On my day-off, I visited the Lawson's family. It was really nice to visit their house. I had a chance to play with their dog - a dapple dachshund named Peanuts. Besides, I was also asked what kind of food I particularly wanted to eat for dinner that night. Without any doubt, my spontaneous answer was, "Gumbo!!!" :)
What is Gumbo? Gumbo is a dark, savory broth of tomatoes and roux simmered for a long time and containing either seafood or meat and thickened with either file or okra. It originated in the southern Louisiana during the 18th century.
Mr. Lawson cooked the Gumbo.
I asked Mr. Lawson's Gumbo recipe and how to cook it. So, here was what I learned from him:
All measurements in gumbo are approximates. There are probably as many recipes as there are people who cook it. So it you want a little more of this at a little less of that -- do it. Second, this is chicken and sausage gumbo. You can use anything you want in gumbo -- seafood, fish, turtle, wild game, use what you have.
Also, gumbo is usually better the second day, so cook it in plenty of time to let it rest on a hot stove for awhile.
1 tbs flour
1 tbs oil or fat
2-3 cloves garlic minced or crushed
1 onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1 bell pepper
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 pound sausage
3 chicken breasts water or broth
3 boullion cubes
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2-3 tsps basil
2-3 tsps parsley
8 oz. chopped okra
First make the roux. Heat the oil in the pot you are using for the gumbo. I like olive oil, but you can use anything. Traditionalists used to fry bacon and use the bacon grease. Stir in the flour -- about the same amount of flour as oil. Keep stirring on high heat. When the flour gets the color you want -- some like a dark roux, I like a caramel color -- turn the heat down and add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Turn down the heat and cover until the celery is tender. Add water or broth slowly, stirring it in to the mixture. You have to be careful about adding liquid. You don't want your gumbo too thin, so add a little liquid at a time only as you need it. When everything has loosened a little and the seasonings and the meat. Cook at a simmer. Add more liquid and add tomatoes. Continue to simmer and let the liquid reduce, about 15 minutes. Add okra and simmer until the okra is fully cooked.
I ate the Gumbo with bread instead of rice.
It's totally delicious!
The okra, tomato and prawn in Gumbo.