5 April 2012

Gumbo...

 ...Gumbo is a very old dish, (a soupy stew) originally from Southern Louisiana in the 18th Century...there are many variations, but they all have a few things in common...
They are made with a stock, meat and/or shellfish, vegetables (usually what is known in Cajun Cuisine as The Holy Trinity) and a thickening agent (often a roux and/or Okra)...You serve them over rice and often with bread to mop up the juices...


The version I make came originally from a recipe given to me by my Mum years ago...which over time has become adapted and 'tweaked' slightly...but the main idea remains...


When I decided to make it this week, I went searching for my recipe (which I had lovingly typed up ages ago)...but all I could find was this list of ingredients!! Which was all I had left of the original recipe...so I had to 'tweak' a little and improvise a wee bit...but at the end it tasted as I remembered it!! So now I shall share with you...
As far as ingredients go, the only thing I added to the list this time was 2 celery sticks - diced...everything else stands the same!!
so let's get on with it...get a large cooking pot...add a little oil and heat, add to this the diced onions, celery and crushed garlic...soften for about 5-10 mins...I often stick the lid on, as you are only softening, not colouring them...Once softened add your diced chicken breasts, and cook until they are white all over...again, you don't actually need to brown the meat beforehand for this one...
Once that is done, pop in the diced peppers and cook for another 5 mins or so...add the cayenne (you want a kick to it, but not too spicy) and plain flour, stir to coat the chicken and veg, and cook out for about 1 minute...
Slowly add in half your stock, stirring as you go...it should start to thicken slightly...then tip in the tomatoes and chopped okra - the okra is best chopped as you need it, as it has a tendency to turn black if cut too early (I used 1 packet which held about 20 okra...stir, bring to the boil and then turn right down to a low simmer...
...Cook for about 15-20 mins...the okra and flour should thicken the stock up nicely, but you will need to check, stir and add more stock along the way...
...add in the chopped parsley and prawns (I like a nice lot of prawns, so I added 200g) and heat through for another 5 minutes or so...
...serve over hot steamed or boiled rice (we like basmati) and have some crusty bread ready to soak up all tose tasty juices...
This is a great dish to make and put in the middle of the table for people to dig in and help themselves...it freezes well (the stew not rice) and is also good reheated for lunch the next day...Of course as I said at the start, there are hundreds or recipes for this out there, and this is just the one we like...which by the way I also make sometimes with spicy or garlicky sausage chopped and added instead of prawns as a change!!

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