I don’t usually toot my own horn, but this is some damn good gumbo! … especially for my first try at Louisiana-inspired gumbo. With Fat Tuesday upon us, I had to give it a try, and Superbowl Sunday was my perfect excuse. We had just enough people coming over to sample my creation and leave us some leftovers.
This recipe is super easy and super delicious (I’m biased). Because I wasn’t completely sure what I was doing, I – of course – took to Pinterest to do some serious research because this is a delicate and expensive dish that I was just not inclined to mess up. Sure, I’ve made gumbo before, but we’re talking Charleston okra and shrimp gumbo, not the real deal Holyfield Louisiana-style gumbo; I had to get this thing right! …but
I’m lazy I like to multitask, so the idea of standing over the stove and stirring a roux for 2 hours was not an option, so when I came across an easy dark oven roux, I was immediately interested. I altered the recipe for my own taste and the timing based on what worked for me, and it turned out perfectly. I could (and probably will) definitely do this again.
Deep South Dish recommends 350 – 375 degrees; I went with 375. The article also suggests whisking the roux every 20 minutes, and while I took pictures in 20 minute increments, I whisked every 10 minutes because I used organic lard (because it’s absolutely delicious) and as I began to smell it I decided to whisk at 10 minute intervals to make sure that it didn’t burn. Burned roux = no gumbo, and I really didn’t have the time to start over if I burned it. After an hour I took it out of the oven and even though I could have transferred it to another container since I wasn’t using it right away, I left it in the pot but moved it to the cold stovetop to allow the indirect heat to continue cooking it while I ran to the store and it reached a beautiful dark chocolate color all on its own. It thickened a bit in the bottom and I just whisked it and slowly brought the temperature up when I was ready to add in the chicken stock and vegetables.
Like most dishes in my house that my husband and I both enjoy but enjoy in different ways, I had to make 2 pots of gumbo, so my 3-crockpot burner came in handy: one pot for me with crawfish and okra and one FIRE pot for my husband and his friends that just about tore my throat out but the flavor was actually delicious. From the oven roux that I was able to have going while I was washing dishes to the 3 hours in the crockpot that allowed me to go to the store and clean the house before the company arrived, that first bowl full was awesome,AND I didn’t have to stand over the stove! Don’t get me wrong: this dish takes some work depending on what you’re putting in your pot – chopping up chicken and veggies, peeling shrimp, de-shelling crawfish… there is quite a bit of work involved, but once the prep is done you can walk away and let it cook on its own.
After 5 hours of cooking and praises all around, I’m pretty sure this will become a winter staple in our house.