A Jazzy Meal from Down South

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Cajun cuisine is one of the most diverse types of cuisine in the world of food today. Several of its dishes are arranged like a symphony of world influence, compiled of flavors found in African, Caribbean, French and Spanish dishes. There is no better way to introduce this medley of flavors than throwing them all into one Cajun dish, and that dish, would be gumbo.

Originally from Louisiana, gumbo is a thick stew or soup, that emerged in the 1700s. Gumbo was a cheap way to make a large quantity of food at one time, using minimal amounts of meat. Since a multitude of nationalities lived together in the south, gumbo was a proactive way to share cultural differences through the food they created.

Cajun gumbo (as opposed to Creole gumbo) is heavier with French influence and is often darker and spicier. A typical Cajun gumbo is made with roux, which is a cooked wheat and flour mixture. Roux is what gives gumbo its stew-like consistency.

Upon adding any type of shellfish or meat (andouille sausage, catfish, shrimp) and vegetables (bell peppers, celery, onions) the heat factor is a necessity, and Cajun gumbo is widely known for its spicy quality. What gives this dish its heat is the liberal amounts of cayenne pepper used in each batch. A nice way to balance out the assortment of flavors and spices, is pouring the gumbo over rice.

As you may have already inferred, gumbo is a perfectly hearty meal made to serve many. So, at your next gathering, why not break out the trumpet that’s been hiding in the attic? Turn your home into its very own French Quarter and share a gumbo recipe or two with friends and family.

Bon appétit!

– Gabrielle Castillo

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2 responses »

  1. What a great blog post! I enjoy how you explained the cultural history behind gumbo, as well as the different types of gumbo. Since I’m not the best cook I’m not sure if I’ll be making gumbo any time soon, but I definitely did learn a lot. Good job! 🙂

  2. I will start off by expressing my love for gumbo. I went to New Orleans a few summers ago and got some authentic gumbo in the Bayou and it was amazing! The way you described the dish as bringing together so many flavors is spot on. Every bite brings some heat, some meat, and some sweet veggie; it doesn’t get much better. Would you suggest anywhere in the Phoenix area to get gumbo? I miss the good flavors of New Orleans.

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