So I imagine everyone and their mama would think anyone called Cajun Mama would have a gumbo recipe that starts out with a roux. Painstakingly stirred and browned to perfection just like her mama taught her. They would be wrong in my case. My mama does make a mean gumbo and she loves to make it. It’s an all day affair and I can recall the smell of her browning and sometimes burning the roux. I can hear her cussing under her breath as she had to dump out one batch and start another. That was when I was younger and so was she. She got the hang of it though. To tell you the truth, growing up, gumbo was not my favorite. I don’t care for any dish made with a real heavy roux. It’s just not my thing. Maybe I have seen too much and it’s not worth it to me? Yes, I make chicken fricassee, and I do love it, but I can only have that on occasion. Now, I remember my mama starting her roux in a pot. I can also recall her learning to start a roux in the microwave, and that is how she usually does it today. She was also not afraid to use a jarred roux. And neither was Momou. The women I come from are nothing if not practical. They are all about a shortcut if it means preparing a good meal for their family faster. Grandpa wanted to eat at a certain time for lunch and dinner and Momou was always trying to keep him fed on time. Same thing with my mama. She had 4 kids, went through nursing school, worked as a nurse after she graduated and still cooked pretty often. Almost every night. So, when she made a gumbo on Saturday or Sunday, she was certainly about the easiest fastest route from a to b.
Speaking of being practical, I have a funny story. I can distinctly remember Momou coming to our house to sleep (as she says “my baby momou is coming sleep this week.”) and having homemade rolls ready when we got home from school. The woman amazed me! Wow! Then one day, I guess I was 13 or so, I was inhaling my second roll, she let me in on one of her secrets. She was no longer making her own dough and was using packaged frozen dough. Had been for a while, since she discovered it, and never looked back. She’s smart and savvy! Anyhow, the women in my life are hardworking, practical, and smart. So if that meant using jarred roux, frozen dough, or frozen meatballs…and they have no shame in their game. I am proud to say they taught me much of what I know. So some might be put off by jarred roux or a gumbo that does not start with a REAL roux?! That’s not cajun! I call bs. Being cajun is about enjoying life, raising your family, feeding your family, and living. That does not have to include so much tradition that you cannot use a shortcut if it gets your food on the table faster. 😉 In my family, no one questioned the authenticity of the recipe we just tasted how good it was and felt the love that was in that plate of food. So no roux snobbery allowed here. Give it a go if you want a delicious gumbo that does not involve standing over a pot stirring a roux. But this recipe is not about that. If you have never made your own gumbo, this is a great one to start with.
My good friend Betsy’s husband, Matt, gave me this recipe several years ago when he was doing his residency here in Shreveport. He is from Carencro…well he grew up in Scott and then they moved to Carencro at some point. But I like Carencro in the title…it has a nice rhyming sound to it. But for posterity’s sake I want to have all information as correct as possible. I am from Alex. but my parents grew up in Marksville (Broulliette and Blue Town to be exact.) These things matter and far be it from me to get it wrong. They were not from Hessmer, Effie, Fifth Ward or Pollock. Got to get the locale right! Anyhow, this recipe came from someone in his family. This is easily our favorite gumbo recipe. I have made it my mama’s way but my family prefers this way. It is not as heavy and has more of a broth like consistency. Growing up, I went to a Catholic school and I always loved their gumbo. It would make my mama crazy that I preferred their gumbo to her’s. Don’t get me wrong, I would gladly take a bowl of Bernie’s gumbo (that’s her name…Bernie aka Bernadette Broulliette Mayeux aka BBM aka Bernadette from Broulliette as Momou likes to call her) as she is a gumbo cooking queen, but this recipe here is one I don’t mind cooking time and time again. I hope you will give this recipe a try some day soon. The cold front came in last night and LSU was playing tonight and that just screamed GUMBO!!! I baked up a few sweet potatoes and we are good to go! Yes sweet potatoes. In the bowl of gumbo. Now, some people like potato salad in their gumbo and I certainly am no different. But I usually do potato salad with seafood gumbo. If you have never tried either with your gumbo, you must try at least one when you make this recipe. Here is the link~ Potato Salad with almost everything, paquing eggs and things Cajuns do | cajunmamacookin’s Blog
https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2014/03/18/potato-salad-with-almost-everything-paquing-eggs-and-things-cajuns-do/. It may sound strange to some, but where I am from it is pretty normal. And so delicious! Let me know what you think. ~ AMB
Dr. Boudreaux’s Carencro gumbo
stuff you need~
*I always double this recipe as it is always better the next day
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)
1 package andouille sausage, sliced (I usually do a half pack of andouille and a package of Eckrich skinless sausage to kind of break up the andouille flavor.
1 package of boneless chicken thighs, fat removed and diced into bite sized pieces
1 capful of Kitchen Bouquet *
1 packet onion soup mix
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon gumbo file
1 cup sliced green onions
*I have had people ask me where to buy kitchen bouquet. All grocery stores have it and it is typically found on the condiments aisle. Usually near the Worcestershire sauce. Lots of times it is on the high shelf. Here is a pic of the bottle if that helps…
What to do with the stuff~
In Dutch oven or big ole pot/gumbo pot, whatever you it’s all good as long as it can hold it all, heat a little cooking oil over medium heat. Now, add your sliced sausage to this warmed up oil. Brown the sausage for about 5-7 minutes. Like this…
Ok now, pour in your chicken broth and bring it to a boil. reduce heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Next, toss in your diced onions, bell peppers, and celery (aka the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking ma petite) and throw in your garlic. Let this all simmer for another 45 minutes.
*Don’t get in a hurry my baby…we gonna be here a little while. And I can tell you this mop tit (ma petite said as Momee said it 😉) you can make this a day ahead or start it a day and then finish it or eat it later…this makes it taste that much better. The flavors have a little to time to party together and the mingle and it’s just better…so do what works for you! *
Ok now….after the 45 minutes is up on the veggies simmering, stir in your chicken thigh meat and the onion soup mix. And…you guessed it…let this simmer another 45 minutes. Now, this time before your 45 minutes are up, in a microwaveable safe bowl, whisk together the 3 tablespoons of flour and 3 tablespoons of oil. This is gonna make our roux. (See it has a roux!!)
Place the bowl of flour and oil in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds. Stir, stir, stir. Cook another 30 seconds. Stir some more. Another 30 seconds. Ok…now carefully remove the bowl from the microwave.
Now stir in your gumbo file. It looks like this for those who might not know…
Now add a little of this roux to the gumbo and then stir. Be careful as it is will pop and hiss and you think something is about to jump out at you. Add a little more and stir after each addition. It’s gonna thicken that gumbo right on up.
Stir in your kitchen bouquet and green onions. Let this all simmer on low for about 30 minutes. I also add more green onions at this point, but I have a problem in that I love green onions…so that may not suit you. Serve over some fresh cooked rice and if you are so inclined some fresh baked sweet potato scooped right into the bowl. (On the side will work too) or a nice dollop of potato salad is good as well.
It’s all good mais Cher! Now, see…you made a gumbo. Aren’t you proud?! Go put your feet up and enjoy that little cool front or watch the game. I am sure the Tigers or the Saints or playing. Or one of those other teams. 😉