15 May 2019


Gumbo a mix of cultures and recipes.

Bursting full of deep Louisiana Creole and Cajun flavours this rich decedent gumbo is a historic melting pot of flavours.  Gumbo is often categorised by the style of thickener used, New Orleans Creole South Eastern Louisiana’s use a dark French roux and file ground sassafras leaves along with tomatoes, descendants from 1718 when New Orleans was established with French, Spanish and African settlers then German’s adding to the pot by 1721, this is where the sausage comes in.  In 1762 the Spanish took rule and brought over 2000 settlers from the Canary Islands who were primarily fishermen who soon started to supply shrimp, crabs and oysters, they also brought cayenne and chilli with them.

Cajun South Western Louisiana’s are French settlers expelled from Acadia in the 1800’s which is located in modern day Canadian provinces use a French dark roux and as they are further away from the coast primarily use fowl and some shellfish.  Gumbo is a wonderful example of a melting pot of cultures and recipes with history.

This is my husbands all time favourite dish, every spoonful of this dish bursts full of individual flavours that all explode in unison with every mouthful...  This is a dish that you can cook 90% ahead on the day and finish the last stage when you are ready to eat, I cook gumbo this way so that  I can take my time and enjoy taking my time to slowly brown off the roux which adds such depth of flavour to the gumbo.
20 raw tiger shell on prawns
1 lobster head and shell
knob of butter
dash of ooil
3 ltr fresh chicken stock or water
1st Stage
500g cooking chorizo sliced 
4 tbsp flours
Olive oil
2nd Stage
2 green peppers fine chopped
3 stalks celery fine chopped
1 lrg onion fine diced
5 fresh bay leaves
small bunch of thyme leaves
8 cloves garlic fine chopped
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
200g - 300g okra
1 tin chopped tomatoes
sea salt 
fresh ground black pepper
1 lemon juiced
8 scallops
1 whole crab cooked
1 lobster with claws cooked
2 andouille sausages cooked cut into 3 inch pieces
chopped curly parsley
sea salt 
fresh ground black pepper
1 lemon juiced

2 cup rice
4 cups water
1 tbsp butter
This is a easy dish to make, a little preparation in advance makes all the difference, I like to prep the cooked lobster, scallops, crab and shrimp reserving all shells and heads for the stock, then place the seafood in the fridge ready later for the final cooking stage.
First remove the roe and membrane off the scallops and discard (I cook this for my dog), then take the tail meat and claw meat from the lobster, devein and peel the shrimp keep the heads and shell of the lobster and shrimps for the stock.  If you have a whole crab then remove the centre part and legs and pick out all the meat, no need to keep the brown from the white.  Place all the fish/shellfish in the fridge ready for later, keeping the cooked lobster and crab separate from the raw shrimp and oysters.
Place all the heads and shells in a deep stock pan add the butter and dash of olive oil and gently pan fry for 10 minutes, using the end of a rolling pin crushe the heads and shells encouraging all the oils and flavours to be released in to the pan this is going to make your glorious fish stock base, now add the 3 ltr of chicken stock and simmer, (meanwhile you can start to make the roux), after 20 minutes strain the stock through a sieve and return to the pan and leave to just tick over on a low heat.

While your stock is ticking over, pan fry the sliced chorizo sausage in a non stick frying pan until sealed on each side, remove the chorizo leaving the rendered chorizo fat in the pan, add the flour and some olive oil if needed to make a medium loose paste, this is your roux, now slowly cook this on a low medium heat for 20-40 minutes until it passes a peanut butter colour and starts to darken a little more, this will add such depth of flavour.

Now add a dash of olive oil to the darkened French roux along with the chopped green peppers, onion, celery and garlic cook for 10 minutes and then add the bay leaves and thyme leaves and cook for a further 5 minutes then add the okra, the cayenne pepper and Tabasco, stir in well and cook for another 5 mins.

Add all of the roux mixture to the sieved stock along with the tin of tomatoes, a pinch of salt and pepper.  Bring back up to a gentle simmer and add all the crab along with half the lemon juice, cook for 10 minutes or so and then taste.  Now to season the gumbo to perfection, all it takes is a adjustment with the lemon juice, Tabasco and salt to your likin.

Cook your rice, quick, easy and perfect rice every time, take two cups of rice (serves 2) rinse add to your pan with four cups of water, do not stir, pop on lid and bring to a simmer for 8 minutes, do not take the lid off at any point, remove from the heat pop in the butter, do not stir, leave for 10 minutes to finish steaming, when you do take off the lid you will have lots of steam holes which confirms you have perfectly cooked rice, fluffy and light, fork through the butter.
Your gumbo at this stage is ready and can be finished by adding the scallops, prawns, lobster and andouille sausage or left to tick over or cool down and then re-heated when needed, just add the prawns, scallops and lobster once up to temperature and serve with plain boiled rice, sprinkle with parsley and enjoy every lipsmacking mouthful...