According to the Picayune Creole Cook Book, that famous historical record of Creole cooking originally published in 1901, it had become fashionable to use butter in place of lard in many recipes. But, the anonymous author noted in this classic, “It is a great fad among many of our day to use nothing but butter in cooking. The Creoles hold that butter should be used in its proper place, and lard in its own. The lard is not only less expensive, but is far preferable to an inferior quality of butter and, in many cases preferable to the best butter, according to the dish in course of preparation.” Lard works great here, as do other animal fats.
- 6 tablespoons any animal fat, divided
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green or red bell pepper, diced
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 1 pound okra, stems removed and pods sliced (about 4 cups)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 8 ounces andouille or other spicy smoked sausage, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or hot or smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 pound crabmeat
- Salt, to taste
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Freshly cooked white rice, for serving
- Louisiana-style hot sauce, for serving
- Melt 2 tablespoons of fat in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, okra, and garlic, and sautй until the onion is limp, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in the broth, andouille, bay leaves, thyme, and peppers. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the roux by melting the remaining fat in a skillet over medium-high heat, and whisking in the flour until you have a smooth paste. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the roux is a rich brown, 15 to 30 minutes. (Don’t let the mixture burn, or you’ll have to start over.) This is the darkened roux that gives gumbo its flavor and color.
- Stir the roux into the gumbo. Add the shrimp and crabmeat. Add salt as desired. Simmer until the shrimp are pink and firm, about 15 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the scallions and parsley.
- Serve the gumbo over rice, passing the hot sauce at the table.
This article, along with the following recipes, were excerpted with permission from The Fat Kitchen, by Andrea Chesman, published by Storey Publishing.
More Recipes from The Fat Kitchen: