GUMBO! I made this recipe quite a long time ago. It has been on my mind lately. Maybe the cold, rainy weather here in Charlotte, or maybe even the anticipation of Mardi Gras. I went through pages and pages of my handwritten recipes, and could not locate my original. So, I figured I would have to use my memory on this one. And, “oh my” is all I can say. This is the Best New Orleans Style Gumbo!
Naturally, I created a short TikTok video creating The Best New Orleans Style Gumbo. Be sure to check it out below. If you have not yet signed up for this social media platform, use my code 5SSIS800K0H06 to create an account.
NEW ORLEANS STYLE GUMBO vs JAMBALAYA
Oftentimes, people have difficulty distinguishing the difference between gumbo and jambalaya. Both originated in New Orleans. Gumbo is a soup, or stew that is served with rice. Jambalaya is an actual rice dish, or casserole. Both are similar in that they are made with both meat and rice. However, Gumbo has a much thicker consistency than jambalaya.
Both are similar in that they use a mixture of meat, vegetables and stock. However, that’s where the similarities end. The actual cooking techniques, vary greatly.
A pot of gumbo begins by creating the most perfect roux. Quite the art form, I might add. Afterwards, in goes the holy trinity of onions, green peppers and celery. Whereas, jambalaya starts by cooking the meat.
CREOLE GUMBO vs CAJUN GUMBO
Creole Gumbo generally referred to as Seafood Gumbo, contains shellfish like shrimp and/or crawfish. Cajun Gumbo is typically a combination of both shellfish and chicken. Most often, both styles of gumbo incorporate either ham or sausage. Cooking techniques are generally the same.
WHAT IS A ROUX?
A roux is a combination of flour and fat. Equal parts of each are combined and cooked together to form a thickener. Depending upon the recipe, roux can be white, blonde or brown. The darker the roux, the more intense the flavor.
Butter is the most common type of fat used to create a roux. However, bacon fat, oil and/or lard can also be used.
HOW TO CREATE ROUX FOR THE BEST NEW ORLEANS STYLE GUMBO
As mentioned above, creating the most perfect roux is quite the art form. You must have a mindset of PATIENCE. You are going to need a ton of it to get the roux just perfect. Consider devoting at least forty-five minutes to an hour, standing over the roux. Yes, one hour of constant stirring! There are no shortcuts when it comes to the roux. SEE PHOTOS BELOW FOR THE ROUX PROGRESSION!
However, once the roux is developed, it’s smooth sailing. I would suggest getting all of the prep work done, prior to starting the roux. You do NOT want it to burn. If it does, you need to start all over again! As daunting as this may sound. It really is not! I will guide you along the way. I took photos every ten minutes so that you could see how the roux develops over time, and compare to what yours should look like.
Once the roux is finished, it’s just a matter of combining most of the remaining ingredients, except for the shrimp, to simmer. For ease, I purchased a rotisserie chicken and shredded. I would do this again and again. Developing an amazing roux will create the best New Orleans Style Gumbo!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST NEW ORLEANS STYLE GUMBO
Given that the roux takes a long time to develop, AND you do not want to risk burning, I highly suggest using a heavy bottom pot. This enameled cast iron pot from Lodge (click here to view), is a perfect cooking vessel. Be sure to slowly, whisk in the flour. Just a little bit at a time.
This is where a fair amount of patience comes into play. You are looking to create a dark roux (like chocolate) without burning! You can do this. I got you. You really need to stand over this pot for the next 45 minutes to an hour. FOR REALS!
Grab your favorite whisk. You and the whisk will be buddies for the next hour. Stir the roux almost continuously. A wooden spoon will work too. Here are a few photos I took of the process. At the very end, I wanted to develop just a touch more darkness, so I did increase the heat just a bit, then removed from stove (I almost went to far).
The following photos show the progression of the roux about every ten minutes. The consistency of the roux may be a liquid or thicker. If you are concerned that it seems too much like liquid, don’t be. As soon as you add the vegetables in the next step, that will all change. Believe me. I liken adding the vegetables as somewhat of a science experiment. Try out this recipe and you will understand!
VEGETABLES FOR NEW ORLEANS STYLE GUMBO
As mentioned earlier, most New Orleans style soups and stews will contain the holy trinity (green peppers, onions and celery). Once the roux is perfect, adding in the green pepper, onions, celery, garlic and okra will naturally cause the roux to thicken even more. This is what yours should look like after you add the vegetables. The roux really thickens up at this stage.
However, be very careful when adding the vegetables. The pot and roux are very hot, so you may experience a little “fizzing.” This is the “science experiment” mentioned above. Again, do not worry. The vegetables are NOT burning. It’s just the oil in the pot and water from the vegetables “fighting” a bit.
THICKENING THE GUMBO
I decided against using gumbo file to thicken. This is just my opinion. I’m not really sold on the flavor. However, feel free to do so. Also, the addition of the okra will help to thicken the gumbo.
After simmering, if you feel like the gumbo needs thickened, prepare a cornstarch slurry. Simply, combine a ladle full of the liquid in a bowl with a bit of cornstarch to make a slurry. Turn heat up to medium-high and slowly incorporate the slurry. This will definitely do the trick.
HOW TO SERVE THE BEST NEW ORLEANS STYLE GUMBO
Grab a few bowls and fill with the prepared rice (I kind of cheated here and used VeeTee). It’s my favorite packaged rice. Ladle on this delicious NEW ORLEANS STYLE GUMBO! Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve with a bottle of your favorite hot sauce. ENJOY! You are going to love, love, love this recipe!Print
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