First, You Make a Roux


I think this is an appropriate title for the first post considering the gym is named after the iconic thickener! Is it a little ironic that we named our CrossFit Gym “CrossFit Roux” and we advocate a diet free of gluten? Ha! DSC05503 So many dishes popular in New Orleans begin with instructions that go something like this: “First, you make a roux by combining equal parts of butter and flour. Whisk constantly over med/low heat until your mixture resembles the color of peanut butter (approximately 20 minutes).” While this recipe doesn’t start with making a roux, I achieve the thickness with arrowroot powder. To be honest, I used to skip over recipes that included ingredients like arrowroot powder because it seemed like such a fussy ingredient, but I haven’t found a better alternative to thicken sauces for paleo recipes since cornstarch and flour are both out. I wasn’t even sure if arrowroot powder was considered paleo or not, but I ran across this recipe from paleo guru Robb Wolf, so we’re going to go with it! I started by mixing my seasonings together. Did you know filé is ground sassafras leaves? The things you learn from reading every label!  DSC05495 Then I chopped up the creole trinity: onions, bell peppers, and celery. I had an orange bell pepper on hand- any color will work! This cutting board was a Christmas gift—how cute is it? DSC05497 Let’s talk sausage! Compliant sausage isn’t easy to find because most of them have sugar. I found this Andouille at Whole Foods- just make sure to read the ingredients! DSC05494 I browned the sausage and seasoned chicken in my Dutch oven and set aside. I then added the veggies and sautéed until they were soft.DSC05499   I added the majority of the stock to the pot! With about a cup of the reserved stock, I whisked in the arrowroot powder until it was lump free and then added it to the pot. Simmer with the chicken thighs for about an hour until you can easily shred the meat! If you’re intimidated of making gumbo, it’s really not that complicated especially when you remove the roux making process.   While it does take a while to make, there’s not a lot of active cooking time. This recipe is toddler approved! Brennan enthusiastically inhaled his serving and immediately shoved the empty bowl in front of me and said, “MORE!” He ate it all and then requested thirds! This kid can EAT!DSC05506    

Paleo Chicken and Sausage Filé Gumbo
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3254 calories
24 g
1703 g
159 g
411 g
48 g
1695 g
1679 g
4 g
0 g
94 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3254
Calories from Fat 1434
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 159g
Saturated Fat 48g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 31g
Monounsaturated Fat 63g
Cholesterol 1703mg
Sodium 1679mg
Total Carbohydrates 24g
Dietary Fiber 10g
Sugars 4g
Protein 411g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat or other compliant fat
  2. 1 medium onion- diced
  3. 2 stalks of celery- diced
  4. 1 bellpepper- seeded and diced
  5. 3 links (about a ½ lb) compliant sausage- sliced (I found mine at WholeFoods)
  6. 1.5 lb chicken thighs
  7. 3 garlic cloves minced
  8. 6 tbls arrowroot powder
  9. 6 cups of chicken stock- preferably homemade
  10. 2 bay leaves
  11. ½ tablespoon cayenne
  12. 1 tablespoon file seasoning
  13. 1 tablespoon paprika
  14. 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  15. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  16. Salt and Pepper to taste
  17. Crystal hot sauce to taste
  18. Green onion for garnish
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the cayenne, file, paprika, thyme, oregano, and salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the rendered fat and add the chicken thighs sprinkled with ½ of the seasoning mixture until browned. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Add the sausage to the pot and after browning, remove it from the pot and allow it to drain on paper towels. The chicken and sausage will be cooked through when added to the stock later. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the pot and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and the other half of the seasoning mixture to the pot and cook for 1 minute stirring to ensure that the garlic and spices toast and do not burn.
  2. Add 5 cups of stock and the bay leaves and stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot powder and 1 cup reserved stock until the mixture is free of lumps- this will serve as the thickener for the gumbo. Add the thickener to the pot. Bring the mixture up to a boil, reduce to simmer and leave uncovered over low heat for 30 minutes. Leaving it uncovered will also reduce the liquid helping with the thickness.
  3. Add the reserved whole chicken thighs and simmer for an additional hour. Remove the chicken thighs and place in a bowl and shred the meat with two forks. Add the shredded chicken thighs and sliced sausage back to the pot and simmer until the sausage is cooked through.
  4. Serve over white rice (challenge approved) or cauliflower rice (paleo) and garnish with hot sauce and green onion.
  1. Keep in mind that this gets spicier as it sits. If you’re making it for the next day, go a little easy on the cayenne and hot sauce!
Eat Clean and Jerk

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  • Celeste 06/02/2015 at 2:24 pm

    I made gumbo during the last paleo challenge and used coconut flower. It didn’t brown so we had a very blonde gumbo, but it was still good, just different. I’ll definitely try the arrowroot next time.

    • Emily Schneller 06/03/2015 at 12:06 am

      Celeste! You win the prize for the first blog comment 🙂 Let me know how it works when you try it!

  • Ashley 06/07/2015 at 4:19 pm

    We are totally going to try this recipe – maybe today! What other paleo recipe sources do you love? I have Nom Nom Paleo but never find anything “easy” enough for the 3 kid reality we have. Need easy, realistic AND flavorful – hard combo!

    • Emily Schneller 06/07/2015 at 8:22 pm

      I love Against All Grain (not necessarily paleo but gluten free) and Paleomg! Thanks for reading!

  • Sarah 06/29/2015 at 7:21 pm

    This sounds delicious and I love your little helper! We love cooking as a family and making healthy meals, can’t wait to try this one!

    • Emily Schneller 06/29/2015 at 7:43 pm

      I hope you like it Sarah! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Earl-Leigh 06/29/2015 at 8:56 pm

    This looks amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever made a gumbo before so I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  • Logan Can 06/29/2015 at 9:30 pm

    This looks so delicious! I love Cajun food. My husband would really like this!

  • Addie 06/29/2015 at 11:24 pm

    Your little is so cute! I love that he is signing “more” in that picture! What exactly does arrowroot taste like, if anything? I love gumbo, and make my own changes because I can’t eat rice, so this is an interesting twist on it (I don’t know much about paleo diets, but your post is inspiring me to learn more about it).

    • Emily Schneller 06/30/2015 at 3:17 am

      Ha! We taught him the signs for “more” and “all done”, but he never uses “all done” because he always wants MORE! The child can eat. The arrowroot powder doesn’t affect the taste of the gumbo at all.

  • Sarah 06/30/2015 at 2:31 am

    That looks delicious! I love any food with sausage and my husband is from about an hour and a half from New Orleans, so I know he’d be super happy if I surprised him with this!

    • Emily Schneller 06/30/2015 at 3:15 am

      Let me know how it comes out if you try it! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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