Do you remember back in the 1990’s there was a little ditty by Lou Bega named “Mambo Number Five”! It was a number 1 hit in 1999 across many charts, including number 3 for the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. If you have never heard the song, you should take a quick listen, then come back for more reading here. Then the parody of the popular song (video below) is actually quite a laugh, as it pokes fun at the same tones, cadence, and styling, but with a set of lyrics that will make you want to go out and order some Chinese!
Some time later, the parody song “Combo Number Five” became an email and Internet rage, and was mistakenly attributed to Weird Al Yankovic, but this song is actually by a group called “AZN Pride”.
So what do these two songs have to do with Gumbo?
I have made so many batches of gumbo, it is impossible to count! And every batch that I make at home is just a little bit different every time, always depends on what we have on hand, sure I could just make a gumbo from a recipe and keep it consistent every time, but where is fun in always having to read a recipe every time I want to cook something? So, I figure…out of the hundreds of times I have made gumbo, there must be several variations that I have thrown together! So, here is Gumbo Number Nine!
Making a batch of gumbo reminds me of this quote as Thoreau said; "Time is but a stream that I go a fishing in".
How did I come up with nine variations of gumbo?
Probably better to ask, how do you have just nine versions of gumbo? For everyone who makes gumbo from scratch, very few of them will admit to making it exactly the same way twice. I can come close to my basic gumbo recipe, but every time I make gumbo, it is a little different.
When I know that my dad is going to sample some of my gumbo, I keep out the roux, and only thicken it with the okra and filè (pronounced fee-lay), when I make a batch of gumbo when I want to add some strong background flavor I will thicken it with a very dark roux. If shrimp are really good and in season, and I find a good batch of gumbo crabs, then it becomes a seafood gumbo. When I don’t have any good seafood, I make a chicken and sausage gumbo. When I want to impress, I make a duck and andouille gumbo. You see, just here I have already listed five different gumbos! And heck, the recipe I made yesterday is a chicken and smoked sausage gumbo, thickened with a dark roux, okra which we froze from the summer garden, and filè.
If you don’t know what filè is, then you need to check out this post on Filè Spice Powder or Gumbo filè which I originally posted on May 15th, 2008.
Gumbo Number Nine – This is the gumbo in process, having just added in the seasonings, sausage, okra, and roux. Cooking it down some before adding in the filè and chicken.
This recipe will yield about 3 gallons of some tasty gumbo. Like I said, it is going to be hard for you to even duplicate this one. I most likely will never make a gumbo like this one again. I just happened to have all the stocks on hand that made this one special!
This batch of gumbo took me two days to prepare, Day 1: Cook the chicken in the stocks. Day 2: Put it all together.
|3||lb.||1 Whole, chicken cut into pieces, raw, bone-in|
|1||Quart||Smoked turkey stock|
|2||Large||Green bell peppers, diced|
|2||Lbs.||Smoked sausage, sliced|
|1||Bulb||Garlic, minced (12 cloves)|
|1||Can||Tomato paste (6 oz)|
|1||Tsp||Crystal Hot Sauce|
|2||Tbsp||Filè powder (slurry) (blended with ½-cup cool water)|
|1.||Rinse the raw whole chicken pieces (2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, 1 neck, 1 back bone, giblets). Then add them to a large (3 gallon) stock pot. Cover the chicken pieces with the stocks and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat to a slow simmer and continue to cook the chicken for at least 90 minutes. Periodically you will want to skim any scum that rises to the top and discard. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove it and allow to cool on the bone, and cover, then chill overnight. Allow the stock to cool, cover, and chill overnight.|
|2.||In the meantime and while the chicken is simmering in the stocks you can prep the sausage, onions, bell pepper, celery, and okra if it is fresh. Or you can wait until the next day.|
|3.||On the next day, remove the stock from the fridge and scrape off any fat that may have risen to the top. Bring the stock to a simmer over a medium heat on the stove, add the sausage, onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic, spices, tomatoes, paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well after each addition, and allow this to reach a slow simmer. Make the roux, and allow it to cool to the touch. Add in the half-pound of room temperature roux, and stir well to incorporate. Allow the gumbo to simmer well for at least an hour. Then add in the filè powder slurry.|
|4.||In the meantime, you can pull the chicken off the bone, discarding the skin. Pull the chicken into bite size pieces. Then add the chicken to the gumbo, allow it to heat through over the low to medium heat. Season to taste with salt and Crystal hot sauce.|
We like to put a large dollop of potato salad on top of our gumbo!
Gumbo also makes a good football watching food!
Geaux LSU Tigers!
Who Dat Saints!