This was originally published last Mardi Gras, but I’m in a bit of a Cajun mood today–plus I am trying to kick a head cold and there’s no better cure than spicy food! I’m making an extra-hot batch of gumbo and hoping it cures what ails me! Stay tuned for another Nawlins favorite next weeks: Beignets!
In doing my background research for this recipe, it occurred to me that there must be as many gumbo recipes as there are residents of Louisiana…and no one recipe is more “authentic” than another. There are just a few basic criteria for gumbo, and the rest is fair game. The long simmering time makes it just right for a Crock Pot adaptation. If you have 15 minutes to prep in the morning, you’ll have a steaming hot flavorful pot of Gumbo ready at dinner time!
The real secret to a delicious Gumbo is in the roux. If you’re not familiar with making a roux, I explain it here, in my Red Chile recipe. It’s very simple, it just takes a bit of patience! For a proper Gumbo you’ll want to coax the flour and oil mixture into a very dark brown, about the color of brewed tea.
Feel free to change up the meat to suit your tastes, and what you have on hand. Shrimp is a great option, just add it in at the end with the okra. Be sure to serve with hot sauce and filé on the side (made from ground leaves of the Sassafrass tree, and found in most supermarkets near the spices.)
For more Mardi Gras fun, read 10 Mardi Gras Crafts for Kids, and laissez les bon temps roulez!