Sunday, October 12th, 2014 is National Gumbo Day. Since I love gumbo, I want to celebrate big with you by offering a great Cajun themed giveaway! Details included at the end of this blog.
A few weeks ago I met some of my 37 Cooks friends in Washington, Louisiana at the Steamboat Warehouse for dinner. It was a delightful evening with good friends and great food! I had bell peppers that were stuffed with blue crab and shrimp with a creamy crawfish sauce from the appetizer menu. Oh my gosh, it was good! All the food that was served looked delicious and got thumbs up from everyone. Since this post is about Gumbo, I’m happy to add that my friend Sandra absolutely loved their Chicken & Sausage Gumbo. She shared with me: “The gumbo I had at Steamboat in Washington, LA was the best I’ve had in my life! It’s still hard for me to believe it because it was a chicken and sausage gumbo. I prefer seafood gumbo and I don’t like sausage! After we left the Washington/Ville Platte area and went to New Orleans I had a cup or bowl of gumbo nearly everywhere we ate, many of the famous restaurants. Didn’t matter, Steamboat had the best!” The Steamboat Warehouse in Washington, Louisiana is about 30 minutes North of Lafayette off I-49N. It is definitely worth the trip!
The next day, my husband and I had lunch at Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro in Lafayette where we had a Seafood & Sausage Gumbo that was amazing. The blend of flavors and seafood were very similar to the gumbo my husband’s family makes. My husband’s Dad grew up in Kaplan, a small town south of Lafayette. Jolie’s is a beautiful restaurant, with beautiful art work, great service and great food.
Now, the one thing that really surprised me was the fact that my friend’s gumbo at Steamboat Warehouse was served with a sweet potato and our gumbo at Jolie’s was served with a creamy potato salad. My husband’s family never served their gumbo with a potato and I had never seen it done before this trip. Of course, I had to google it. From Folklife in Louisiana “If you put a scoop of potato salad in your gumbo before serving, you likely have some German influence.” Our waiter at Jolie’s said we should put the potato salad in gumbo for an exciting and different experience. Donald Link even mentions the tradition in his Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana and he shares a recipe from his family. Did I mention a copy of Real Cajun is part of my giveaway?
During the trip, we also visited my friend and fellow 37 Cooks’ store in Ville Platte, Louisiana which is just up the road from Washington, Louisiana. I have previously blogged about Teet’s Food Store. Their smoke meats are the very best. Saveur Magazine just did an article on Gumbo and the flavors of Southern Louisiana and guess who received a shout out on their page titled “Louisiana Purchase”! You got it, Teet’s Food Store! They gave them a shout out for their Smoked Turkey Necks, but friends I’m telling you, their smoked turkey necks/wings, tasso, smoked andouille sausage… are absolutely delicious and some of the best ingredients you could possibly put in your own gumbo. If you can’t get to Ville Platte, no worries, Teet’s ships their delicious products out. You can find your meats, spices, rice and roux online at Teet’s.
One last thing I will say about gumbo! There are a lot of different recipes out there. My family enjoys Shrimp and Okra Gumbo, Cowgirl Chef’s Turkey Gumbo and their MeMaw’s Chicken Gumbo. Every family has their own, so I encourage you to cook up a big pot of gumbo to your liking.
Mire Family Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
1/2 cup shortening + 2 tablespoons (I use Crisco)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 cups okra, sliced horizontally into rounds
1 carton low-sodium chicken broth
1 can tomatoes with diced green chiles (I use Ro’tel)
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoons of Cajun Seasoning (I use Slap Ya Mama Hot in the red cylinder)
1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning
2 cups of water
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
In a large stock pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add flour and start stirring! Use a wooden spoon because rubber utensils will melt. After 1 minute, reduce heat to low and continue to stir. It’s going to take about 20-25 minutes to get it to a nice dark brown. If your pan begins to smoke, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool down a bit before continuing. You don’t want to burn your roux!! When done, remove from heat and set aside.
In another large stock pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium heat. Add onions, celery and green bell pepper. Saute until onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute an additional minute. Place sautéed vegetables in a bowl, set aside.
In same pot, heat the other tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Add okra and saute for five minutes. Turn heat on low and add 1 cup of broth. Simmer for 15 minutes until okra is soft. Turn off heat and smash okra down, break it up.
Place okra and vegetables into stock pot with roux. Turn heat on medium heat and slowly add chicken broth. Add the can of tomatoes with green chiles, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning and Old Bay. Slowly add water until you have desired consistency. I like mine on the thick side.
Simmer for at least 1 hours to allow all the flavors to develop. Add additional water if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings. This is when I add salt and pepper, if needed. If you like it hot, you may want to add additional Cajun Seasoning or Old Bay.
Add Shrimp 45 minutes prior to serving.
Serve over rice or the German way with a side of potato salad!
Now let me tell you about my Real Cajun Giveaway! The prize package you can win will include:
1. A copy of Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana
2. 8 ounces Kary’s Roux
3. Slap Ya Mama Gumbo Mix
4. Slap Ya Mama Hot Cajun Seasoning
5. Camellia’s Red Kidney Beans
I really love the Real Cajun Cookbook. It’s all about Southern Louisiana and Cajun Country. Donald Link shares some great stories about his family, his life growing up in Southern Louisiana and of course, some amazing recipes
HEAD ON OVER TO MY FACEBOOK PAGE TO ENTER. CLICK ON THE GIVEAWAY TAB AND FOLLOW THE RAFFLECOPTER DIRECTIONS. THE CONTEST BEGINS 10/12/2014 AND ENDS 10/31/2014. GOODLUCK!
FACEBOOK MOBILE FRIENDLY SHARE LINK: http://tinyurl.com/k6f243w
Note: I have put this prize package together on my own. No sponsors involved.