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Gumbo

Gumbo

Gumbo

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Gumbo

Gumbo (Louisiana Creole: Gombo) is a stew popular in the U.S. state of Louisiana, and is the official state cuisine. Gumbo consists primarily of a strongly-flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and the Creole "holy trinity" ― celery, bell peppers, and onions. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used, whether okra or filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves).

The dish combines ingredients and culinary practices of several cultures, including African, French, Spanish, and Native American Choctaw. Gumbo may have been based on traditional native dishes, or may be a derivation of the French dish bouillabaisse, or Choctaw stew, but most likely all of these dishes contributed to the original recipe. It was first described in 1802, and was listed in various cookbooks in the latter half of the 19th century. The dish gained more widespread popularity in the 1970s, after the United States Senate dining room added it to the menu in honor of Louisiana Senator Allen Ellender. The popularity of chef Paul Prudhomme in the 1980s spurred further interest in the dish. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

The name of the dish comes most likely from Africa by way of Louisiana French. Scholars and chefs have offered various explanations for the etymology of the word "gumbo". The dish was likely named after one of its two main ingredients, okra or filé. In the Niger–Congo languages spoken by many enslaved people from West Africa, the vegetable okra was known as ki ngombo or quingombo; the word is akin to the Umbundu ochinggômbo and the Tshiluba chinggômbô "okra". In the language of the native Choctaw people, filé, or ground sassafras leaves, is called kombo. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

Gumbo is a heavily seasoned stew that combines several varieties of meat or seafood with a sauce or gravy. (Source: en.wikipedia.org

Ground sassafras leaf, known as filé, is generally not added to the gravy until after the vegetables and meats or seafood have finished cooking and have been removed from the heat source. If added during the boiling process, filé makes the gumbo too ropey; (Source: en.wikipedia.org)Gumbo broth or gravy derives from three primary thickeners: okra, filé powder, and roux. (Source:en.wikipedia.org))

Gumbo is typically divided into two varieties. Combinations traditionally common in New Orleans and southeastern Louisiana are known as "Creole" after the Louisiana Creole people, descendants of the area's French, Spanish, and African immigrants. "Cajun" combinations were common in southwestern Louisiana, which was populated primarily by Cajuns, descendants of the French-speaking settlers expelled from Acadia (located within the modern-day Canadian provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island) in the mid-18th century. (Source: en.wikipedia.org ). The length of cooking time determines the final flavor and texture, since the longer the roux is cooked before being added to the gumbo, the darker it becomes and the less thickening power it retains. A very dark roux provides a much thinner sauce with a more intense flavor than a light roux. (Source:en.wikipedia.org))

As aforementioned, while its exact origins are unknown, gumbo is often believed to be a dish of mixed origins of French, Spanish, African, Native American, Caribbean and German influence. Enslaved African-Americans often exchanged or combined ingredients in order to make the dish, allowing it to serve as a means of community and identity among them. (Source: en.wikipedia.org When Catholics were expected to abstain from eating meat during Lent, a meatless variety of gumbo, known as gumbo z'herbes (from gumbo aux herbes, or "gumbo of greens"), was often served. (Source:en.wikipedia.org eThis is further implied by a late 18th-century Cajun practice. At that time, rice was a luxury for many Cajuns. They served gumbo over corn grits, a pairing common in the stews of native tribes. The use of corn and filé powder may imply that the dish was derived from native cuisine. (Source:n.wikipedia.org)))

These theories are intermixed in the local legend of the Frying Pan Revolt, or Petticoat Insurrection. According to legend, in 1722, female French colonists gathered in New Orleans at the home of Governor Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, to protest the lack of familiar ingredients. Bienville's housekeeper, Madame Langlois, taught the women how to improve the basic gumbo. Langlois used okra, an ingredient which the women had previously been introduced to by the African people they were enslaving. Spanish and Choctaw introduced ingredients common in Choctaw cuisine – shrimp, crawfish, and filé powder. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

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The first written references to gumbo appear in the early 19th century. In 1802, John Sibley described "the dish they call gumbo which is made principally of the ochre into a thick kind of soop [sic] & eat with rice, it is the food of every body forThis Authentic New Orleans Gumbo is made with a dark roux, vegetables, chicken, sausage, and shrimp, and served over rice. This is a beloved recipe shared with me by a native New Orleanian. (Source: dinner andThe following year, French governor Pierre Clement de Laussat hosted a soirée in which 24 different gumbos were prepared. According to author Cynthia Lejeune Nobles, these two events "give clues to gumbo's Spanish colonial popularity and illustrate that the dish could be both humble and refined".

As you probably have gathered, I love making comfort food style recipes that use lots of fresh produce and real ingredients. This gumbo is no exception, and if you like this then I know you’ll love Jambalaya and Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice. (Source: tastesbetterfromscratch.com Jambalaya is primarily a rice dish (think paella) while gumbo is more of a stew that is thickened with a roux and made with chicken, sausage, and/or seafood. Both gumbo and jambalaya are often made with some similar meats and vegetables but the process of making them and flavors of the end result are completely different. Here is my favorite Jambalaya recipe! (Source:tastesbetterfromscratch.com tWe had a really fun neighbor growing up who was from New Orleans and made a fantastic homemade Gumbo! I’m so thankful my Mom took him up on his offer to teach her how to make a true, authentic Gumbo! Decades later it is a beloved recipe that has become a staple in our family and we have made it hundreds of times! It is definitely in my top favorite meals of all time! Nothing tastes better on a cold winter day. (Source:astesbetterfromscratch.com)))

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