Tuesday, March 19, 2019

New Orleans-Style Gumbo

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Whether we realize it or not, a lot of what we do is dictated by others. Case in point, the late Mr. O-P did not care for Creole or Cajun dishes, ergo I never made them. Now that he is, sadly, gone, it does free me up to experiment with this cuisine. Considering the season, and considering my love for this type of food, I decided to make my first ever pot of gumbo. Before I embarked upon this journey, I read a lot about it, studied a lot of recipes, and used all of that knowledge to come up with this version. Personally, I thought it was wonderful, but the real taste test was taking it to a neighbor who loves this type of food and used to live in New Orleans. In a word, she said it was “fabulous,” and thus I can share it with you.

There are different schools of thought when it comes to rice. Some people add it to the gumbo, some people serve it on the side, and others consider such an addition blasphemous. You can do what you like. I found that adding rice makes for a very hearty meal with the need for little else. But, if you want the true taste of the gumbo, serve and enjoy it as it is. Either way, this recipe is a winner.
New Orleans-Style Gumbo
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

4 oz. bacon drippings
4 oz. all-purpose flour
1 c. coarsely chopped celery
4 large Melissa’s shallots, rough chopped
1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced
3 qts. beef stock
1 T. granulated sugar
½ - 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
½  teaspoon Cajun seasoning
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 14.5-oz. can petite stewed tomatoes
1 6-oz. can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons file powder
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
2 10-oz. packages frozen cut okra, thawed
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 pound lump crabmeat
3 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons file powder

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Make a roux by placing the bacon drippings and flour into a 5 to 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven. Whisk together to combine. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 80 minutes, whisking every 20 minutes.

Place the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Stir the vegetables into the finished roux, and mix in the sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer on top of the stove over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

In a stockpot bring the beef stock to a boil. Once boiling, whisk in the roux mixture. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour; stir in 2 teaspoons of file gumbo powder at the 45-minute mark.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in a skillet, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Mix in crabmeat, shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended, 45 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of file gumbo powder.

If you prefer Jambalaya to Gumbo, try this easy Slow Cooker Jambalaya for a taste of New Orleans.

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Unknown said...

This looks delicious - how many servings would you say this makes

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

I would say 6-8 hearty servings. It really makes a LOT!

Linda said...

Oh this looks good! Making a roux in the oven makes so much sense!
Back in the early 90s when my son was in college he asked me to make gumbo for him one weekend. I had never made it before, but I looked in my myriad of cookbooks (no internet) and found a recipe. I bought fresh shrimp from a truck that traveled from Galveston every morning, shelled the shrimp and used the shells to make fish stock, made a roux (for the first time), stirring forever to achieve that rich brown color, added the Holy Trinity, and made a successful non-okra, non-tomato gumbo which we all loved. Have I made it since? Um, no (why???) I've eaten many gumbos since then and loved the all, so I'll have to give yours a try!

Alycia Nichols said...

Yes, ma’am! You betcha!!! I’m from the school of rice on the side, but I’ve eaten it without, too. Either way, it’s a winner winner gumbo dinner!!!! Your recipe sounds pretty dadgum good, lady! My Dad didn’t eat Cajun food (or pizza, or spaghetti, or any kind of casserole!!!), but my Mom managed to see to it that the lady who cooked for us made it on occasion just the same. I grew up LOVING it!!!!!!!! One of Daddy’s brothers lived in Baton Rouge, so we’d get the real deal when visiting there every couple of years. I commend you for diving into this whole new world!!! Welcome!

Tanza Erlambang said...

Gumbo is one of my favorite foods...yummy
have a great day