For those who have not had the pleasure of tasting this delightful dish, gumbo is a rich stew usually filled with meat, shellfish, celery, peppers and onions and served over a bed of rice.
A dish that originated out of Louisiana in the 18th century, gumbo has become a staple of New Orleans-esque cuisine and has grown in distinction not just in the southernmost parts of the United States, but the world in general.
It is said that gumbo, much like Louisiana in general, is a savory mix of different ingredients that has introduced and blended a culture as a whole.
There is a strong debate over the true origin of the gumbo dish.
Many believe that the original recipe developed out of different interpretations of traditional West African cuisine, while there are those who believe that gumbo was derived from French cooking ideas and technique.
Regardless of origin of the idea for gumbo, it is a meal to be enjoyed and honored on its national day.
Here is a popular gumbo recipe submitted by Kevin Young to the cooking website Food.com.
Ingredients (serves 8):
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced scallion
6 cloves minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (Tony Chachere's)
2 lbs any combo of sausage or 2 lbs shrimp or 2 lbs chicken (etc.)
1.In a large stockpot combine oil and flour and cook over medium-high heat about 15 minutes or until it turns very dark brown, almost between brown and black.
2.You will have to stir almost constantly.
3.This is called the roux.
4.Add onions, parsley, celery, bell peppers, scallions and garlic and cook about 10 more minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring regularly.
5.Add broth, salt, and Creole seasoning.
6.(If you like you may also add a 10 oz package of frozen okra at this point, but I despise the stuff).
7.Cover pot and simmer 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
8.Add your chosen combination of meat at this point and simmer an additional 10 minutes (if using whole pieces of crab like claws, or blue crab halves cook a little longer to ensure they're cooked all the way.).
9.Ladle over steamed white rice.