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Any REAL new orleanians want to help me with some gumbo?

So I make a pretty decent gumbo..but I feel like it could be better..

Anyone out there with a really good family recipe, or any hints or tricks that might make it like they do in NOLA? Appreciate it...

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  1. What kind of gumbo?
    People in New Orleans make lots of different gumbos. I've made at least 6 or 7 kinds in the past two or three months....

    1 Reply
    1. re: MakingSense

      Making sense like a real New Orleanian!

      This isn't my thread and I shouldn't highjack it, but if people could include vegetarian (fish is OK) options in their postings, here's one more reader who'd appreciate it.

    2. I am not a real new orleanian, but you might look at wiki for the differences between Cajun and Creole gumbo, and rundowns on classic combinations.


      Also includes information on the vegetarian Gumbo z'herbes, traditionally eaten during Lent.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Louise

        Gumbo z'Herbes is traditionally made with a meat broth.
        Louisiana's Roman Catholic population was rather "flexible," shall we say, about some of the rules of Holy Mother Church, and although this gumbo had no meat in it, it used veal or ham broth. Modern versions simply include meat.

        There are apparently some recipes that have adapted it to eliminate any meat products but then they're just pots of greens with pot likker, not really the traditional Gumbo z'Herbes.

        1. re: MakingSense

          The Canon Law of abstinence prohibits eating the flesh, marrow and blood products of such animals and birds as constitute flesh meat. Animal fat and broth is OK, so give the LA Catholics a break!

          My MIL is from New Orleans and makes great gumbo. Unfortunately, no recipe... and sometimes it's better than others, but she ALWAYS uses filet!

          1. re: janetms383

            I'm one of those LA Catholics! Raised to know the rules and the delightful exceptions that made fine eating possible.
            My favorite perhaps is a type of sea duck, the poule d'eau, which Cajuns claimed was allowed because it lived on a diet of fish, ergo - fish on Friday by derivation?
            Who cared? We ate it with a clean conscience.

            1. re: janetms383

              Janet, by filet do you mean file (pronounced filet) powder? It's a thickening agent used after the fact, added on by the eater once it's in the bowl. It's good stuff.
              My grandmother used to make hers all from scratch, she never had anything written down and no one took the time to write stuff down before she passed away, so sadly all of her recipes are gone, and it's a shame too cause everything she made was incredible.
              I make a few versions of gumbo, mostly after Thanksgiving with a fried turkey carcass, but as others have said on here, the roux is the key.
              I'll track down some of my recipes and post them.

        2. hey there...

          I'm looking to make a seafood gumbo.....I use recipes (and a little of my own additions) I find on the internet.......but then again, I'm a native new yorker now living in california...what the hell do I know about Gumbo...figured theres gotta be some secrets to it that I dont know...

          1. I feel like a big part of that "taste" is in the roux....any particular tips to making a really good roux?

            2 Replies
            1. re: yanks26dmb

              I used to follow my own recipe handed down and down and down but didn't like it. I made Emerils one time and it was awesome. Maybe just me but it was great. My browser isn't working too fast so I don't have the link but it is in any of his cook books and also online. A few friends also said it was a great recipe. However, I'm sure there are alot more out there. And yes the roux is the key, nice and long to get it brown for just the right taste.

              1. re: yanks26dmb

                Try using bacon drippings for your roux. The fat of choice for most Cajun cooks was pork fat. Use what you had. Don't spend money you didn't have on things you didn't need.
                No need to get it smoking hot either, a common mistake. You can cook a roux low and slow just as easily, just takes longer.

                That being said, I don't use a roux in okra-based gumbos. Personal preference. They thicken just fine without it.
                Seafood gumbo was a summer gumbo in my family. Okra is a hot weather vegetable and we shrimped and crabbed in summer. That was before the days of year-round frozen everything.
                The combo of roux and okra made the gumbo too heavy I guess.
                It's only been the past few years that I even think of seafood gumbo in winter. There are so many great winter gumbos to cook during the cold weather months that I can wait until after Easter when it gets warm.

              2. Made seafood gumbo this week to celebrate the inauguration....made a roux with equal parts butter and flour. let the roux cook on low heat until it was deep caramel color. okra does thicken gumbo so I don't use a lot of roux (4 tablespoons of butter/flour). Made a seafood stock with shrimp shells but this is a unecessary step . You can use canned or homemade chicken broth. I used leftover turkey, shrimp, crab and it was pretty good.

                1 Reply
                1. Okay, I'm not from New Orleans, I'm a New Yorker who has cooked a number of gumbos. (my favorite recipe to beat all others is Ella Mae's - it can be searched on Epicurious, but it's always faithful). Anyway, the secret is the roux. It takes a long time,, (easily an hour), and needs to get to the color of peanut butter. Slow, slow, slow is the key. You can debate whether to go with Okra, or File to thicken, but the color should be brown and it should be spicy.

                  1. Well, first you make a roux. I like a thick roux, and dark brown. I saute' my onion, celery, bellpepper, etc, separately; some people add it to the roux, but I find it is apt to get gummy. If it's chicken/turkey and sausage, or gamebirds like duck, or doves, I simmer the carcass. If it's a seafood gumbo, I generally make some crab or shrimp stock. You simply simmer cleaned, boiled crabs, or the shells and heads from your shrimp for at least 45 minutes to make stock. Don't want to over-cook shrimp, oysters, or lump crab. Those should be added in the last 10 minutes of cooking. I like it spicy - red & black pepper, salt, maybe even a jalapeno or 2. Okra is good and will thicken up a weak broth. I always add the oyster liquer - it all adds to the flavor. I don't use file', but I've nothing against it. Sassafras leaves do add a distinct taste, though. Use it sparingly.

                    1. Has anybody tried the SAVOIE'S Real Cajun, Old Fashioned (jarred) ROUX? (yes, they misspelled "flour" and will hopefully fix that soon...) http://www.savoiesfoods.com/products_... ?

                      I bought some online a year ago but have been afraid to use it 1) because it is a bottled Roux (maybe it won't be right), though it has been highly recommended by my Cajun friends and 2) because if it is terrible it will mess up my other ingredients... though my "real" New Orleans pals insist it is the best shortcut to excellent gumbo...

                      1. A roux is not necessary if the other ingredients are sufficiently fatty...say cubes of ham, chicken wings and so forth. When the file and rice are added it will be thick enough, and using chicken stock will enhance the flavor in lieu of the roux.