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The Secret to Making Great Gumbo Every Time

Gumbo is one of those dishes that I can eat anytime of the year – but, usually I stick to preparing it during the chilly months. I have a great secret to making great gumbo every time. Ultimately, keep it simple and be patient.

Gumbo, one of the most popular and well-known dishes of New Orleans, is a vibrant soup/stew dish often cooked in many Southern kitchens and restaurants across the globe.

The spirit and passion of Louisiana are reflected in its food; Gumbo’s origin – for the most part – remains a myth. Some believe it was created by the French or perhaps the Spanish in the early 1800s. However, others accredit the creation to the African/American community around the same time frame. Ultimately, what is clear is that many cultural influences have always occupied Louisiana.

There are multiple ways to prepare gumbo; primary ingredients typically include a variety of various types of meats, seafood, and vegetables. Chicken, sausage, ham, oysters, turkey, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit, beef, veal, crabs, soft-shell crabs, shrimp, greens, and cabbage, okra are some of the standard staples of the dish.

 

My Style

Making gumbo can be a difficult task. However, I am a real fan of keeping recipes simple. Subsequently, my gumbo recipe generally always includes spicy sausage, chicken thighs, and a variety of seafood. Firstly, I need to admit; I am not a big fan of the sweet green peppers. Moreover, I dislike okra immensely – put simply, I can’t get past the texture. Therefore, I discovered a tasty substitution that works perfectly; poblano peppers. Although, I haven’t been as lucky for the okra. I enjoy the edgy flavor the pepper adds to the dish. However, if you are not a fan of spicy, just remove the spine and seeds during preparation.

The Ingredients

5 Cups of chicken or seafood stock (see recipe)

1/2 C + 2 Tbsp of All Purpose Flour

1 C Canned Diced Tomatoes

2 Tbsp Tomato Past

2 Bay Leaves

3 Tsp Dried Thyme

2 Tbsp Ground Sage

Salt and Pepper to Taste

2 Andouille Sausage Links

4 Boiled Chicken Thighs (skin and bone removed, chopped into 1 inch cubes)

10 Cups of Long-Grain White Rice

1/2 C Bacon Fat

1 Lg Diced White Onion

2 Celery Stocks

1 Lg Jalapeno

1 Lg Poblano Pepper

1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes

1 Lg Garlic Clove

1 Lb Large Shrimp

1.5 Lbs of King Crab Legs (cooked, meat removed, and cut into 1 inch pieces)

3 Scallions chopped

Filé Powder and Hot Pepper Sauce for serving.

 

Preparation for a Great Gumbo Every Time

  1. Prepare the roux in a large heavy pot over medium heat, add the bacon fat. Add the flour to the pan and continuously stir until the roux is a rich dark brown color. Tip: Do not step away, it will burn.
  2. Once the roux is done, quickly add the onion, poblano, jalapeño, and celery, stirring frequently until the vegetables are just tender.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, spices and tomato paste to the pot and mix throughly.
  4. Add the stock, salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 1 hour.
  5. Add the meat and seafood to the pot and continue cooking until shrimp is cooked through.
  6. Remove and discard bay leaves prior to serving.
  7. Serve topped with chopped scallions atop of rice or with rice on the side.
bowl of gumbo
Gumbo

Personally, I enjoy my gumbo with rice and cornbread served alongside. Indeed, there are multiple ways to enjoy a steaming bowl of this impressive culmination of vibrant flavors. Ultimately, the secret to making a great gumbo every time is most certainly time.

Lastly, gumbo is a fantastic excuse to plan a trip to visit New Orleans, and experience the birthplace of the dish – because, why not?

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