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Gumbo vs Jambalaya--what say you? [moved from Home Cooking]

I firmly believe that gumbo should be all about the mahogany-colored roux, the herbs , trinity, and proteins, but NO TOMATOES. Jambalaya is tomato based. Period. Lots of gumbo recipes call for tomato products. How do you lean in this debate?

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  1. Although most jambalaya recipes include tomatoes in some form, I would not call it "tomato based" any more than I would call it "celery based", but yes, gumbo should not include tomatoes. I do recall one or two places in N.O. that served gumbo with tomatoes, and it was more of a vegetable soup with not much roux rather than gumbo. But this is another matter of taste.

    I try to be open minded, but there is one line I cannot cross -- no beef in gumbo, ever. Especially with tomatoes. That's just campbell's vegetable-beef soup with okra.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Zeldog

      And who can forget that travesty that Paul Prudhomme touted for years, the "roux-less gumbo?" No such thing.

    2. I wholeheartedly agree. And I also support the ban against beef in gumbo unless the beef be in a spicy sausage of some sort.

      1. I have no cred here; grew up in the Midwest and wouldn't touch either until I was an adult. However multiple trips to NO have enlightened my palate. If you're asking me to choose, gumbo is great but jambalaya rules. I'm not hardheaded about the gumbo ingredients, but after all, with jambalaya, there's the red and there's the brown, It's all good.

        1. I agree with the ban on beef in gumbo! Gumbo is a food of love, if you spend 30 minutes making a perfect mahogany roux, you are giving a gift of love!

          1 Reply
          1. re: mothrpoet

            Only 30 minutes? You must be in a terrible rush!:)

          2. Jambalaya can be Red (Tomatoes) Brown (No Tomatoes) and White (Made by Neophytes who can't manage to cook one of the other two.

            Gumbo...Ahmmmm.. Mostly no tomatoes...Then again..."He Who Pays the Fiddler, Calls The Tune"

            1. An overlooked criteria: Jamabalya has rice. Gumbo should not.

              4 Replies
              1. re: CharlieKilo

                But gumbo is traditionally served over a scoop of rice.

                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  Or, in some areas, potato salad..an ice-cream scoop in the middle of the bowl.

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      Absolutely....Potato Salad at times.....
                      Absolutely...Rice in amounts to suit the individual.....
                      A boiled egg can be nice in a bowl too ~~~~~~~~

                2. Sorry to pop your bubble but plenty of printed recipes going back more than fifty years include tomatoes...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: penthouse pup

                    You're not "popping my bubble"....I know about tomato being used in gumbo recipes. I was merely seeking people's preferences.

                  2. For me, gumbo has the roux and it is more liquid/soupier. Otherwise, I can't tell the difference because I've eaten gumbo and seen recipes for gumbo containing tomatoes and/or rice.

                    Sort of the same for jambalaya vs paella... aside from paella using the special pan and the inclusion of saffron, I don't see major differences as both seem to use the same ingredients of seafood, possibly other meats, tomatoes, rice and some seasonings.

                    1. As someone who has no idea what gumbo should or should not be, here are my two cents, just so you'll know what a non-officianado likes. Heck, I can't even spell "officianado".

                      I like my gumbo made with a roux and with file and okra. I'll take it straight veggie or with any combination of sausage, shrimp, chicken, turkey. I do not like it with pork but I don't really like pork. Put ham in it and I won't eat it. Put pork in it and I'll eat it but it won't be my favourite.

                      I like my jambalaya with a tomato base and with shrimp and or sausage. Oh, almost forgot the crawfish. I love those little guys, so tasty.

                      Either dish is welcome to be served with rice. I do not like my gumbo with potato salad but I don't like mayo so there's that to consider in my tastes.

                      I do love the onion, green pepper and celery thing when it comes to gumbo but okra is more important to me. If green pepper was left out, I'd still love it!

                      If either dish has cooked, dark leafy greens, then the cook is my best friend forever!

                      And, not to upset the purists, I do not always have too have a roux if the gumbo is cooked with lots of slimy, thickening okra but I do prefer it with a roux.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                        Usually, gumbo with okra doesn't have a roux or file (since both are used to be thickeners)...and okra thickened gumbo usually is made with seafood.

                        1. re: penthouse pup

                          People have been disinherited for putting file in a gumbo with okra (but only since that moron in the legislature got them to abolilsh forced heirship)

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            I don't put okra in mine, and only add the file to each serving, because adding it to the entire pot makes the whole thing glutinous.

                            1. re: mothrpoet

                              especially if you let it boil...horrors!

                              1. re: mothrpoet

                                I'm a file-only man. Just don't care for okra at all, unless it's fried to a crisp.