Doesn’t it look good? It tastes great! Especially when you take the time to make yourself something so rich, tasty and filling.
There are basically three kinds of gumbo, differentiated by how they are thickened (not by the contents). There is the traditional Okra gumbo, thickened by the addition of cut up okra late in the cooking process. There is a Roux gumbo, thickened by a Dark roux (there are four kinds of Roux: White, Blond, Brown and Dark). The third type, the most commonly known probably, if the File Gumbo (pronounced Fee-Lay). The File Gumbo is thickened by adding in File powder just as the pot is taken off the heat, stirred in and allowed to sit for a few minutes. File powder can also be served in a dish and added to the bowl by your guest.
Today I’m going to show you the method of making a Roux Gumbo (Okra wasn’t available and I’m out of File powder). Roux gumbo takes some extra effort but only a bit extra effort. the results is, as stated, delicious!
As with a lot of Cajun cooking, I typically use the Cajun Trinity (green pepper, onion, celery) which is a variant of Mirepoix (celery, onion, carrot) for the creole audience. In the photos on this post, I was out of celery so I omitted it. It still tasted awesome. If you were to get this dish down in the South, it would be made with Andouille sausage. As that is not available in this neck of the woods, I use hot Italian sausage (store made) and it tasted just as good.
- 4 Hot Italian Sausage, cut in moderate sized pieces
- 2 Skinless, boneless, chicken breasts cut in moderate sized pieces.
- One green pepper, diced
- One medium sized cooking onion, diced (yellow onions are better if you can get them)
- One stalk of celery, sliced
- 3 Cups thick sliced mushrooms
- 28oz can of Diced Tomatoes
- 28oz tap water
- 1 small can of Tomato paste.
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- Long grain rice and 1 Tbsp butter to cook and serve the gumbo over.
For the Roux
- 1/4 cup all purpose white flour, sifted
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (do not use Olive oil, sunflower oil or peanut oil)
1.) Cut up the onion, green pepper and celery. Place the Tbsp of Canola oil in a frying pan and add the Trinity. Cook until almost fully cooked, not quite all the way.
2.) Cut up the Sausage and the Chicken into moderately large pieces. Place them in your large dutch oven or large non-stick pot.
Hot Italian sausage, store made, used in place of Andouille sausage
Skinless, boneless, chicken breasts cut up but not too small. I trim the fat from the pieces but throw the fat in the pot to cook with the gumbo.
3.) Add the sauteed Trinity, diced tomatoes, water, mushrooms, sausage and chicken to your large dutch oven
I used packaged sliced mushrooms. Sometimes I’m lazy!
This recipe makes a LOT of gumbo. Make sure you use a pot large enough.
4.) Bring to a boil then quickly turn down to a simmer. After the pot simmers for 15 minutes, stir in (carefully so you don’t spill) one small can of tomato paste.
5.) As you put in the Tomato paste, you should begin making the Dark Roux (as it takes about 15 minutes to make it). Use vegetable oil for this as no other oil will make the Roux properly (though Canola comes close but definitely not Olive!). The cooking time is far too long to make Dark Roux with butter.
Add 1/4 cup of Vegetable Oil to a non-stick sauce pan and bring to temperature. Add in the 1/4 cup flour and begin stirring. You need to be at the pot and stirring constantly. You cannot let it sit still for more than 2-3 seconds otherwise it will start to burn. Stir constantly but carefully. A hint to keep your hands from being burned by the oil if you splash it is to wrap your hand holding the stirring spoon with a tea towel. Stir constantly, but not too fast. If you stir too fast the roux cooks slower and you will splash the hot oil on yourself!
The dark roux takes about 15 minutes or a bit more to cook properly. It’s a lot of work but it is worth it. It thickens the gumbo perfectly (better than Okra or File in my own opinion).
This is the roux just after the flour has been added and blended.
This is the roux after ten minutes of cooking (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it finished at 15 minutes).
6.) Add the finished roux to the pot of gumbo and stir to blend it thoroughly. Allow the gumbo to simmer for 2 or 3 more minutes then remove it from the heat and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Making the rice
For years I would fret and fuss over the making of rice. I followed directions on the bags and boxes like a doctoral candidate. I have gone through three different rice makers (Black & Decker was the best, and it was a steamer too). How do you get just the exactly right amount of water? However, once you discover the secret to cooking long grain rice, you can get rid of the rice makers and the stress and worry. The only thing you DO need to do is cook up a test pot as the time can vary slightly depending on your elevation and whether you are using white or brown.
It takes me ten minutes to cook long grain rice perfectly and about twenty-five minutes to cook long grain brown rice.
Put a small pan with three cups of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Add in 1 cup of long grain rice and 1 Tbsp of butter and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook until it’s tender (test it by chewing a small amount from the tip of your stirring spoon!!).
Turn out the rice into a kitchen strainer and allow the excess water to drain off. This leaves you with perfectly cooked rice, it’s sticky, the way I like it. You don’t have to fret about how much water because you start by using too much water. If you don’t like it sticky, rinse it with a small amount of hot water.
After your gumbo has rested for thirty minutes, put some rice in a bowl and spoon the gumbo over top of it. Serve it with some hot toasted garlic bread and this rib sticker will satisfy the hungriest of guests.