In general it's not much more than a vegetable oil roux stirred over a medium flame until it's about the color of chocolate. To that I add roughly equal amounts of diced onion, green pepper and celery (be sure to include the leaves) along with garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, white pepper, black pepper and cayenne pepper. When everything's softened and fragrant, I add my stock (usually a combination of poultry and the liquor extracted from boiled shrimp heads). Some folks would add crushed tomatoes at this time, I don't. Stir up the pot so nothing is going to scorch at the bottom. Add your cooked poultry and browned andouille. If you're using shellfish, add them right before taking the pot off the flame. If it's summer, thicken with sliced okra. If it's winter, put out the filé for folks to season their own dish. Garnish with scallions and rice or potato salad.
I start with a butter roux. Then I add the same veggies as JungMann, thinly sliced andouille sausage (or what they call andouille that I can buy at Costco or TJ's). My spices (same as JungMann again or the Penzey's Cajun Spice Mix, which is very very good). Then I toss in a handful of frozen sliced okra (I buy it at the local indian market). I pour in some homemade chicken stock and some water or shrimp stock if I have any. Simmer all day and adjust spices as needed. Toss in some shrimp at the last minute before serving so they just have time to cook. I always serve mine with rice.
See, that's why I love gumbo. I let it simmer all afternoon, and the whole house smells so good. Then again, I'm an at home mom, so something I can prep during the kids nap and let simmer all day is much better for me than trying to whip up a "quick" meal during the witching hour. :)
I make mine very similar to Jung Mann, except I add okra no matter what time of year it is. I grow okra and freeze it to use all year long and I never use file powder. Sometimes, I'll make seafood gumbo in which I'll use seafood/clam stock; if I make chicken & sausage gumbo, I'll use chicken stock and I might vary the sausage. I've made just a vegetable gumbo with spinach, chard, and any other veggies I have on hand.
I normally serve my gumbo with hushpuppies, cornbread or biscuit for a meal or as a side with fried fish, chicken or rice. You really don't need much more. Oh, and I cook my base low & slow before adding the meat and okra.
One of my favorites is rabbit gumbo...cook the roux as usual, brown the rabbit in the roux then add liquid and cook rabbit until tender. Remove meat from the bones, add back to pot then whatever other veggies you want to use (I like to use corn, chopped tomatoes, lima beans, okra) Bring up to simmer, season & thicken.
I just made this vegetarian gumbo this weekend: http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2011...
It blew several meat eaters away, so that means it was a success! Here's the recipe:
Serious Vegetarian Gumbo
½ cup plus 1 teaspoon organic canola oil
½ cup white whole wheat flour
3 medium onions, chopped (about 3 cups
)3 stalks celery, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 medium green peppers, chopped (about 3 cups)
3 portobello mushroom caps, gills scraped off, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry sherry
4 cups chicken-style vegetable broth (recommend Imagine’s No-Chicken Broth)
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (use regular if you’re not a veg)
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1 teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, or a bit more to taste
4 vegetarian sausages, sliced (I used Field Roast smoked apple sausage)
1 16-ounce package chicken-style seitan
Gumbo filé powder, optional
Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the oil and flour in a large ovenproof dutch oven. Bake for 1¼ hours, or until the roux is very dark.
Add the onion, peppers, celery, mushrooms and garlic and cook on the stove over medium heat for about 7 minutes. Add the sherry and cook for one minute, then add the vegetable broth, Worcestershire sauce, herbs and spices.
Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. If the gumbo seems too thick, add water as you see fit (you can leave the gumbo on the thicker side if you’re not serving the filé powder on the side).
Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in a large skillet. Add the sliced sausages and brown on both sides. Add the seitan and cook for one minute more, stirring.
Add the sausage and seitan to the pot and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Serve over brown rice, and pass the file powder (if using) and Tabasco.
I've been making and ordering gumbo for decades but I experienced a new taste sensation last week. A local restaurant here in Pensacola makes a tasty but slightly thin gumbo. I ordered the gumbo plus a side of their really good fried okra and used the okra as a kind of crouton topping. Fab -- the smoothness of gumbo with added crunch. I need to brush up my fried okra skills and try this at home.
We like this one a lot - it's a seafood gumbo using coconut milk: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em...
I play fast and loose with the fish/shrimp/calamari/crab - essentially pick what sounds good to you on any given day. Oh, and the mustard greens are a must, even though it seems like an odd addition.
This is a P.S. to my earlier post. Reading this string gave me an ungovernable yearning for chicken-sausage gumbo. Yesterday morning I put it in the slow cooker on low, set for seven hours. My husband and I went out to run some errands and wound up coming home the scenic way, via the beach road. So my gumbo cooked two hours longer than the usual -- perfect!! It had a whole new depth and richness. That is now my standard cooking time.