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New Orleans Recipes: Easy Chicken and Sausage Gumbo — Making the Roux

One of the favorite of all New Orleans recipes is gumbo. Originally the word gumbo comes from the African word for okra – gombo. And as most good gumbos have okra in them, well, you can see how the word came about.

New Orleans Recipes: Easy Chicken and Sausage Gumbo — Making the Roux

Making the roux? Yeah, I don't do this when I make my gumbo. I do something easier and just as good. Making the roux? Yeah, I don't do this when I make my gumbo. I do something easier and just as good.

Making the roux? Yeah, I don’t do this when I make my gumbo. I do something easier and just as good.

This is going to be a two parter. In this first post we will talk about making the roux. The next post I’ll give you the recipe that I use to make great gumbo that everyone talks about and by which they will crown you with the moniker of “chef.”

The word ‘gumbo’ is also used to denote a metaphorical mixture of things, an inclusion in the idea pot of many different influences. And that’s what gumbo is, it’s a mixture of influences from Africa, Native American, French, Spanish and what-have-you that’s present here in south Louisiana.

Not only can you find gumbo in New Orleans but it’s all over the Cajun country as well. I mean, no self-respecting Cajun restaurant is going to be without it’s own version of gumbo, cher.

Some of the best gumbo I’ve ever had was at the New Orleans Country Club. They make this seafood gumbo that tastes like you died and gone to heaven. Thick, rich, tasty and chock full of seafood, I remember my mom’s manfriend would always admonish us that when we serve ourselves at the buffet table to always go to the bottom of the pot with the long ladle to get the best chunks of seafood and goodness that was down there.

And then of course you drop a big pour of sherry on the top and take the first unbelievable taste of it and well… heaven on earth.

But the hardest thing about making mosts gumbos is doing the roux which means standing over a pot stirring a mixture of flour in butter or oil or lard till it turns brown. It’s not that it’s hard, it’s just, well, boring and I got better things to do than that, OK. Call it lazy and spoiled but there ya go.

So, making the roux is I think one of the main reasons folks don’t like making gumbo at home. It’s just takes too long and if you are not careful you can burn it and then you have to start all over which is, of course, a drag.

Well, there is a way easier way. And here it is: you buy the roux at the grocery store. Now I like to get the powdered roux, not the one with oil already in it – that stuff’s got some stuff in it that, well, I don’t wanna eat. If the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of flour I just use 1/2 cup of the dry roux.

If you don’t have it where you live you can order it on Amazon. Also, Zatarain’s sells a gumbo base that does just as well, but they add flavorings in it that I would prefer not to use in my gumbo, but it’s OK and will do in a pinch.

You can also do what my brother does which is taking some flour, spreading it out on a baking sheet and toasting it in the oven. I’ve never done this so don’t know what temperature he uses or for how long. It seems like something you just have to figure out yourself.

So using this already-made roux is just one of the tricks you can use for other New Orleans recipes that call for roux. So you have no excuse now for cooking our delicious New Orleans food.

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