Gumbo is one of the oldest beloved Creole and Cajun cuisines in Louisiana, Gumbo is as much of a cultural symbol of as the bayou or jazz music heard playing in the French Quarters of New Orléans. There are many variations of family recipes for Gumbo across the state of Louisiana; my Red Creole Crawfish Gumbo is one of my favorite Gumbos; made with Andouille sausage, Louisiana crawfish, onions, green bell peppers, celery, garlic, fresh okra, and seasoned perfectly with Creole spices.
Gumbo has been a staple in the Louisiana kitchens of Creole and Cajuns years before published recipes of the dish existed, there are many stories surrounding its origins. No one is even certain whether the dish is Cajun or Creole in origin.
The oldest mention in any American publication to date is when French explorer C.C. Robin ate it at a soiree on the Acadian coast in the year of 1803. However, there are also records of the New Orléans creoles enjoying the beloved Gumbo around the same time period.
Creole Gumbo is usually almost a stew-like dish made with a roux, okra, sometimes filé powder, The Holy Trinity of onions, peppers, and celery, tomatoes, seafood, chicken or meat. Gumbo has an incomparably deliciously rich flavor and texture. Ingredients can vary widely.
What is the Holy Trinity? The Holy Trinity, are onions, bell peppers and celery, the base for much of the cooking in the regional cuisines of Louisiana. The foundation of Cajun and Creole dishes such as étouffée, gumbo, and jambalaya all start from this base.
What is Filé Powder? Filé powder, also called gumbo filé, is a spicy herb made from the dried and ground leaves of the North American sassafras tree.
What is a Roux? It is flour and a fat cooked together and used to thicken sauces. The fat is usually butter in French cuisine, but may be lard or vegetable oil in other cuisines.
Despite the rumors and folklores that surround Gumbos origins, in the year of 1885, there were various writers who recognized Gumbo as being the culinary masterpiece of the African-American community. Although the French were noted as being responsible for contributing the idea of the roux and the Choctaw were credited for the addition filé powder becoming an addition to Gumbo, the modern version is overwhelmingly from the West African influences in character. The famous debate about Gumbos precise origins has raged the Louisiana Creole and Cajun communities for years and will most likely continue till the end of time.
Creole Crawfish Gumbo
- 3 cups of fresh okra
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil +3 more
- 1 and 1/2 pounds of Andouille sausage sliced into rounds
- 4 cups peeled, seeded, and diced fresh tomatoes
- 1 medium finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon of Creole Seasoning or to own taste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 of a teaspoon oregano
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- a good splash of hot sauce
- 32-ounces of vegetable stock
- 2 pounds fresh whole crawfish or 1 pound crawfish tails peeled
- Finely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- green onion tops, for garnish
- Cooked long grain white Rice to serve
- Wash the fresh okra in cold tap water; then trim the stems and tips from the okra, cut into rounds.
- Heat the peanut oil in a large Gumbo pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the andouille sausage and cook, stirring often, to render out the fat, about 6-7 minutes.
- Add the fresh okra to the Gumbo pot and cook, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes
- Add the diced tomatoes, onions, green bell peppers, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes, or until the okra and other vegetables are tender. Remove from Gumbo pot and set to the side in a clean bowl till needed.
- Add 3 tablespoons of peanut oil to Gumbo pot, let heat ten add 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to the oil; cook stirring constantly till it becomes and amber color. Careful not to scorch the roux. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting.
- One roux is done; place the veggies back to Gumbo pot; add the Creole seasoning, bay leaves, fresh chopped parsley, dried thyme, oregano, cayenne, kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and the vegetable Stock to the Gumbo pot, turn heat up to medium-high heat.
- Stir the Gumbo pot and bring the contents to a low boil. Reduce the heat under the Gumbo pot to medium and simmer on low, uncovered, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Add the crawfish and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves, garnish with the parsley and green onion tops, and serve in shallow bowls over white rice.
© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2016-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.