What is Gumbo?
Gumbo, a soupy stew, is a fundamental delicacy of Cajun and Creole cuisine. Its ingredients are simple, a flavourful stock, meat and/or fish, a thickener (okra or file powder or roux) and the holy trinity: celery, bell peppers and onions.
Cajun cuisine is the style of cooking brought to Louisiana by Acadians who were expelled from Canada. They created a cuisine that was a harmonious amalgamation of African flavours and European techniques, especially French and Spanish. The name Gumbo comes from the word “quingombo” which means Okra in Niger-Congo languages, one of the main ingredients in a Gumbo which acts as a thickener.
Gumbo is another example of cultural amalgamation that is a direct result of historical tragedies. It reinstates the persevering nature of humankind when the oppressed cannot help but create something that unites them together, even in times when the dividing powers could not be any stronger.
So let’s taste a little history!
- Vegetable/ Meat Stock- 1L
- Meats and Sausages/Seafood of choice- 250 gm
- Vegetables of choice (with Okra)- 200 gm
- Holy Trinity (Chopped celery, onion, bell pepper in equal amounts)- ½ cup
- Olive oil- 3 tbsp
- Garlic Chopped- 1 tbsp
- Tassyam Cajun Spice Seasoning - 2 tbsp
- Paprika- For extra heat
- Salt and pepper- To taste
For the Roux:
- Butter/Oil- 150 gm
- Flour- 150 gm
- To make the roux, in a pan heat oil or butter. Gently whisk in the flour, a little at a time and stir it continuously on a medium flame till the colour starts to change. After about 20 minutes of stirring the mixture should be dark brown, almost like dark chocolate. Make sure you do not burn the flour.
- In a soup pot, heat oil and add the holy trinity and garlic. Once the raw smell of garlic goes away, add your choice of meat. It can be anything from pork sausages to pan-fried chicken.
- Now brown your combination of meat and add the vegetables.
- Cover everything in the pot with stock. Add the spices and the roux.
- In case you are using seafood, this is the time to add it to the broth.
- Lightly season and cover with a lid.
- Cook in low flame for 45 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Taste and do final seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with parsley and serve with rice.
I hope you enjoy discovering a new palate of flavour through this recipe.