For Rachel, who contributes much to the recipe world, here is my family's gumbo recipe. I will preface it by saying that this recipe came from Southeast Texas, in Cajun country, where there is a Gumbo Cookoff held every year. That in itself does not make this gumbo good (though it is good), but it might explain the rather vague directions. :) To those of you who have never had gumbo, I will warn you that it seems to be an acquired taste. But oh, so worth it!
Meat: this could be chicken, shrimp, sausage, turkey, alligator, wild game would probably work as well....or any combination of the above. I used two very large chicken breasts, thawed and cut up.
4 green onions
4 T parsley
2 C flour (may add 1/2 C)
1 C oil
Put flour and oil in large pot. Stir roux continuously over medium low heat until it is almost fudge-colored. (I put mine on medium heat this time--cooked faster and didn't notice any negative results. Roux takes at least an hour, usually longer.) Add 1 chopped onion. Stir 1 minute. Roux will look slick. (Ah, my roux didn't look slick this time, maybe because it was on medium, but it turned out fine.) Add cold water until paste is smooth. Add hot water to desired consistency (coats spoon). (I just fill up the rest of the pot. Usually it simmers down to the right consistency) Add 4 chopped green onions and 4 T parsley. Bring to a simmer. Add meat (cubed) seasoned with peppers, salt and garlic. When meat is done, check for seasoning. Add creole seasoning to taste. Serve gumbo over white rice.
There really aren't that many ingredients, and most of them we have on hand, so this is a nice "throw together" recipe...except for the fact that it takes about three hours to make. Roux is available pre-made at the grocery store, at least in Southeast Texas where gumbo just might be one of the major food groups. We put plenty of Tony Chachere's on there, my dad likes to add gumbo filé and Tabasco. Put the rice in a bowl, pour gumbo on top, crumble some Saltines over that (or I like to put a heap of rice/gumbo mix on Saltines and eat them one by one), and it's done! Like salsa, gumbo tastes better as leftovers, after it's had some time to "cure."
So there you go. A little bowl of Cajun cookin' for all you who thought I was joking about the alligator, which means you're obviously not from Southeast Texas! :)
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