I’ll share my recipe for creole gumbo with you. My mother and grandmother, who were both New Orleans natives and expert cooks, taught me how to cook. They frequently used a “pinch” of this and “just enough of that” and “two fingers of water,” among other measurements, making it difficult to convince them to write down their recipes. Combining both of their recipes with my own additions throughout the years, this dish is a hybrid of the two. Over hot, cooked rice, serve. The gumbo can be frozen or chilled, and many people find that the next day is when it tastes best. Happy eating!
Good New Orleans Creole Gumbo
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup bacon drippings
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
3 quarts water
6 cubes beef bouillon
1 tablespoon white sugar
salt to taste
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®), or to taste
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend (such as Tony Chachere’s®), or to taste
4 bay leaves
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato sauce
4 teaspoons file powder, divided
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen cut okra, thawed
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 pound lump crabmeat
3 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Roux: In a sizable, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk the flour and 3/4 cup bacon drippings until smooth. Roux should be heated while being regularly whisked until it turns a deep mahogany colour. This could take 20 to 30 minutes; keep an eye on the heat and whisk regularly to prevent burning. Take the pan off the heat and keep whisking until the mixture stops cooking.
- Gumbo: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic. Pulse several times to finely chop all the ingredients. Sausage and vegetables are mixed into the roux. Over medium-low heat, bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until veggies are fork-tender. Turn off the heat and leave aside.
- Large Dutch oven or soup pot filled with water and beef bouillon cubes brought to a boil over high heat. Into the boiling water, whisk the roux mixture after stirring until the bouillon cubes have dissolved.
- Add sugar, salt, spicy sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce after lowering the heat to a simmer. Cook soup for 1 hour on low heat, adding 2 tablespoons of file gumbo powder after 45 minutes.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in a pan over medium heat in the meantime. Okra and vinegar should be added. After 15 minutes, take the okra with a slotted spoon and incorporate it into the gumbo that is simmering.
- Stir in the crabmeat, shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for an additional 45 minutes to let the flavors meld. Just before serving, add 2 additional tablespoons of file gumbo powder.