DH is a coonass do I had to learn to cook some serious Cajun food. My entire family says my gumbo is the best they've ever tasted. Now I want to make gumbo. It's always what DH requests for his birthday dinner. I also just eyeball everything. I'm pretty awesome at Cajun, Mexican, & comfort cooking. That's what being Mexican with a mom from Mississippi & a hubby who's Cajun will do to a girl, lol. As for local places with good gumbo, I like Jason's deli better than Zachary's. I also loooove Papadeaux lobster bisque & crawfish etouffee.
I sent my gumbo summary to @Bearae, but decided to show it here as well. As I told Bearae, every family (and usually ever person in every family) has their own recipe and ways to make gumbo. I never measure anything so I don't have any quantities. Sometimes, I skip my own broth and used packaged. Sometimes I like to brown the chicken pieces, sausages,etc.
Decide what type(s) of meat you want.Some common ones are:
chicken (or small turkey)
smoked sausage (pork, beef, or a combo)
shrimp, peeled and deveined
bay scallops (they are not typical, but I like
Roux not only adds flavor but is a thickening agent.
One part plain flour
One part oil
Put oil in pot and start heating.Add flour, stirring constantly until roux is brown (this can take a
while).If you get specs of black, it's burned.Dump it, clean the pot and start over.
Options:We are trying to reduce
the fat in our cooking and have found an oil-less roux in the store.It's flour that has been heated slowly until
dark brown.With it, you wait until
you've added broth to the gumbo pot and then sprinkle it in and whisk like
crazy. I know, it's heresy, but we do what we have to do!
This serves two purposes:pre-cooks the chicken and gives you a good broth for the gumbo.
1 large chicken or 2 smaller ones
3 large white/yellow onions, peeled but left whole
1 head of whole garlic, sliced horizontally
a couple celery stalks in large pieces
a couple of carrots in large pieces
After the chicken is cooked, remove it, let it cool, then shred the
meat.Discard the skin.
Remove and save the vegetables from the broth.
Skim any fat/foam from the top of the broth.
Assembling the Gumbo
Besides the things described above, you'll need (and this varies form
person-to-person and on how much gumbo you're making):
white or yellow onions, chopped
bell pepper, chopped
green onions, chopped
parsley, minced (fresh preferred but dry OK)
garlic, fresh minced
Bay leaves (leave them whole so people canfind and pick them out)
okra, cut (frozen) - optional
If you made your own roux, once it is the proper color, start adding
the vegetables.Cook over a low-medium
heat while stirring continuously until the onions are translucent.
If you use the dry roux, add just a little oil to the pot.Heat it up and add the vegetables and cook
until the onions are translucent.
Add the smoked sausage and andouille sausage and let cook for a while.
Add the chicken broth. Add in
small batches.You can always add more
later. If you don't have enough of your
broth, supplement with packaged broth (chicken or beef).
If you are using the dry roux, add it at this point.Sprinkle it in and stir/whisk to prevent
Add the shredded chicken.
Add Bay leaves, onion powder, garlic powder, Kitchen Bouquet, salt,
black pepper, and cayenne pepper and let everything simmer.I think the dehydrated onion and garlic
powder add a stronger taste.
This would also be the time to add the Okra if you use it.Let it simmer for at least an hour.The Okra will float at first, but it will
sink and break-down as it cooks.
If you saved the vegetables from the chicken broth, I like to squeeze
the garlic from its skin.Then put the
vegetables in a food processor and pulse it until there are no large
lumps.Add this to the gumbo.
Periodically skim off any fat and foam from the top of the gumbo.
Add the seafood when there is about 15 minutes of cooking remaining.You don't want to overcook seafood.
Serve in bowls with a scoop of rice.
If anyone wants to use gumbo file, do NOT add it to the pot.It should be sprinkled into individual bowls
and then stirred in.It is a strong
flavoring and thickening agent.
It's funny I was just talking to my DH at the Le Crueset outlet store on Saturday about what good gumbo stock pots they had how I need to make some this summer to freeze for after the baby comes.
I have two Le Crueset Dutch ovens. I use my large one when I make chicken stew but I use a really large stock pot when I make gumbo. Cause I usually make a huge batch.
I use to make my own roux but after tweaking with the jar roux I prefer it. It's a time savor. The Cajun smoked sausage and Tasso I put in the gumbo flavors it so much.
I have never made gumbo with dry roux, but I make chicken stew with it. Cause it is a lighter roux. And it comes out great. It's one of the first Cajun dishes I won over my husband with. He is from Opelousas Louisisna and knows Cajun food. So there was no fooling him.  lus the recipe is on the jar. Of course I put my own tweaks on it.