I hadn't cooked Gumbo before, although I had done the Spanish seafood dish Paella (which is very similar), and I'm very fond of Cajun-style spices.
Here is how it went:
First off, the roux (pronounced 'roo').
I only had self-raising flour, which bubbled a lot in the olive oil I cooked it in, but eventually this stopped and the mixture turned a nice dark-brown (without burning).
When added to the liquid stew, it greatly resembled gravy, with a caramelised and slightly nutty taste.
I used the 'holy trinity' of vegetables: Green (bell) pepper, onion and celery. I also added jalepenos, spring onion, and the all-important sliced okra (which I easily obtained fresh from a local supermarket here in the UK).
For a slightly Greek touch I added chopped aubergine (eggplant), though the taste of this was a little overpowering (even after salting for 20 mins and then rincing). I also added just a few mushrooms.
And, for the meat and seafood:
I used fresh chicken thighs (with bones).
I made the mistake of trying to cut them raw (I couldn't get the boneless variety), which proved very difficult, but eventually had them fried in olive oil in boneless small pieces.
I added prawns (shrimp if you're from the States), in small and king sizes; squid, octopus, mussels, crab meat (I used the cheap fake variety), and crayfish (crawdad??).
I used a mixture of fresh and frozen seafood.
I also added an all-important liquid fish stock, to add flavour to the Gumbo. I used a Cajun-style seasoning mix which included Cayenne Pepper, added a few drops of Tabasco, and some bay leaves and other herbs to taste.
For the final touch, I added some scallops on the half-shell.
I contemplated adding monkfish, but found that this exceeded my budget - and I personally found shellfish enough without adding real fish.
I found that it was rich enough to not require any rice at all. Instead, it was served with a fresh Parisian-style stick.
It was fucking delicious.
The best meal I've cooked so far.
I'm going to cook an enormous one for my family over Christmas time, feeding at least 8 mouths. I'll tone down the heat accordingly (and use milder jalapenos).
Has anybody else had any luck with this?
I'd certainly recommend trying this if you can afford the time, energy and money (good ingredients for this dish are very expensive where I live, particularly fresh seafood).
If you live in an area lucky enough to have extremely cheap fresh local seafood (or have a high disposable income), then I would definitely recommend giving this, or similar dishes a go...
Edited by Mequa (12/03/07 04:30 PM)
Edit Reason: Recommendation: Try it!