A gumbo is a dish from New Orleans, Louisiana. It is a soup or stew and it is made mainly with broth, meat or fish and vegetables. Shellfish, poultry, or smoked pork can be used to make this exciting recipe. Duck, quail, chicken, crab, shrimp, or spicy sausage are popular additions but it is also possible to make a vegetarian version of this dish which is just as flavorful as a meat, poultry or fish-based variation. Other varieties include chicken and sausage, squirrel, rabbit, greens with or without meat, alligator, turkey and sausage and crawfish.
Creole seafood gumbo. French Market Restaurant & Bar 1001 Decatur Street New Orleans, Louisiana, photo by Elliot.
Bell pepper, onion, and celery feature in almost all gumbo recipes and okra is also a popular addition, especially if you are making a traditional dish. This meal is enjoyed throughout the year but it is especially popular in the wintertime.
This dish can be served with boiled or steamed rice and it makes a satisfying lunch or dinner. It is up to you whether you serve a little rice or a lot. Another possible side dish would be potato salad and this can be served instead of the rice. The German immigrants to New Orleans in the 1800s would have preferred potato salad to rice. Baked sweet potatoes, crackers, or fresh New Orleans style French baguettes are other possibilities.
Gumbo is a fusion meal. It was created in New Orleans, Louisiana, and you can trace the broth back to French bouillabaisse, the use of bell pepper, onion, and celery to Spanish cuisine and the use of sassafras leaves to Native American cooking.
Some recipes use okra to thicken them and others use sassafras powder. Okra used to only be available at certain times of the year. Cajun gumbos are made with a dark roux and do not call for tomatoes. Creole gumbos feature tomatoes because of the many Italian immigrants in the city.
Recipe for Vegetable Gumbo
The following recipe serves four to six people and the combination of fresh vegetables, spices, and herbs is amazing. You can use canned tomatoes and canned or thawed okra if you need to. Also, canned or thawed corn is fine to use here.
What you will need:
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
- Tabasco sauce, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 lb chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 1 lb sliced fresh okra
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 2 cups cooked corn kernels
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
- Nonstick vegetable cooking spray
- 2 chopped stalks celery
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
How to make it:
Add the garlic, celery, onion, broth, and green bell pepper to your slow cooker. Cover and cook for three or four hours on “low.” Add the tomatoes, corn, okra, and about quarter of a teaspoon of Tabasco sauce. Add the basil, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper too, then cover the crockpot and cook the mixture for two or three more hours.