In honor of Fat Tuesday (yes it was a while ago) we invited over a bunch of friends for a nice rousing evening of drinking. No beads, no floats, but we did have a big pot of gumbo. I love gumbo, but so often what is served is a pale form of this rich dish which even allows for modifications. The biggest issue is that most times peple don't make the roux, the mixture of fat and flower cooked slowly. Roux is the base to many dishes but requires a bit of patience. Here's my take on a classic gumbo.
3⁄4 cup vegetable oil
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped onion
1⁄2 cup finely chopped celery
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced thickly
1/2 lb smoked boar belly (or substitute tasso ham), diced
4 cups hot chicken stock
1 1/2 lb of diced tomatoes (canned is fine)
1 tbsp. salt
1⁄2 tbsp. cayenne
1 lb okra sliced
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Parsley and scallions for garnish
Louisiana style hot sauce
Make a brown roux with the oil and flour, it should be about the color of caramel. Raise the heat a bit and add onions, and celery; cook until tender vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the sausage and smoked meat, Then add the tomatoes stirring constantly so as to not separate the roux. Slowly add the stock and then the salt and cayenne and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour or when the meat seems fork tender. Add the okra and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
Add shrimp and cook for 3 to 5 minutes more. Stir in filé powder at the last minute to thicken the gumbo (if needed, the okra and the roux also serve this purpose). Serve with white rice, scallions, parsley and hot sauce.