When I think about what my south tastes like, it’s gumbo, a staple in Cajun cuisine. And the key to a good gumbo is the roux. Roux is a thickening agent used in many dishes like soup, stew, and gravy. It is made of equal parts flour and fat; either oil or butter. Most gumbo cooks spend thirty minutes to an hour making the roux, cooking it until it turns into a dark caramel or chocolate color. This is a very hands-on process so make sure someone is always there to stir the roux during cooking so you don’t burn it. If you see black specks in your roux, you’ve burned it; throw it out and start over. I like to add the “trinity” (onion, celery, bell pepper) to the roux before it gets to the desired color, because that’ll help slow the cooking process. Once you have the roux the rest is simple. The longer you let the gumbo simmer the better it will be.
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cup yellow onion, diced
2 cup green bell pepper, diced
2 cup celery, diced
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 lbs andouille sausage, sliced
1 tbs Creole seasoning
1 bag (16 oz) frozen okra
1 lb crab meat, lump or claw
2 lbs peeled shrimp
12 cups seafood stock
4 cup chicken broth
2 tsp Zatarain’s Pure Ground Gumbo File (found in spice section at most grocery stores)
½ cup green onion, chopped for garnish
6 cups cooked rice
In a large, heavy bottomed pot or a Dutch oven, combine the oil and flour over medium heat. Stir slowly and constantly for at least 25 minutes until you make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate.
Add the stock and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 hours. Add the frozen okra, shrimp and crabmeat, cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before skimming off the fat that has risen to the surface. Taste for seasonings and adjust. Serve the gumbo over rice and sprinkle with file powder and green onions.
Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!