I’m an adventurous soul and I enjoy good food. The one thing that doesn’t really appeal to me is to eat the same thing over and over.
The exception; now and again I will find a meal that just rings my chimes, but I didn’t write the recipe down, I’ll remember it. Ya, right. I made a cioppino that was to die for, a vegetation roasted lasagna so good the guests wanted to keep the leftovers. Not a problem my iron clad memory, and the fact that I got my inspiration from an internet recipe would ensure total recall, ya, for 10 minutes if I’m lucky.
And why can’t we ever find the internet recipe again, I typed in Roasted Vegetarian Lasagna the first time, or did I? Maybe I typed in lasagna with vegetables, or maybe I didn’t even type in lasagna, I probably typed in spaghetti with meatballs and the search engine found me the roasted vegetable lasagna instead. I’ll never know anything for sure, except it’s never been found again.
I digress, as this is about Gumbo, and the fact that there is only one way to make it, and that’s without tomatoes. I should know this, I am married to a Cajun after all. I sat the bowl in front of her and noticing the tomatoes, she said ‘Tomatoes?’ I answered ‘Yes, tomatoes’ she started texting the question ‘Tomatoes in Gumbo?’ The replies from all those in the know ‘sacrilege’ . Goes to show what a group of western Cajuns know.
Now, if they had ever traveled east of Iberia they would have replied ‘Yes, tomatoes’. Point is that there are so many ways to make Gumbo you should never make it the same way twice. Like oysters? Put oysters in it. If you are on a budget, keep it to Andouille and chicken, but if you need a stretcher, slice hard boiled egg into it. The only two things that you can’t do is burn the roux and not start over, and pass judgement before tasting.
Gumbo is technically a soup, although sometimes it’s thickened to a consistency of a stew. It’s always served with rice.
My tomato gumbo started with a cup of my prepared roux, heated until the oil was at hot, and then I added a package of my pre-made Holy Trinity and stirred till the aroma was heavenly. At the same time the chicken was sauteed along with a foot-long, homemade, Andouille sausage.
I then combined 1 quart of water and 1 quart of our homemade fish stock. What? You don’t have homemade fish stock? Then add a bottle of clam juice or just chicken stock to 2 quarts.
Now I experimented, as I found 2 cans of roasted tomatoes in the pantry as well as a can opener, and could feel Francene’s eyes boring into me. In they went. The eyes and the tomatoes.
Up to this point I haven’t added any seasoning because the Trinity was salt and peppered as well as adding garlic, making it really a foursome. I also had added the Andouille sausage that was loaded with our Louisiana seasoning mix and wine. To have added seasoning early on would have been dangerous. It’s hard to take out.
When the Gumbo was almost finished I added two pounds of shrimp and let it simmer a few more minutes. Here is where you would finally season to taste. We found it was already just right.
How was the Gumbo with tomatoes, well it’s all gone, so something must have worked. The Cajun, well she found a lot of Gumbo recipes that included tomatoes. She hasn’t apologized for doubting me though.
If you’re a Gumbo connoisseur then go to the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff in Iberia Louisiana every October.
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