Cooler days are coming and foods that warm the soul are on my mind. Soup and Gumbo are the two dishes that flash through my mind to warm and comfort the body during the months of September and October while living in New York. When thinking of Gumbo, my mind goes straight to Louisiana. I have tasted Gumbo many places and have yet to find a state that makes it like Louisiana, hearty, tasty and filling.

Where did Gumbo get its name? What is so special about Gumbo? What ingredients do I
need to make Gumbo?

These questions will be answered as you continue to read this blog.

Gumbo was created by immigrants and enslaved people of different cultures that contributed their ingredients to make this a staple dish in many homes throughout the world. Some people say it originated in West Africa, some argue Louisiana. It is now considered a staple food in the state of Louisiana.

What is so special about Gumbo?

Gumbo is special due to all of the various types of meat, seafood and vegetables included in this dish that blend well together. Also, it is like having a combination of soup and stew all-in-one, making it a very hearty meal especially when served with rice.

How can I make a quick Gumbo?

Here is my take on making Gumbo:
Set aside the time when making Gumbo as it is not one of those quick prep meals similar to what we have gotten accustomed to making. It doesn’t take very long to cook, but preparing and gathering all ingredients can be a little overwhelming. First things first, prepare your mise en place. Have everything on hand that is needed and readily available to make this dish.

As you see, I have all my ingredients prepared and ready to start making Gumbo.

Kitchen tools and equipment:
These are the kitchen tools and equipment used in making Gumbo.

  • 5 quart Dutch Oven – Cooking your Gumbo.
  • Wooden spoon – Stirring your ingredients.
  • Custard cups – Measure and place all ingredients in your custard cups.
  • Knife set or chef knife – More than one knife is needed, one knife for cutting raw vegetables and one for meats or you can keep cleaning the same knife to prevent cross contamination. Yes, let’s practice food safety, please.
  • Cutting board – Used to cut your vegetables, sausage, chicken and whatever seafood you choose to prepare when making food. Wash cutting board in between use before placing raw meat to prevent cross contamination.
  • Non-skid mat – to prevent your cutting board from sliding while using your cutting board

My ingredient list might seem a little intimidating, but you got this! Don’t stress!

Ingredient list:
butter, flour, small onion, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, celery stalk, basil, cayenne, thyme, garlic, bay leaves, water, chicken flavored bouillon, chicken breasts, smoked andouille sausage, langoustine lobster or shrimp, green beans or okra

Looking at the picture above, it’s not so bad, ingredients are prepared and the hard work is done. Now we are on cruise control.

Step One – Brown sausage in a dutch oven pot. Set aside. This method brings out the sausage flavor into your Gumbo.

Step Two – Using the same dutch oven pot, add an equal amount of butter and flour, this is considered a roux. Use a wooden spoon to stir the roux until it turns brown in color. This will make your Gumbo sauce a rich brown color. What a roux does is thickens your liquids as your food cooks.

Step Three – Add your onions, peppers, and celery, sauté until onions are translucent for about 3 minutes. In the picture below, you will see there are different knife cuts for the peppers. Any cut you prefer will work with this recipe. The aroma from these ingredients sautéing in your dutch oven should have your home smelling like momma’s kitchen.

Step Four – Once the onions are translucent, and peppers with celery are soft, add water, seasonings of basil, cayenne and thyme. Stir together, add bay leaves, bouillon until boiling, continue stirring occasionally.

Step Five – Once boiling, reduce flame to a simmer. Add chicken and sausage, stir until all combined. Simmer for one hour, checking periodically on liquid. (If liquid is reduced too low, add ½ cup more water)

Once you get your Gumbo on the stovetop and it is simmering, utilize the time waiting by clearing and cleaning up any mess you have made. Cleanliness, I love it!

Step Six – After one hour, stir in green beans or okra and lobster or shrimp for 20 minutes more. Once finished, spoon out a heaping serving spoon full of Gumbo onto a bed of rice. Not so bad! With this Gumbo, I chose green beans and lobster instead of okra and shrimp. This makes Gumbo so versatile in the way it is made, add what you prefer, replace okra with your favorite greens, replace shrimp with your favorite seafood and it should still come out tasty. Also, you can add all, but an increase in the amount of water is needed to prevent the reduction of all the liquid.

Below, you will find my finished Gumbo or check out my video of making Gumbo on Instagram and TikTok. Try my Gumbo recipe and share pictures of YOUR finished Gumbo and leave a comment. Don’t be intimidated, you will do GREAT!!!!

Bye now!

Aunt Carmen

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