I COOKED GUMBO – easy gumbo, but still it was gumbo!
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Yesterday was a rite of passage for me. Starting at a young age, my family would have a beach vacation about every other year on the Gulf. On the way driving there, we would stop through New Orleans. To me, it is a magical place that is its own culture with language, sites, food, arts, and more. As a teenager I had a wild dream of owning an art gallery on Royal Street or somewhere in the French Quarter and live in the great city of New Orleans or at the very least Louisiana. Last August, this dusty 30 year old dream came to fruition. We moved to Northwest Louisiana. Little harps played in my head and the sky seemed brighter as our moving truck crossed the state line.
Now that we’ve been here over a year, it was about time for me to earn my official badge as a Louisiana resident – cook my first pot of gumbo and share it with neighbors. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I can’t really cook. Or, I prefer to get my food from a box or window(fast food). So for me cooking something is a giant milestone. One worthy of inviting guests over and celebrating even!
I found this Easy Gumbo Recipe on a site that is dedicated to cooking gumbo – GumboCooking.com. Yep, us Louisianians are serious about our gumbo. There’s some sort of state law about having to be a resident here for over a year to be able to cook the stuff. Ok, I made that up but might start a petition. I modified the recipe a little because what I had available in my freezer. My parents visited a couple weeks ago and brought me a bunch of frozen veggies from their garden. YUM!
Ingredients (Here’s what I used):
1 quart bag frozen chopped tomatoes
1 quart bag frozen shredded zucchini
1 quart bag frozen okra (Because what’s gumbo without okra?!)
1 quart bag frozen finely chopped green bell peppers
1 small purple onion finely chopped
2 banana peppers finely chopped
1 quart bag frozen precooked crawfish (From our very first crawfish boil at home in May. We over bought a bunch and just shelled them and frozen the leftovers. Mmmm.)
1/4 quart bag of chopped sausage links (I think it was like 2-3 little links leftover from breakfast that I chopped and put in my freezer)
2 regular sized sausages (My neighbor gave me to add to the pot. These had spices in them and were delicious. Yep, I sampled a bite or two as I was chopping them in half moon bites.
3 tablespoons of flour
1/2 stick of butter
1 tablespoon of Tony Chachere’s seasoning
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of file
1 cup of chicken broth ( I used a bullion cube dissolved into a cup of water.)
3 cups of water
1. I put the frozen crawfish and frozen sausage in a bowl and thawed it in the microwave. Then, I cooked the sausage in the microwave.
2. I put the 1/2 stick of butter in the big pot, melted it, and added the flour. I stirred it like crazy until it looked like the consistency of peanut butter.
Lots of people around here will add the grease from cooking bacon at this point to create the roux. According to GumboCooking.com “Your first law of gumbo physics is: A dark roux is required to achieve the maximum potential flavor from an authentic Louisiana gumbo. This gumbo cooking secret will render a delicious recipe every time.” Unfortunately, I hadn’t made bacon in a while and regret this because it’s home cured by my dad, is sooo good, and bet the grease dippings from it could have added another layer of flavor for the gumbo! Also because I didn’t have anything special to add to the roux, it was really light which made it evident that this was amateur gumbo night. LOL
3. Slowly stir in the chicken broth and water.
4. Thaw out the veggies and chop up the veggies that need chopping. Add to the pot.
5. Cut up the sausage and add all meat to the mix.
6. Add the Tony Cachetores and garlic powder.
7. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
8. Set on simmer for 30 minutes and then turn off heat.
9. Last step is to stir in a 1/2 teaspoon of file seasoning (available on Amazon).
I have no idea what file is. My momma has been adding it to gumbo since I was a little girl growing up in the Mississippi Delta in Arkansas. Wikipedia says it’s made from the ground leaves of the North American Sassafras tree (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil%C3%A9_powder)
Something that most people do with gumbo is to pour it over a pile of steamed rice. I just cooked minute rice while everything else was cooking. I also had about a cup of rice left over from two nights before and just poured it into the pot as it was boiling to thicken it up.
Now you’re ready to LAISSEZ LES BONS TEMP ROULER!
Click the pictures below for supplies to make your very first easy gumbo: