Mom’s Chicken Gumbo Soup is a hearty, rich soup that warms you from the inside out while fighting off the winter colds and flu. This soup brings back sweet memories of childhood and is oh so satisfying.
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I lose track of time often, which is both a good and bad thing.
I usually always have to ask my husband how old I am because I never remember. That in my book is a very good thing until he tells me my age…
I lose track of how long my husband and I have been married and I lose track of how long it has been since I last saw my sweet mom before she left this world.
While I was making this Mom’s Chicken Gumbo Soup recipe I was pondering when the last time I made this soup was and it hit me. The last time was right after her surgery and a few months before she passed.
Then the second realization came, that was 5 years ago. FIVE YEARS…
That amazes me that it has been that long since I held my mom’s hand, kissed her cheek and told her how much I love her.
That long since seeing her bunny rabbit nose, her facial expression that symbolized that she loved you. A facial expression that my Grandmother shared that she had done since childhood.
What doesn’t surprise me is how quickly my memories of this Mom’s Chicken Gumbo Soup recipe came back to me. This soup and how to make it is ingrained in my heart and soul.
This soup is as much part of my family heritage and is part of who I am.
It is the soup that always made any sickness better and it is the soup that sustained us many a winter night.
This recipe is my mom’s creation and I thank God that he burned this on my memory because I don’t believe this was ever written down. From my family to yours, let the flu fighting begin.
What Is Chicken Gumbo Soup
This soup recipe is basically a copycat of Campbells Chicken Gumbo Soup. However, it is about 1,000 times better because of the rich and flavorful broth, brown rice and the super tender chicken pieces.
- Whole chicken (approximately 5 lbs)
- 3 cups diced onions (1 lg or 2 med onions)
- 7 large cloves of garlic
- 6 celery stalks
- 4 medium carrots
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp marjoram
- 32 oz container chicken broth
- 8 cups of water
- 2 28oz cans whole tomatoes (broken apart with kitchen shears)
- 1/2 cup uncooked short grain brown rice
- 2 lbs frozen okra
- salt and pepper
- gumbo filé
Where To Find Okra
You may possibly find fresh okra in the produce department of your local grocery store from summer through early fall. However, here in Southern California I think I have seen it a grand total of 2 times in my lifetime. I have found the best way to purchase it is at the bigger grocery stores, in their freezer sections.
What is Gumbo Filé
Gumbo Filé is a spice ground from sassafras leaves and is the finishing touch to gumbo’s. Adding it is an optional step as some love the taste and others are bothered by it. You just have to try it to know how you will feel about this spicy herb. Once the soup is served sprinkle a small amount on individual portions.
How To Make
This soup really is rather easy to make, it just takes a little time.
- The first step is fill a stockpot with a whole chicken, garlic, onions, carrots, celery, herbs, broth and water. Bring this to a boil and then simmer for about two hours or until the chicken is fall off the bone tender.
- Pull the whole chicken out and let it cool to the touch, enough to debone the meat.
- Add the rice and tomatoes, cook until rice is tender.
- Add the okra and bring back to a simmer for 10 mins.
- Finish off with gumbo filé which is an optional step.
Tips for making it better than Campbell’s:
- So what makes this such a flu fighter? There is no scientific evidence showing that this soup fights the flu. All I know is every time I was sick this soup helped me to feel so better. My mom and I always discussed why it was so powerful. We surmised it was the healing benefits of the garlic, onion, chicken broth and the vitamin c from the veggies. Granted, it could have also been my mom’s sweet touch that helped also. Personally I think it was all the above.
- The amount of garlic & onions may come as a surprise but trust me on this one, it makes this recipe phenomenal.
- This makes a very large portion of soup. I suggest letting it cool in the refrigerator and then freezing half. This will make life so much easier in the holiday months ahead when we all are short on time and energy.
- If you don’t like okra I am sorry to say, this may not be the soup for you. Often, many people find okra to be slimy but for this Mom’s Chicken Gumbo Soup recipe it adds a wonderful hearty thickness.
More Easy and Delicious Soup Recipes
If you enjoyed this Chicken Gumbo Soup please let me know by leaving a comment and review below. Doing so helps to encourage others to make the recipe also. Thank you!
Mom's Chicken Gumbo Soup
- 5- 5 1/2 lb whole chicken
- 2 med onions *diced about 3 cups
- 7 garlic cloves *minced or crushed
- 6 celery stalks *roughly diced about 2 cups
- 3-4 med sized carrots *diced about 2 cups
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp marjoram
- 1 32 oz container chicken broth
- 8 cups water *enough to almost cover chicken fully
- 2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes
- 1/2 cup brown rice *preferably short grain
- 2 lbs frozen cut okra
- salt & pepper *to taste
- gumbo filé *to taste
- Place the first 10 ingredients in a 12-16 quart stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling lower heat to med/low and simmer for 2 hours or until chicken just begins to fall off the bone.
- Using two hands, remove chicken with long handle tongs and a large serving spoon onto a plate to cool. Debone chicken once cool enough to handle, cooling time is about 30 mins. In the meantime rinse rice and add to stockpot along with tomatoes and juice from can. Simmer until rice is tender, approximately 40 mins. Once rice is tender add deboned chicken and add okra. Bring back to a slow boil and simmer for about 10 minutes or desired tenderness of okra. Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Once served sprinkle on gumbo filé to taste preference. This is an optional step.
- The easiest way to process canned whole tomatoes is to use kitchen shears to cut the tomatoes. Open the can and insert shears into can cutting the whole tomatoes. Both the tomatoes and juice are used for this recipe.
The most common reason that people dislike okra is due to the somewhat slimy texture. When cooked properly, okra is never slimy. I learned the proper cooking method in a cooking school in New Orleans. I have never made “slimy” okra since. I will try this, but need to wait till our new freezer comes as the old one died and I am scrambling for freezer space in my side by side.
I hope you enjoy! It is definitely one of my favorites.
Marti Mason Kavanaugh says
I just made half a recipe.! There is only two of us, and I love this soup!!
Much better than the Campbells I grew up on .
I used half a rotisserie chicken and started from there!
Thank you for this delicious recipe!!
I very much remember Campbells version. This makes me so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you so much for giving it a try and coming back to comment.