Have you ever been to New Orleans and had authentic chicken and andouille sausage gumbo? If so, have you tried to make a traditional version of it yourself?
Today — October 12th — is National Gumbo Day. My mouth is watering, just thinking about it! If you are lucky, there will be a meat-and-three close by that is serving gumbo today!
My wife’s family is from New Orleans, or N’awlins, as they say, and I am so thankful that she has learned how to make absolutely delicious, traditional gumbo. Just as many great cooks tell us, she learned how to make authentic gumbo from both her mother and her grandmother. I hear there is a handwritten recipe card somewhere in her possession, but I’ve never actually seen it.
The last time she made it, she asked me if I wanted to help, so I “assisted” in making the roux. It was a great lesson . . . in patience. Making a real-deal roux for gumbo is not a quick process. It took at least 45 minutes of constant stirring from the time we first started to when it eventually turned almost black, which is “perfection” in the gumbo roux world.
It’s not like gumbo is the most important thing in the world, compared to all the challenges faced in our modern lives. However, life would be much less “rich” without being able to enjoy an incredibly flavorful bowl of gumbo over rice with a slice or two of crispy, garlic-butter french bread. And, sweet tea, of course.
There are many recipes and videos online, but I thought I’d share a couple of YouTube gumbo recipe videos with you — one that’s a bit old school, and another one that’s a little more current.
I grew up occasionally watching Justin Wilson — he “talked funny”, I thought at the time, as a kid. I think his show was on the public broadcasting station, on Saturdays, if I remember correctly.
The second video is from “Cooking with Denay” where she shows a more detailed process of making the roux (not the entire process, which would involve minute upon minute of watching her stir the roux, constantly). If you’ve never made roux, you should watch to see the roux’s transformation.
Make sure you click the “show more” link below Denay’s video, for more details and her recipe!
Both of these recipes are chicken and andouille sausage gumbos, just so you know. Personally, I prefer shrimp instead of chicken in my gumbo but, believe me, I would not turn down the chicken version if one was presented in front of me right now. I also love okra in gumbo, even though it can be a little bit slimy, at times.
There are lots of opinions about gumbo, and a number of varieties out there. I say, “be adventurous”, and try one you’ve not had or made before. Happy National Gumbo Day!