This recipe was graciously contributed by my friend Sarah Savoy, who speaks from here on:
"It's not the easiest task in the world to get recipes out of someone who doesn't use them. I got these from my dad and had to make them myself many times to figure out the exact measurements. They taste right to me, and after 22 years of eating his cooking, I think I can consider myself a pretty good judge. Just keep in mind that the number one rule in Cajun cooking is, as Gil Young says, 'TASTE AND ADJUST!'
"Okay, so summers are often too hot to really want warm soup for dinner. My dad makes this year round. He doesn't care. It's one of the best dishes you can treat yourself to. We can expect him to make a gumbo at least twice a month during the cooler months. Often, on Saturday mornings, he'll invite his friends from the Savoy Music Center Saturday Morning Jam Session to head up to the upstairs quarters of the store to have gumbo, baked sweet potatoes, and maybe some potato salad.
"This is another dish that is fun to cook outside. If you have a very large pot, invite a lot of friends for your Cajun feast. Sit around and drink beer, play music and talk while your gumbo is cooking. Serve it with cold beer or cola."
("We normally make a two-gallon gumbo for our family of six. It keeps well in the refrigerator or freezer.")
"Let's start with roux. This is available in many stores. My dad used to make his own, but now, because it s easier, he buys Savoie's dark roux in a jar (no relation to our family). Those rare moments I can find the time and patience, I like to make my own. I find there is only a subtle difference in the taste, but some people will disagree. This takes a little practice."
Heat the oil in a large skillet (lucky you if that skillet is cast iron!) over medium heat. Add the flour gradually, stirring constantly. You will need to stand over the stove stirring this the whole time. The roux is ready when it is a chocolate-to-coffee shade of brown, depending on your preference. The length of time will vary depending on the type of pot you are using and the level of the heat under your pot. It is important to know that in a heavy skillet, the roux will continue to darken once you have removed it from the flame. Allow the roux to cool almost to room temperature. You can put the cool roux in a jar and keep it in the refrigerator.
- 1 part white flour
- 1 part vegetable oil (Don't use olive oil, though; I tried it with olive oil and it made a pretty bad gumbo.)
Now, on to the gumbo!
In a very large pot, boil two quarts of water. Once boiling rapidly, add and dilute roux. STIR! STIR! STIR! When the roux is diluted the mixture will begin to foam up rapidly. CONTINUE TO STIR!! Add the rest of the water and stir more. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, chicken, sausage, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
- 2 gallons water
- 4 Tablespoons roux (more if you want it thicker and richer, and vice versa)
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 whole chicken cut up
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 pounds sausage (We use garlic pork sausage from LeJeune's Sausage Kitchen in Eunice and all who have tried it are willing to argue that it s the best. I truly recommend you treat yourself and your friends to this. Otherwise use whatever good firm sausage you can find. Many people use deer sausage or andouille when these are available.)
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped, tops only
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
- salt, black pepper, cayenne
Cook over medium-high heat until tender. DO NOT COVER.
5 minutes before serving add scallions and parsley. When the five minutes are up, remove the pot from the heat.
"Some people like to add filé powder. We do not use it. If you choose to, use about a half-teaspoon per bowl. If you choose to serve the gumbo with potato salad or baked sweet potatoes, put them in the bowl with the serving of gumbo. Some people also eat gumbo with saltine crackers. It s all a matter of what tastes good to the person eating it.
"Also, the meat that goes into a gumbo all depends on what you like. You can make rabbit gumbo, duck gumbo, squirrel gumbo, etc. I've heard of meatball gumbo, also, although I've never tried it. I've also heard of people using nutria, raccoons and opossums. I haven't had these meats, either. Then there is gumbo vert, also known as gumbo des herbes. This is made with mustard greens and other vegetables. You can leave out the sausage. No two families make gumbo alike. Figure out your favorite recipe."
gumbos, bisques and soups
creole and cajun recipe page | the gumbo pages
search this site
Chuck Taggart email chuck (at) gumbopages (dot) com