This classic soup is more than a meal in a bowl. It’s a way to show off the bright spicy flavours of Louisiana and the distinctive cooking style that has made gumbo one of the world’s great dishes.
Yield: Serves 4 - 6
1 cup any vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 green pepper, seeds removed and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups chicken broth
6 ounces andouille, chorizo or Italian sausage, sliced
8 ounces shrimp, peeled and devined
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
4 ounces okra, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sassafras (gumbo file powder)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
a sprinkle or two sea salt
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat.
Pour in the vegetable oil and, when it’s smoking hot, gradually and carefully whisk in the flour, forming a “roux.” Continue stirring the roux, whisking constantly until it begins to deepen in colour. Be careful, it’s very hot! This browning process weakens the roux’s ability to thicken the gumbo, but it also adds lots of authentic, distinctive flavour.
After 5 minutes or so, when the roux is a deep golden brown, add the Holy Trinity of Louisiana cooking: the onion, green pepper and celery. Add the garlic cloves and stir them for a few minutes until they’ve softened. Add the chicken broth and stir until it thickens. Add the sausage, shrimp, tomatoes, okra, herbs and spices. Taste and season with salt.
Simmer until the sausages and shrimp are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the green onions. Serve immediately.
Louisiana cooking is heavily flavoured and often quite spicy, so add more of the spices if you like. Try stirring in any seafood during the last few minutes of cooking. You may also omit the shrimp and substitute a chicken cut into pieces and browned.
A pulled pork sandwich is a thing of beauty. Tender meat glistening with spicy, smoky flavour piled high on a soft bun with no adornment save for some tangy, crunchy 'slaw. The time-honoured method for making succulent pulled pork requires a smoke pit, a whole hog, and pulling an all nighter.
Luckily there's a much easier way that's just as tasty. This recipe harnesses the power of slow cooker braising to duplicate the BBQ flavours. This much simpler process skips the time and labour intensive process of grilling and smoking, which leaves more time for pulling and sandwiching. There won't be any smoke of course, but with these flavours no one will even notice.
Today’s mainstream pork is very lean, so it can dry out very quickly as it cooks. The trick to tender pork chops that stay moist and juicy is a simple two-step cooking method. Begin cooking with high heat, then finish, covered, with low heat. And a savoury twist on classic applesauce won’t hurt either!