If I were to talk about both choosing the perfect ingredients for your gumbo and using the perfect method, this would be an extremely long post.
Instead we’re gonna talk about the perfect ingredientsw…and talk about method in the next.
Making the perfect gumbo is about like decorating a Christmas tree. There are an umpteen thousand different ways to do it, and every one has their own opinion of what your finished project should look/taste like.
But regardless your personal preference, there are some tips about choosing ingredients that remain the same regardless what type of gumbo you may be making.
A few things to keep in mind as far as the meat are…
1. If you are making chicken gumbo, use the legs becacuse they will give the best flavor.
2. Buy bone-in chicken, and then cook your chicken on the bone, but take off the skin if there’s any on it.. This will add extra richness to your gumbo. Just make sure that you carefully remove all bones from your gumbo before serving…especially if you are serving it to your Cajun grandmother.
3. Brown your meat over high heat before sticking in into the pot. This will add more flavor to your gumbo.
4. If using a sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, wait and add them at the end of your cooking time…otherwise they get get rubbery.
Now for a few recipes as to which meat can be used and some recipes to try…
- Alligator Gumbo…(First thing I considered when adding this meat was where in the heck am I supposed to get alligator meat…haven’t ever seen it in the meat department at Kroger or Albertson’s…couldn’t find it anywhere on Instacart….fortunately there are several online sources such as this one)
- Andouille sausage gumbo…Andouille is a smoked pork sausage that has a coarse grainy texture…made using pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine, and seasonings….(I personally had never heard of andouille before my husband and I moved to Fort Polk Louisiana.)
- Catfish Gumbo
- Crawfish Gumbo
- Dried Shrimp Gumbo
- Duck Gumbo
- Hen Gumbo
- Rabbit Gumbo
- Sausage Gumbo
- Shrimp Gumbo…(Alton Brown’s recipe)
- Turkey Gumbo
In a previous post we learned that The Cajun Holy Trinity consists of onions, celery, and bell peppers—not carrots, as in the classic French mirepoix which consists of onions, celery, and carrots,
As in most cooking, it is always best to use fresh ingredients instead of the frozen stuff…even though the frozen stuff is so much more convenient…
Tomatoes…Tomatoes are typically found in Creole gumbo recipes,..not Cajun…(so not going to get into the specifics of this, just trust me on this one)…versions of the dish
Okra…Okra is often used as a thickener. Okra is often used as a thickener and While there are many gumbo recipes that do not call for okra…and many people do not like adding the okra because they claim that it makes their gumbo slimy…,the word “gumbo” is actually derived from the West African word for okra.
You can use either water or stock/broth to create the base of your gumbo., but using water will mean that your gumbo will end up having much less flavor…so I wouldn’t recommend it.
And of course you can buy stock/broth from the grocery store, but it’s also easy to make your own…and perhaps cheaper.
So how you make your own stock?
The stock or broth that you use depends on the type of gumbo you are making, but here are three basic recipes…