Gumbo is perhaps the king of Louisiana staples. Made in both traditional and non-traditional forms, gumbo is something you’re sure to find when you sit yourself down for an authentic Cajun meal.
Now, cooking up this crowd pleaser requires a little care and attention to detail. Before you give it a try, check out these tips for creating gumbo gold at your next family gathering.
The Different Types of Gumbo
Many people are familiar with the two major types of gumbo here in Cajun Country. You’ll generally find that gumbo is made from chicken and sausage or made from seafood. The seafood varieties can include a mix of oysters, shrimp, crab and even crawfish.
The people of Louisiana have been cooking gumbo for a long time—recipes for the dish appear in cookbooks that were published in 1901. It was a comfort dish for the original Cajun people who settled in the southern portion of the state, primarily because the ingredients were easy to come by.
There really is no hard and fast rule about what you can put in a gumbo, but there is one characteristic that is common: gumbo always starts with a roux.
The roux is a base that is used to thicken the gumbo and give it flavor. Traditionally, the manner in which a gumbo was thickened was to use filé or okra. While these two methods are still used today, it is more common for cooks to begin with a brown roux that is made from flour which has been browned in oil or another type of fat.
Of course, you can opt for a much simpler method of making a gumbo base. Just use a pre-made roux base like Savoie’s Dark Roux or Guidry’s Cajun Gumbo Mix from The Best Stop. It’s got all the spices you need—just add in some water, a little Best Stop seasoned chicken and smoked sausage, and you’ll cook up a fantastic, rich gumbo that’s tick-tick, cher!
Another essential is rice. Rice is consumed with many dishes in Louisiana. The best way to enjoy a gumbo is by serving it over a bowl of fresh, steamed rice. A great thing about a bowl of gumbo is that it makes a meal by itself—you really don’t need anything but a scoop of rice, a slice of hot french bread or a spoonful of potato salad to make a delicious meal.
Avoid These Mistakes
Those who are attempting to make a gumbo for the first time can find themselves prone to a few mistakes. The first of these would be over-cooking your roux. As mentioned above, you can avoid this mistake by choosing a packaged mix or taking tips from the best—we bet your maw maw’s got a few to offer.
The second big mistake relates to the choice of meats you use. The chicken, sausage, or seafood in your gumbo needs to be fresh. When you buy from The Best Stop you are getting the freshest, specialty meats seasoned and marinated in our own blend of The Best Stop Garlic Seasoning for an extra kick. If you live too far to visit our store, don’t sweat it! We’ll ship everything you need to make your own pot of gumbo gold right to your front door.
Stirring the gumbo as it cooks is very important. Beginners tend to neglect the stirring, leaving gumbo and roux on the bottom of the pot to overcook and stick. This can quickly ruin the entire pot, so be sure to stir often as your gumbo cooks down.
How The Best Stop Can Help You Make a Great Gumbo
Those who want an authentic gumbo should visit The Best Stop, for the best specialty meats. From smoked or fresh sausage to seasoned chicken and tasso, you can find the fresh ingredients you need —purchase them in store or have them shipped right to your home—for the perfect gumbo, every time.