Being Creole means you’re part of a fiercely loyal, dynamic, spiritual ilk that prides itself on honoring its traditions. From infancy, we’re reminded how important it is to incorporate our traditions into our everyday lives, how being Creole is a privilege we’re to honor daily. One of the easiest and most enjoyable means of doing just that is cooking dishes that quintessentially Creole. And there is no other dish more beloved among Creoles than gumbo. Whether it’s seafood gumbo or a simpler chicken and sausage mix, learning to cook gumbo is a rite of passage we dare not take lightly.
It has taken me decades to perfect my gumbo. To wit: it was just this past December that my father, the most prideful Creole man I’ve ever met, gave me his seal of approval. It was a moment I’ll cherish forever. In fact, the only thing that makes me happier than cooking is sharing my recipes. So, in honor of my father, I’m sharing my gumbo recipe and hoping that you’ll cook up a pot, turn on some Zydeco and get down like an honorary Creole.
Prep: 30 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
· Tablespoon of File powder (more to taste)
· Two bay leaves
· 1/3 cup of Parsley
· Three cups chopped Celery
· Three cups chopped Green bell peppers and red bell peppers
· 7 cloves Garlic, finely diced
· 4 Tablespoons of Kosher salt
· 2 tablespoons of Garlic salt
· 3 tablespoons Creole seasoning such as Tony Chachere or Zatarrans
· 3 tablespoons of fresh thyme
· Small can of tomato paste
· Large can of diced tomatoes
· 2 cans of chicken broth
· Five large Chicken thin cutlets
· Two pounds of Andouille sausage
· Two pounds of Shrimp
· Red onion, diced
· One cup of clam juice
· One chicken bouillon cube
· 2 cups of Champagne
White rice and 3 ounce can of prepared roux. I prefer Kary's. Cooking roux can be a daunting task so I have mine shipped in from Louisiana. If you want to make your own roux it is essentially equal parts vegetable oil and flour. Mix until medium heat until the mixture becomes a dark reddish-brown paste. The roux is gumbo's base and thus is vital to making a superb gumbo.
Season boneless, skinless chicken breasts to taste and bake in over at 375 until cooked. While your chicken is baking, fill a large pot with chicken broth, clam juice and tomato paste. Slowly add file powder and prepared roux while stirring continuously. Add seasonings, bay leaves and thyme. While sauce is cooking, dice vegetables and sausage and add to your broth. Once your chicken is cooked, cut into pieces and also add to the gumbo. Allow gumbo to cook on low to medium heat for thirty minutes. Lastly, add shrimp and stir. Cook for fifteen minutes. Pour gumbo into a small bowl--and using an ice cream scooper--add a dollop of white rice. Sprinkle the top with fresh parsley, and enjoy!
Creoles like our foods extra spicy and seasoned generously so I always advise people to always taste test your gumbo. If a recipe calls for three teaspoons, try one and add according to your liking.