A good gumbo takes time, a great gumbo takes longer…
Whether it’s a stew or soup-like, there is nothing more satisfying than a hearty bowl of Gumbo, which reminds me Mardi Gras + Carnival wind down this Tuesday - aka Fat & Shrove Tuesday.
Gumbo is truely Cajun and the official state dish of Louisiana; one that celebrates their heritage of sustenance off the land. There are numerous ingredients that can be added to a gumbo, but it's really all about utilizing what’s on hand. Chicken, duck + rabbit are the usual meats, along with ham and sausage. A seafood gumbo can contain shrimp, crab and oysters. However, the basics ingredients used in any gumbo are the “holy trinity” consisting of onion, celery and green peppers, thickened with a dark roux.
Additionally, the make up of a Cajun Gumbo is the use of heritage ingredients such as the African vegetable okra, together with the cooking influences of local Choctaw Indians, French, German and Spanish settlers. The addition of tomatoes is more Creole and not of Cajun influence. I believe the addition of tomatoes with all the other ingredients in the gumbo pot provides a wonderful mix of culture and full flavor. With such a rich culture as Louisiana has it is important to note that the preparing of a gumbo goes far beyond the making of this ‘stew’ and really brings together the community.
This new kind of gumbo may just be stepping back to the Cajun way - with everyone contributing to the pot for the goodess of the stew. Laissez les bons temps rouler!