Saturday, October 12, 2013

Classic Gumbo - Recipe of the Weekend

National Gumbo Day is October 12, so we will celebrate this weekend with a Gumbo Recipe rich with herbs and flavors.

Gumbo is actually an African word, but the dish is a combination of African, American Indian and French influences.  The thicken with File (the ground root of the sassafras) is an herbal concoction gathered from the Choctaw Indians once native to the Southeastern US.  The seafood with spice comes from Africa and the the strong flavored seasoning is a French influence.

Almost every southern family in the Louisiana area has there own secret version of Gumbo, but I borrowed this one from a friend who has a restaurant in Shreveport, Louisiana.

This is a recipe for a classic, dark brown, shrimp gumbo in true Louisiana Cajun country fashion. Serve over rice. Browning the chicken pieces in the oil used for the roux adds flavor to the dish. File is added off the heat to thicken the gumbo. If added while the gumbo is still cooking, it may become stringy and unpleasant.

Classic Gumbo

1 pound smoked sausage, cut into ¼ inch rounds
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 (4 pound) chicken, cut into parts
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2/3 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds medium shrimp - peeled and deveined
8 cups water
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
file powder

  1. In a medium skillet, brown the sausage over medium heat. Remove from pan, and drain on paper towels to remove some of the fat. Discard fat in pan.
  2. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over high heat. Brown chicken pieces in hot oil. Turn frequently until golden brown on all sides. Transfer chicken to a dish and keep warm, leaving oil in pan.
  3. Make a roux by whisking flour into the hot vegetable oil. Turn heat down to low. Continue cooking flour and oil mixture, stirring constantly, until it reaches a dark brown color. This may take 30 to 45 minutes; the darker the roux, the better the final gumbo.
  4. When the roux is a dark brown color, quickly add the sausage, onion, green onion tops, green pepper, parsley, and garlic. Cook over low heat until the vegetables are wilted, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in 2 cups water and spices. Add chicken parts. Add rest of the water slowly. Bring mixture to a boil, and reduce heat. Simmer for about 45 minutes, until chicken is done and tender.
  6. Remove chicken pieces, and save for another use. Add shrimp to gumbo; cook for about 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove bay leaves. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve gumbo in deep bowls. Sprinkle file powder over individual servings, and stir in.

NOTE: You can use the removed chicken to craft a tasty chicken salad for tomorrow.

The Backyard Patch just introduced a Shrimp Boil Garni, the perfect blend of spices to craft a tasty shrimp boil at home in small batches.  Check out the new Bouquet Garni listing here.

1 comment:

  1. Looks yum, got to make this one! I love vanilla gumbo!


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