Tasso Ham and Langostino Tail Gumbo


Gumbo.  The name alone invokes the bayous of Louisiana, steamy and swampy. Or maybe the wild debauchery of Bourbon St. in the French Quarter of New Orleans. For me it means memories of family sitting around the dinner table with big bowls of chicken, sausage, shrimp and crab leg stuffed gumbo. The taste of okra and file powder subtle in the finish.

This gumbo is much simpler, but still packed with the intense flavors of slow smoked pork and sweet langostino tails. When it comes to gumbo there are purists who will insist that for a dish to be called gumbo it must be made only a certain way.  But there are many kinds of gumbo, even regional styles of gumbo. My gumbo always includes the trinity, which is onion, bell pepper and celery.

It also always includes file powder, or ground sassafras leaves. Sometimes I use okra, sometimes I don’t.  Depends on my mood.

A brown roux is needed to really give the gumbo a deeply rich flavor.  If you have never made a roux, it is not something you can put on and walk away from.  You need to stir almost constantly, or the roux may burn, which will cause your entire gumbo to taste burnt. The darker a roux, the less thickening power there is, so keep that in mind when using roux to thicken a soup or stew. Here are a few visual clues to look for while cooking your roux.

Roux begins with equal parts fat and flour. In this case I use butter.



When the roux has only cooked for a short time the color will be a light tan and is called a blonde roux.


I like to cook my roux until it is the color of milk chocolate.



The trinity is cooked in the roux, instead of being sauteed in oil.



While participating in Charcutepalooza I made some tasso ham,which is a cured, heavily spiced piece of pork butt that is then hot smoked until it is cooked. It’s origins lie in Cajun cooking. The resulting  meat is then used to flavor other dishes such as jambalaya, beans, stews and many other dishes.

If you cannot find langostino tails, you can use fresh or frozen shrimp.  If you are using frozen, do not thaw them before adding them to the stew.  Other seafoods you can substitute with are crab legs or claws, or lobster tail.


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Tasso Ham and Langostino Tail Gumbo
Having a Southern born mother has it advantages in the fact that I learned how to make Gumbo at an early age.
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 cups d red bell peppers, small dice
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, small dice
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 – 2 quarts low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound tasso ham, diced
  • 12 ounces frozen langostino tails
  • 2 teaspoons file powder
In a large pot over medium high heat, melt butter and flour together. Stirring almost constantly, cook the roux until it is brown and smells nutty. This will take about 15 minutes, so be very careful not to burn it.Add the onion, red pepper, celery, Old Bay, thyme and salt to the roux, stirring to coat the vegetables well. Cook the roux and vegetables about 10 minutes, until the vegetables soften.Add the chicken broth and tasso ham, then bring to a boil. Reduce it to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes to let the flavors blend.Add the frozen langostino tails and file powder, and simmer for an additional 10 -15 minutes.Serve your gumbo with rice.

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 1 hour Total time: 1 hour 15 mins Yield: 8-10 servings

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

14 thoughts on “Tasso Ham and Langostino Tail Gumbo”

  1. I couldn’t find the tasso ham, so I used Andoullie sausage. I also added okra with the langostino. It turned out amazing!!!

  2. It’s all about that roux. Have you ever done a mix of butter and peanut oil with the flour? You get a really nice flavor at the base. Delicious and authentic gumbo!

  3. Wow, I can’t believe you made your own tasso!! I love gumbo and yours looks great!! I’m actually going to New Orleans in a few days, can’t wait to eat all the good food:-). Love your blog.

  4. I’ve never tasted gumbo before. I wish one could get file powder here in order to recreate it. It looks so hearty and warming!

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