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How To Make Incredible New Orleans Gumbo

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Author: Eric Theard

The unique cuisine of New Orleans is a melting pot of many diverse cultures from French, Spanish, German, and Italian to African, American Indian, and Caribbean. This diversity of settlers in and around New Orleans gave birth to the two styles of cooking known today as Cajun and Creole. Gumbo is the perfect example of the marriage between these two styles of cooking. Gumbo originated in New Orleans, but it is the mix of cultural influences on the city that makes gumbo the quintessential dish.

Making a great gumbo requires more than just a wonderful recipe. Building upon each element and extracting every bit of flavor along the way is crucial to the outcome of the dish. There are certain elements that should not be overlooked. Stock is the cornerstone of any great gumbo. Although unnoticed while eating, it is very important to the finished product. A homemade stock is essential for establishing the base of flavor profiles. The roux is equally as important, contributing the flavor and consistency. Pairing the flavor profiles of the gumbo to the correct amount and color of roux is the key to success!

Andouille sausage, Creole seasoning, hot sauce, file, and so many other wonderful additions gives gumbo the kick that makes it so popular. But the beauty of this dish is the creative freedom it allows. Yes, you must follow a few basic ground rules. However, once you understand the components, the combinations are endless. Each and every gumbo has a taste all its own. Adding sweet potatoes to Ham & Turkey Gumbo gives it a completely unique, yet KILLER, flavor! Sweet potatoes are unconventional ingredients, but the outcome proves that a little creativity goes a long way in a pot of gumbo. So, gumbo rule #1 is improvise and get creative!!! The world is your oyster.

Always use the freshest seasonal ingredients, make your own stock, and choose complimentary flavor profiles. Be sure to add proteins to the pot at the right time. Adding seafood too early will result in an overcooked mushy mess. But other proteins such as chicken and sausage will need time to cook down and extract flavor into the pot. Thicken your gumbo with roux, okra, filé, or a combination. Typically, okra is not used together with filé and filé is never added while the gumbo is still on the fire. Learning the techniques of New Orleans style cooking will open up a world of possibilities in your kitchen and your taste buds will thank you for it!

About the author: I am a New Orleans Chef with a strong desire to bring the true taste of my city into kitchens all over the world. For gumbo recipes, videos, and cooking tips visit Copyright: You may freely republish this article, provided the text, author credit, the active links and this copyright notice remain in place.

Eric Theard
New Orleans, LA

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