this gumbo might make another appearance or two in our kitchen over the next couple of weeks! It’s the perfect comfort food.
Now, if only I had some of Tiana’s man-catching beignets to wrap up the whole meal.