When my boys were 4 they were in love with the movie, Princess and the Frog (though I’m sure they’ll lie and tell you they weren’t). I think the fact that Tiana had a love for cooking when she was so young, they really related to that. I loved that this was their favorite movie because I loved it too. I loved the message that if you work hard you can get what you want. Even though at the end they got married and it was his money that bought her, her dream restaurant, but I digress. The boys thankfully didn’t take that away from the movie but what they did take away was Gumbo! They were obsessed and asked every restaurant if they served gumbo (which was always fun seeing the faces of the wait staff at the burger place trying to figure out a response to a 4-year-old asking for gumbo). Not only that but they also really wanted to make Gumbo. Landon always insists that he taste and approves everything that goes into the pot, where Haydon is just worried about how much hot sauce is in it. They love it! Landon asks for it about once a month. When the boys were 5 we took a road trip to Disneyland and the first dinner we had there was in the French Quarter. As you can imagine, the boys both ordered Tiana’s Gumbo At Café New Orleans, they claimed it was good but not as good as ours.
Gumbo is a popular Creole stew full of chicken, sausage, shrimp and of course the holy trinity. Thickened with a dark french roux and okra. It originated in the French territory where New Orleans is now which makes sense since gumbo is so similar to a French bouillabaisse. I also like to think that the term “melting pot” with obvious french roots like a dark roux, an African staple vegetable okra, Cajun influence with the addition of the holy trinity, and local aspects with the use of File Powder. File is a dried and ground leaves from the best-named plant that has ever been named, Sassafras. The best thing about gumbo is that it’s made to feed a crowd which is probably why it’s a popular Mardi Gras.
- 2 pounds Chicken thighs bone in skin less
- 1 big Andouille Sausage
- 1/2 cup Neutral Oil
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, small diced
- 1 big Onion, small diced
- 3 stocks of Celery, small diced
- 1 qt Chicken Stock
- 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 2 teaspoon Worcestershire
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 tablespoon File Powder
- Hot Sauce to Taste
- 1 pound of okra
- 1 pound Shrimp
- Green Onions, thinly sliced
- In a big heavy bottom pot or dutch oven on medium/high heat add some oil (not the 1/2c) season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown them in batches then remove
- Brown the sausage remove and set aside.
- Add a little oil (again not the 1/2c) and sauté the onions until tender and translucent but not brown then add the bell pepper and celery (the holy trinity) cook until tender and remove from the pot.
- Bring the temperature on the pot to medium/ low and add the 1/2c oil and 1/2c flour we're making the roux. Cook the roux slowly until it is a deep deep brown take it a little past what you think without it burning.
- Slowing because it will splatter add the chicken stock then the tomatoes, garlic, Cajun spice, Worcestershire, bay leaf and file. Taste at this point add Salt and Pepper if it needs more file or anything else add now.
- Return the chicken, sausage, and the holy trinity mix to the pot and set on simmer for an hour or until the chicken is cooked through.
- In a separate pan on medium heat add a little oil and sauté the okra, you need to take the slime out and you don't want that in the gumbo once the slime has cooked outset a side.
- Once the gumbo is about 15 minutes from being done add the okra and shrimp, let it finish cooking everything all together, if you add the okra too soon it will all break down and disappear into the gumbo.